From Concerned Shopper to Dutiful Citizen: Implications of Individual and Collective Orientations toward Political Consumerism

Melissa R. Gotlieb, Chris Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Young citizens are increasingly seeking fulfillment in expressive modes of political participation, and scholars have begun to examine the implications of this trend for engagement in formal politics. While some argue that expressive practices are "crowding out" participation in more conventional civic activities, others more optimistically contend that they have expanded the political repertoires of young citizens, affording them with more opportunities to be engaged. The authors add clarity to this debate by specifying the conditions under which engagement in one particular form of expressive politics, political consumerism, is associated with conventional participation. An analysis of survey data shows that identification with other political consumers significantly enhances the relationship between political consumerism and traditional political engagement, particularly among younger generations of Americans. The authors argue that engaging in political consumerism alongside others provides an important opportunity for young citizens to develop the civic competencies necessary for engagement in the formal political sphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-219
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume644
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • civic engagement
  • cohort effects
  • collective identity
  • political consumerism

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