Political consumption – citizenship and consumerism

Authored by: Eivind Jacobsen

Routledge Handbook on Consumption

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138939387
eBook ISBN: 9781315675015
Adobe ISBN: 9781317380900


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The term political consumption is often used for practices of consumption pertaining to aims beyond consumerist, utilitarian considerations – like that of balancing quality to price in buying decisions. People subscribing to these kind of practices see them “in relation to a broader palette of concerns” (Thompson & Coskuner-Balli, 2007, p. 138), such as e.g. ecological sustainability, animal welfare, biodiversity, energy conservation, workers’ safety, living wages and/or ethnic and national affiliation. In the last two decades this phenomenon has been given considerable attention in the global North, academically (e.g. Friedman, 1999; Micheletti, Føllesdal & Stolle, 2004; Jacobsen & Dulsrud, 2007; Carrier & Luetchford, 2012), politically (e.g. EU Green Paper on CSR, 2005; UNEP, 2015) and commercially (e.g. Unilever, 2015; HM, 2014; Williams, 2015). In pace with economic growth there has also been an increasing interest in these issues for the aspiring middle class of the global South (e.g. Chan, 2004; Nejati, Salamzadeh & Salamzadeh, 2011; Ariztia, Kleie, Brightwell & Barholo, 2012; Ibok & Etuk, 2014; McEwan, Hughes & Bek, 2015).

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