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Consumer Activism
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Consumer Activism
Promotional Culture and Resistance



October 2022 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"A crucial intervention to both critical studies of consumption and research into activism. It authoritatively explores the complex and multiplying links between branding and neoliberal culture, consumer practices and social justice."
– Professor Mehita Iqani, Stellenbosch University

"Eleftheria Lekakis reminds us that as consumers, we can do much more than just buy our way out of social or political problems."
– Professor Melissa Aronczyk, Rutgers University

Consumption and resistance are entwined. From buying fair-trade, to celebrity advocates for social causes, to subvertising and anti-consumerist grassroots movements, consumer activism is now a key part of our fight for social and environmental justice.

This book is a comprehensive exploration of the complexities and dilemmas of using the marketplace as an arena for politics. It goes beyond simply buying or boycotting to critically explore how individuals, collectives, corporations and governments do politics with and through consumption.

Impassioned and always accessible, Eleftheria Lekakis explores:

  • The media and economic logics which privilege elite activists.
  • The real opportunities to resist and redirect promotional culture.
  • Consumer activism as collective and community-building.
  • The politicisation of celebrity influencers.
  • The centrality of digital media technology.
  • A range of transnational case studies pushing the field beyond the Global North.

Consumer Activism: Promotional Culture and Resistance covers the full breadth of theory and practice you need to know. It is an essential resource for understanding, researching and engaging with the global phenomenon of consumer activism. 

Dr Eleftheria Lekakis is senior lecturer in Media and Communications at the School of Media, Arts, and Humanities at the University of Sussex.


 
Consumer Activism: An Introduction
 
Conceptualizing Consumer Activism
 
Nationalism, Race, Ethnicity, and Consumer Activism
 
Gender, Feminism and Consumer Activism
 
Consumer Activism in the Environment
 
Celebrity Advocacy and Consumer Activism
 
Subvertising as Anti-Consumerism
 
Conclusion

Consumers of the world, unite! Consumer Activism is both an excellent intellectual reference and a savvy guide for educators and students. Eleftheria Lekakis reminds us that as consumers, we can do much more than just buy our way out of social or political problems. Through creative and collective efforts, consumers can work to end unfair and inequitable market practices, and can promote concerted action on such major issues as climate change, racial justice or women’s rights. Rich with key concepts, contemporary themes, and provocative case studies, this book will foster necessary conversations about power and politics in consumer culture.

Melissa Aronczyk
Associate Professor of Media Studies, Rutgers University

This book offers a crucial intervention to both critical studies of consumption and action research into activism. It authoritatively explores the complex and multiplying links between branding and neoliberal culture, consumer practices and social justice, and calls for an urgent renegotiation of ethics in response. Consumer Activism will be an indispensable resource for research and pedagogy in the urgent years ahead, as humanity reckons with the effects climate change, deepening inequality, and increasingly feverish consumption.

Mehita Iqani
South African Research Chair in Science Communication, Stellenbosch University

Consumer Activism discusses in an interesting way the complexities of and dilemmas involved in using the market as an arena for politics. Eleftheria Lekakis argues for putting more scholarly emphasis on the global South and considering more systematically the role of nationalism, race, ethnicity, gender, feminism, and environmentalism in this form of activism. Thought-provoking examples on these topics are included in the book. Importantly, the book focuses on the role of celebrity and corporate promotion, and even anti-consumerist activism. The term “consumer solutionism” is coined to emphasis the limitations of consumer activism as a central means of contemporary resistance today. This book adds additional perspectives to the study of political consumerism.  

Michele Micheletti
Professor Emerita in Political Science, Stockholm University

An interesting, well written, and thoughtful book that by posing particular emphasis on advertising and promotional communication addresses the complex question of why consumers, especially in wealthy nations, keep overconsuming by virtually ignoring the consequences on other people and our planet. Eleftheria Lekakis critically explores alternatives and opportunities for resistance by focusing on practices of consumer activism aimed at raising awareness and promoting more just and sustainable uses of the marketplace.

Francesca Forno
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Trento

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