Political consumerism: How communication and consumption orientations drive lifestyle politics

Dhavan V. Shah, Douglas M. McLeod, Eunkyung Kim, Young Lee Sun Young Lee, Melissa R. Gotlieb, Shirley S. Ho, Hilde Breivik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Historians and cultural theorists have long asserted that a desire to express political concerns often guides consumer behavior, yet such political consumerism has received limited attention from social scientists. Here, the authors explore the relationship of political consumerism with dispositional factors, communication variables, and consumption orientations using data collected from a panel survey conducted in the United States between February 2002 and July 2005. The authors test a theorized model using both cross-sectional and auto-regressive panel analyses. The static and change models reveal that conventional and online news use encourage political consumerism indirectly through their influence on political talk and environmental concerns. However, media use may also have some suppressive effects by reducing the desire to protect others from harmful messages. Results demonstrate how communication practices and consumption orientations work together to influence political consumerism beyond previously delineated factors. Implications for declines in political and civic participation and youth socialization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-235
Number of pages19
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Antisweatshop
  • Boycott
  • Buycott
  • Fair trade
  • Lifestyle politics
  • Political consumerism
  • Socially conscious consumption


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