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date: 04 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter uses quantitative measures to assess the spread of political consumerism, confirming not only its well-established status in Northwestern Europe (NWE) but also important regional variations. It then reviews case studies that show that political consumerism is practiced in various social movements in very diverse ways, far beyond the boycotts/buycotts and ethical products typically measured in quantitative data. While some occasionally buycott or boycott, others change their entire lifestyle; and while some use political consumerism in rejection of institutions, others collaborate with governments and companies to establish standards and labels. Since quantitative data do not cover the profound diversity revealed by the case studies, little is known about the spread of various more or less “serious” forms of political consumerism. The chapter makes several recommendations to fill this gap and thus to assess the potential of political consumerism for social change in NWE.

Keywords: political consumerism, social movements, Northwestern Europe, methodological challenges, social change

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