Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Embedding "political consumerism" : a conceptual critique

Balsiger, Philip

(EUI Working Papers ; 08)

This paper develops a theoretically and empirically founded critique of the concept of political consumerism. In the course of the last decade, political consumerism was “discovered” as a new form of political participation, revealing the politics behind products. Surveys show that individuals more and more often use their consumption to voice political concerns, boycotting products or... Plus

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    Summary
    This paper develops a theoretically and empirically founded critique of the concept of political consumerism. In the course of the last decade, political consumerism was “discovered” as a new form of political participation, revealing the politics behind products. Surveys show that individuals more and more often use their consumption to voice political concerns, boycotting products or explicitly buying products for a political reason (boycott). I first discuss this concept and its different dimensions. I then offer an encompassing critique thereof, focusing on four main aspects: the conceptualization of consumers and consumption, the question of whether political consumption is new, the universality of the notion, and the articulation between individual and collective forms of political consumption.