Layla Zaglul is a Costa Rican PhD student in International Development at the University of Sussex. She holds a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Costa Rica. After working for several years in Costa Rica she moved to the UK to undertake her MA in Anthropology of Development from SOAS, University of London. Her MA dissertation explored the relationship between the consumption of Fairtrade bananas in the UK and its production in Costa Rica.
Her doctoral work analyses the potential Fairtrade has in transforming the neo colonial dynamics in the banana trade in Costa Rica. This comparison is essential for a proper and thorough evaluation of the role and future of the Fairtrade movement because the banana industry in Costa Rica represents the perfect example of much of what Fairtrade was created to oppose and challenge.
The research is founded on an ethnographic study on two banana farms– one Fairtrade certified and one conventional. In the twelve-month fieldwork Layla worked as a plantation labourer for six months. In addition, as part of her work on the banana industry, she looked at how government policies have affected Costa Ricans and how workers and political movements have responded.