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Alternative Consumption

  • By: Roberta Sassatelli
  • In: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
  • Edited by: Dale Southerton
  • Subject:Sociology of Consumption, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Culture

Alternative or critical consumption refers to a varied set of consumer practices that critically address contemporary consumer culture. It both indicates alternative, ethically coded products, such as Fair Trade goods or organic produce, and networks of provision and consumption alternative to mainstream, massmarket relations, such as farmers' markets or box schemes. These phenomena have been steadily on the rise for nearly two decades in advanced economies, at times with remarkable rates of growth—such as Fair Trade coffee growing 67% per year in the U.S. market (Arnould 2007; Harrison, Newholm, and Shaw 2005; Lyon and Moberg 2010). More broadly, the European Social Survey has shown that approximately one-third of Europeans have boycotted certain goods or/and have bought goods for political and ethical reasons. With the new ...

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