Governing the Subjects and Spaces of Ethical Consumption: Full Research Report.

Author: 
Clive Barnett
Publication Date: 
2007
Summary: 
Literature on sustainable consumption have focused on the potential of consumer agency as a driver of changes in overall patterns of consumption.
Abstract: 
This project is situated in a number of academic, policy, and practitioner debates. Firstly, literature on sustainable consumption have focused on the potential of consumer agency as a driver of changes in overall patterns of consumption. A prevalent focus of this literature has been upon the need to overcome various obstacles to behaviour change. While an information-led approach has been subjected to criticism (e.g. Hobson 2003), this field continues to presume that the primacy vector of agency is people’s roles as consumers. Secondly, the same assumption that acting as consumers is a potential route for agency is positively affirmed in recent literature on the rise of anticonsumerism, anti-sweatshop campaigning, and global environmentalism (e.g. Ginsborg 2005). Thirdly, a wide range of critical commentary supposes that the rise of so-called consumer society leads to the decline of political activism and civic participation (e.g. Marquand 2004), on the grounds that consumerism is an individualistic pursuit.