Social impact disclosure and symbolic power: Evidence from UK Fair Trade Organizations

Homaira Semeen, Muhammad Islam* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


This article unravels how fair trade organizations use social impact disclosures as forms of symbolic power amid stakeholder concerns that prevail in the fair trade field. Mobilizing Bourdieu’s notion of symbolic power and through narrative analysis of social impact disclosures and the associated rhetoric of major UK fair trade organizations, as well as their stakeholders’ rhetoric and persuasive arguments in the public domain during the period from 2006 to 2013, we show that these organizations position themselves as dominant actors in responding to stakeholders’ concerns over social inequality. We provide important insights into how social impact disclosures, silence and rhetorical strategies are used as a mechanism of symbolic power through which fair trade organizations maintain dominance over their stakeholders in the fair trade field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102182
Number of pages20
JournalCritical Perspectives On Accounting
Early online date5 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

We thank seminar participants at Newcastle University Business School and Durham University Business School in 2019. We also thank participants at European Accounting Association Conference, Milan, 2018


  • Fair trade
  • Bourdieu's notion of Symbolic power
  • Rhetoric
  • Social impact disclosures
  • Social inequality
  • rhetoric
  • Legitimacy
  • Accountability
  • developing nations
  • UK
  • supply chain
  • Critical accounting research
  • Stakeholders


Dive into the research topics of 'Social impact disclosure and symbolic power: Evidence from UK Fair Trade Organizations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this