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14 Dec 2007
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Citizenship and Consumption provides a timely forum for current thinking on consumption and citizenship, exploring overlaps, interactions and tensions between them. Conventionally, citizenship and consumption have been treated as oppositional or exclusive spheres. Ideas of citizenship have developed in relative isolation from studies of consumption. Recent controversies about 'choice' and 'sustainability' as well as a new wave of consumer activism, by contrast, point to the complex civic dimensions of consumption. Bringing together experts from history, theory, media studies, law, and civil society, the volume retrieves alternative traditions of consumption and citizenship in West and East, past and present, and evaluates the civic prospects of consumption for the future.

'A really innovative and challenging set of essays, which explore...the connections between being a citizen and a consumer. These two fundamental modern-day identities...are not necessarily in conflict with each other. Rather, commercial and caring relations, consumption and rights, often complement each other. This is a thesis which is argued with passion and intelligence in many chapters of the book.'
Paul Ginsborg, University of Florence and author of 'The Politics of Everyday Life'.


'Citizenship and Consumption rightly bids farewell to the old prejudice that consumers are always politically mindless, possessive individuals. It is the best available scholarly introduction to some of the great enigmas surrounding the new 'citizen consumer': the publicly contested analytic and normative meanings of the words consumer and citizenship; the crumbling divide between state-centred politics and global market consumption; and the vexed question of whether our heavily consuming planet can effectively nurture obligations to future generations.'
Professor John Keane, Professor of Politics, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB)



Description

Citizenship and Consumption provides a timely forum for current thinking on consumption and citizenship, exploring overlaps, interactions and tensions between them. Conventionally, citizenship and consumption have been treated as oppositional or exclusive spheres. Ideas of citizenship have developed in relative isolation from studies of consumption. Recent controversies about 'choice' and 'sustainability' as well as a new wave of consumer activism, by contrast, point to the complex civic dimensions of consumption. Bringing together experts from history, theory, media studies, law, and civil society, the volume retrieves alternative traditions of consumption and citizenship in West and East, past and present, and evaluates the civic prospects of consumption for the future.

'A really innovative and challenging set of essays, which explore...the connections between being a citizen and a consumer. These two fundamental modern-day identities...are not necessarily in conflict with each other. Rather, commercial and caring relations, consumption and rights, often complement each other. This is a thesis which is argued with passion and intelligence in many chapters of the book.'
Paul Ginsborg, University of Florence and author of 'The Politics of Everyday Life'.


'Citizenship and Consumption rightly bids farewell to the old prejudice that consumers are always politically mindless, possessive individuals. It is the best available scholarly introduction to some of the great enigmas surrounding the new 'citizen consumer': the publicly contested analytic and normative meanings of the words consumer and citizenship; the crumbling divide between state-centred politics and global market consumption; and the vexed question of whether our heavily consuming planet can effectively nurture obligations to future generations.'
Professor John Keane, Professor of Politics, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB)



Reviews

'...provides a forum for current thinking on consumption and citizenship, exploring overlaps, interactions, and tensions between them.' - Journal of Consumer Policy


Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Figures and Tables
Acknowledgements
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: K.Soper & F.Trentmann
PART 1: RETRIEVAL
Civic Choices: Retrieving Perspectives on Rationality, Consumption, and Citizenship; M.Bevir& F.Trentmann
Consumption and Politics in Twentieth-Century China; K.Gerth
Sartorial Manoeuvres in the Dusk: Blue Jeans in Socialist Hungary; F.Hammer
PART 2: TALK AND ACTION
Consuming without Paying: Stealing or Campaigning? The Civic Implications of Civil Disobedience around Access to Water; B.Morgan
The Banality of Consumption; M.Hilton
'Public Connection' and the Uncertain Norms of Media Consumption; N.Couldry, S.Livingstone& T.Markham
The Moral Force of Consumption and Capitalism: Anti-Slavery and Anti-Sweatshop; M.Micheletti
PART 3: PROSPECTS
Exit Homo Politicus, Enter Homo Consumens; Z.Bauman
Consumer Citizenship in Post-national Constellations?; M.Everson& C.Joerges
Sustainability, Well-being and Consumption: The Limits of Hedonic Approaches; J.O'Neill
'Alternative Hedonism' and the Citizen-Consumer; K.Soper
Index


Authors

KATE SOPER is a Professor of Philosophy in the Institute for the Study of European Transformations at London Metropolitan University, UK. She is well known for her work on the philosophy of nature and as a theorist of need and consumption, and has recently completed a research project on 'Alternative hedonism' in the ESRC/AHRC 'Cultures of Consumption' Programme. In addition to this volume, she is a co-editor (with Lyn Thomas and Martin Ryle) of Counter-Consumerism and its Pleasures (forthcoming).

FRANK TRENTMANN is Professor of Modern History at Birkbeck College, University of London, UK. Recent publications include Consuming Cultures, Global Perspectives, edited with John Brewer (2006) and Civil Society: A Reader in History, Theory and Global Politics, edited with John A. Hall (2005).