Schivelbusch’s hot chocolate slumber: “drinking chocolate was meant to create an intermediate state between lying down and sitting up” (1993: 91)
This post suggests how a widepread public consumer boycott was avoided by the British chocolate firms, Cadbury, Rowntree and Fox in the wake of the publication of Nevinson’s A Modern Slavery. I point to the ways in which the São Tomé cocoa scandal was contained, and how a visceral and implicating consumer-producer topos was avoided.
Without the antislavery suggestion of white on black anthropophagia that characterized the sugar abstention campaigns, a blood-cocoa topos was inconceivable. I believe that the absence of a topos to fictionalise and disgust, to romanticize and make poetic, drew the sting out of moralizing arguments, and disabled a widespread politics of pity for the São Tomé cocoa producer.
Key activist contact points: Birmingham, London
Keywords: Quakerism , paternalism, sobriety, humanitarianism, antislavery
Topoi relationship: consumer boycott avoidance demanded anti-visceral filters implemented to prevent the widespread mobilization of cocoa abjection
Emma Robertson. Chocolate, Women and Empire, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009 ISBN: 9780719077777 (cloth).
I’m currently drafting a review for Antipode on Emma Robertson’s book, but as I think its a really good book, I’d like to give you a brief taster of its themes here.