Sarah Besky, The Darjeeling distinction: Labor and justice on fair-trade tea plantations in India, University of California Press: Berkeley, CA, 2014; 233 pp. ISBN: 9780520277397, $29.99 (pbk)
Reviewed by: Kristin Plys, Yale University, USA
The Darjeeling Distinction richly details life on Darjeeling plantations and shows how various calls for justice potentially silence workers’ voices and obscure structures of power and inequality. Besky’s impressive field work provides the reader with a unique glimpse into the lives of the women who work on the tea plantation, balanced with fascinating interviews with those on the other end of the hierarchy, including, tea planters, Tea Board of India officials, Fair Trade certifiers, Gorkhaland activists, and others. This richly detailed ethnography provides unique and important insights into the 21st century plantation economy.