Viral video ‘blood chocolate’ activism, millennial antitrafficking, and the neoliberal resurgence of shaming

Benjamin N. Lawrance, Richard L. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Viral videos offer contemporary activists a nimble, provocative tool with which to disseminate humanitarian messages. This article historicizes anti-trafficking video media that imagine a new potential with which to alter behavioral norms around cocoa and chocolate. The article engages theories and approaches to historical and contemporary modalities of naming and shaming, spanning three centuries to the present day. Videos are examined for style, format, and content, with the view to describing a ‘blood chocolate’ visual and textual metonymy. Recurring themes include transnational power, corporate responsibility, and the horrific scale of exploitation. But viral videos also appear deeply influenced by neoliberal economics that celebrate lawful enterprise and promote consumer-driven solutions to exploitative child labor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-198
Number of pages31
JournalSlavery and Abolition
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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