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.



Political Consumerism in Denmark

This article examines political consumerism in Denmark on the basis of new survey data from 2004. The article concludes that political consumerism appears to have found a steady level, which, it is suggested, fluctuates (upwards) in relation to concrete boycotts and depending on mediaattention. About 40 percent of those who engage in political consumption do so on a regular basis. In comparison with collective modes of political consumerism, political consumption via the market is much more widespread. Political concerns do not contradict other concerns but are interwoven with them, e.g. health concerns. Indeed, data demonstrates that political consumption is political and it is a supplement to other modes of political participation – not a substitute. Moreover, the article argues that political consumers may be interpreted as representing a particular kind of “sub-politician” and that political consumption is characterised by a global orientation.


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