Consumer Culture and Society offers an introduction to the study of consumerism and mass consumption from a sociological perspective. It examines what we buy, how and where we consume, the meanings attached to the things we purchase, and the social forces that enable and constrain consumer behavior. Opening chapters provide a theoretical overview and history of consumer society and featured case studies look at mass consumption in familiar contexts, such as tourism, food, and higher education. The book explores ethical and political concerns, including consumer activism, indebtedness, alternative forms of consumption, and dilemmas surrounding the globalization of consumer culture.

Political Consumerism and the Consumer Movement

Chapter 8 political consumerism and the consumer movement

The proposition of shopping for social change seems illogical because consumption itself is often identified as the primary culprit for social problems like inequality and environmental degradation. Accordingly, from a consumerist standpoint, the solution to solving these problems is simply to consume less. However, there is a growing perspective that the question driving this debate should be redirected from “to consume or not to consume?” to “how can we consume better?” Consuming better involves mobilizing the purchasing power of consumers toward goods that are produced under environmentally friendly conditions or by workers who earn a living wage. If such goods are unavailable, then consumers can exert pressure on corporations to change ...

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