Digital consumer activism: Agency and commodification in the digital economy

Kim Humphery, Tim Jordan, Eleftheria Lekakis

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Abstract

Consumer activism has been reshaped as it has moved increasingly into the digital realm, and yet relevant theorisations have been slow to emerge. This paper presents an innovative approach to digital consumer politics by examining and connecting key scholarship in digital activism and the digital economy. Through a discussion of three case studies (#grabyourwallet, #deleteuber and #deletetwitter, and Connecting Good or CoGo), we analyse digitally mediated agency, and the transformation of consumption meanings and practices in the digital economy. We argue that digital consumer activism offers both new forms of campaigning and presents familiar problems. Our case studies demonstrate the complexity of engendering agency when consumer activism enters the digital realm. Equally, the case studies illustrate contradictions in the ways in which consumer politics contests the capitalist economy offline, but leaves it substantially uncontested online due to a reliance on digital platforms dedicated to private profit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-110
Number of pages26
JournalEphemera: theory and politics in organization
Volume23
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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