AbstractSocial inequality and fair tradeThe findings of a field study on cocoa farmers in PeruAuthor: Michael Kleinburger, BAThis masters thesis was created in cooperation with the Zotter chocolate manufactory for the masters degree in Global Studies at Karl-Franzen-University Graz. It discusses the topic fair trade and its implications and illustrates with examples from cocoa cooperatives in Peru.The central concern of investigation was to find out which structures fair trade creates for small farmers and how it affects their lives. Therefore, two months of field research were undertaken in Peru, during which expert and personal interviews have been conducted. The central protagonists of this field research are the cocoa producers in eastern Peru, whose lives are marked by poverty and social inequality. Through more just exchange relationships within the fair trade system, those small farmers are increase their standard of living. The results of the empirical survey primarily point towards the importance of cooperatives for the producers. Those democratic associations take a key role in advancement and professionalization, the development of technological aid, and the participation and awareness raising of the members and their families. Although the effect of fair trade is very limited on a global scale, in the cases investigated not only the cocoa farmers themselves but also the whole region profit from its various benefits such as enhanced infrastructure and new education projects. As this masters thesis illustrates, the fair trade system has positive effects on the standard of living of the supported producers and successfully reduces social inequality.