chapter  7
14 Pages

Consumers’ Associations and the State

Protection and Defence of the Consumer in France, 1950–2000
ByAlain Chatriot

Five major categories of associations of consumers can be found in France in the second half of the twentieth century: associations with a trade union or political inspiration, women's or families' associations, independent associations, cooperatives, and specialist associations. The rise of associations of consumers issuing from various union confederations is interesting, for it shows the tensions internal to consumerism. The idea of making the voice of consumers heard by the state in France, among white collar unions and producers, is an old one and was long advocated by social Catholicism. The 'first generation' of organisations called upon to participate in a new consumption policy was composed of groups that were often family-based, women-specific or co-operative. The issue of codification is complex and crucial for tackling the question of consumption policy from a perspective other than that limited to consumers' movements and administrative or political institutions.