Collective action dynamics and product reputation


Bienabe, E; Kirsten JF and Bramley, C (2013). Collective action dynamics and product reputation. Chapter 3 in: Bramley, C; Bienabe, E and Kirsten JF (eds) (2013) Developing Geographical Indications in the South: The Southern African Experience. Springer, Dordrecht.



This chapter aims to analyse how the quality and reputation dimension is built and sustained through collective action dynamics. It explores the key features of collective action that underlie origin based product development and their protection through GIs. The chapter which departs from a literature review which identified the key dimensions of GI related collective action and structure the analysis. It then builds on the analysis of two highly contrasted cases, Karoo lamb and Karakul pelts, to deepen the understanding of the diversity of ways in which collective reputation can develop at industry level and of the different situations that this creates for implementing GI schemes. The discussion empirically confirms the importance of collective action to successfully exploit the benefits of collective reputation and shows that the capacity of industries to establish successful GIs critically depends on the collective basis on which product reputation has been built, as this determines an industry’s ability to act collectively in protecting the collective reputation. It is argued that distinguishing between collective action features attached to the building of the collective reputation and those linked to maintaining and protecting this reputation, creates an interesting direction for a more robust approach to collective action analysis oriented towards supporting GI implementation.

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