Towards a Sustainable Flourishing: Ethical Consumption and the Politics of Prosperity
This chapter explores the ethical dimensions of political consumption. Discussions of political consumption often center on boycotts or buycotts. Political consumption can also take the form of discursive political consumerism and lifestyle politics. Unlike boycotts and buycotts, which work like economic 'sticks' or 'carrots' either to punish or reward businesses, respectively, discursive political consumption entails communicative acts, such as culture jamming, that identify and harness market vulnerabilities emerging from the rise and significance of brands. The chapter begins with an overview of the four main types of political consumption before turning to some of the key predictors of political consumerism. It then focuses on three main reasons social scientists have cited to explain the politicization of political consumerism since the 1970s, paying attention to the implications for both individuals and society. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of the broader repercussions of marketplace-based politics and the consequences for contemporary citizenship.