Daniel Jaffee

Associate Professor of Sociology, Portland State University
Chapter Member: Oregon SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Daniel

Jaffee's research examines contestation over water commodification; the impact of the growth of bottled and packaged water on social inequality, sustainability, and the human right to water; and social movements around bottled water and water justice in the global North and South. He also studies the international fair trade movement, examining the benefits and limitations of participation in fair trade markets for small-scale commodity producers, and the contested politics of fair trade and other agri-food certifications. His first book, Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival, received the C. Wright Mills Book Award.


"Unequal Trust: Bottled Water Consumption, Distrust in Tap Water, and Economic and Racial Inequality in the United States" Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews-Water (2023).

Examines how bottled water consumption and spending in the U.S. vary by income, race, and ethnicity, and how they map onto (dis)trust in tap water safety. Findings show that bottled water consumption and spending, as well as tap water avoidance and distrust, are higher and growing faster among low-income, Black, & Latino/a households, exacerbating racial and income inequality.

"Unbottled: The Fight Against Plastic Water and for Water Justice" (University of California Press, 2023).

Explores bottled water's impact on social justice and sustainability. Draws on extensive interviews with activists, residents, public officials, and other participants in controversies ranging from bottled water's role in unsafe tap water crises to groundwater extraction for bottling in rural communities.

"Draining Us Dry: Scarcity Discourses in Contention Over Bottled Water Extraction" (with Robert A. Case). Local Environment 23, no. 4 (2018): 485-501.

Examines conflict over commercial water extraction in southwestern Ontario, Canada where access to potable tap water is nearly universal, yet local water supplies are increasingly constrained. Explores how narratives and discourses of water scarcity are mobilised by a range of actors in local conflicts over groundwater extraction for water bottling.

"Who’s the Fairest of Them All? The Fractured Landscape of U.S. Fair Trade Certification" (with Philip H. Howard). Agriculture and Human Values 33 (2016): 813–826.

Analyzes the content of fair trade standards from four U.S. fair-trade certifications and examines the differences among them in an effort to understand the social and labor relations promoted by each and how well they align with key fair trade principles.

"Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival" (University of California Press, 2014).

Examines the fair trade coffee movement and its implications for the coffee industry, sustainability, and the livelihoods of coffee producers. Draws on interviews with dozens of fair-trade leaders, and explores the movement’s fraught politics, especially the challenges posed by rapid growth and the increased role of transnational corporations.