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Organizing OrganicConflict and Compromise in an Emerging Market$
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Michael A. Haedicke

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804795906

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804795906.001.0001

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Caught in the Middle

Caught in the Middle

Negotiating Compromise in Organic Co-op Stores

(p.133) Chapter 5 Caught in the Middle
Organizing Organic

Michael A. Haedicke

Stanford University Press

This chapter analyzes how co-op stores, which were created as part of the 1970s counterculture, have navigated the organic sector’s shift in the direction of market expansion. It argues that the history of co-cops and their position in the organic market create ambivalence about their activities and priorities, and that this ambivalence also appears in co-op leaders’ assessments of the organic sector’s convergence with the mainstream food industry. The chapter also documents how members of co-ops have negotiated hybrid organizational arrangements and practices that strive for compromise between the goals of market growth and systemic change. Several examples of hybrid arrangements are discussed, including (1) the unification of co-ops into a democratically run “virtual chain,” (2) flexible store policies related to merchandising and product selection, and (3) education programs that encourage consumers to think reflexively about the products they buy.

Keywords:   co-ops, counterculture, grocery retailing, sociological ambivalence, hybridity, negotiated order, consumer reflexivity, consumer sovereignty, alternative food networks

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