Long-standing debates about the power of consumers, in relation to production, social distinctions, and global inequalities, are in many ways also debates about consumer regulation, about how people in their capacity as consumers are being formed, framed, influenced by, and influencing social institutions and processes. But, increasingly, regulation is used more narrowly, taken to represent mechanisms that intentionally steer people's actions in certain directions. Such regulatory interventions are about disciplining and exercising power over people, making them more efficient and responsible as members of society. But they are also about welfare, protection, justice, and, closely linked to that, social order. The history of consumer regulation is a history where people's loyalty and active support alternate with considerable creativity and resistance. The definition and understanding of ...

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