Anti-consumerism activism


Consider how much of your life revolves around consumption. Undoubtedly there isn't a day when you either do not buy or sell something. Consumerism and consumption has become deeply embedded and, in fact, a defining part of the global--and particularly American--social fabric. Of particular note, say the authors of an article in the December 2004 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, is the idea of consumption above and beyond the call of need. It is this over-consumptive Zeitgeist that anti-consumption social movements and activists have attacked like the plague.

In this fascinating article, Robert Kozinets of the University of Wisconsin and Jay Handelman of Queen's University (Ontario, Canada) apply social movement theories to the issue of such movements as anti-advertising and draw compelling connections to the early American movements of the religious activists like the 19th Century Puritans.

"We have asked in this article whether a similar culture change goal in contemporary consumer movements has led to changes in the activists' description of themselves and also to alterations in their portrayal and conception of their adversary. We must answer in the affirmative on both counts." The authors conclude: "Activists see the consumption system as the enemy and the blind and embedded consumers as an inextricable and essential part of that system. They are trying to save them, but they are also fighting against them."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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