Political Consumerism: Its Motivations, Power, and Conditions in the Nordic Countries and Elsewhere

Proceedings from the 2nd International Seminar on Political Consumerism, Oslo August 26–29, 2004

image of Political Consumerism: Its Motivations, Power, and Conditions in the Nordic Countries and Elsewhere

The concept of political consumerism draws on the observation that consumer choice and the rising politics of products is an increasingly important form of political participation, especially with regard to such issues as human rights, animal rights, global solidarity and environmental responsibility. The 2nd International Seminar on Political Consumerism was arranged to enhance our knowledge about political consumerism. This report includes revised versions of the papers that were presented and discussed at the seminar. Scholars from various disciplines presented papers that discussed and analyzed such topics as the characteristics of (especially Nordic) political consumers and their motivations to express their political concerns through market channels, how consumer power and individual choice can be linked to public influence, political and market conditions for the success, effectiveness, or failure of political consumerism as a regulatory tool, and the framing, mobilization, and organizational processes behind political consumerism.



Global Regulation of Food and Consumer Involvement: Labelling of sustainable fisheries using the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Food production and consumption is increasingly organised in global networks. Therefore, existing nation-state based environmental and social regulation is no longer sufficient and new regulatory arrangements are necessary. This article will review the possibilities of involving consumers as new actors in regulating the social and environmental consequences of global food production and consumption. Starting with elaborating Castells’ view of globalisation as the creation of a network society, this article will look at ‘the space of flows’ dominating over ‘the space of places’. Modern regulation of globalised food production and consumption is based on a WTO-dominated discourse allowing regulation only on the basis of product characteristics and product-related production methods, within the ‘space of flows’. However, consumers in Western countries are more and more demanding regulation on the basis of the environmental effects of the production process, paying much more attention to local effects in the ‘space of places’. Private labelling of food is a possible alternative in this conflict, combining regulation at the level of global flows of food with regulation of environmental and social consequences at the concrete places of food production and food consumption. One interesting example of such an alternative arrangement is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label and this article will apply the conceptual model to this case.


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