The simple and the good: Ethical consumption as anti-consumerism

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The ‘shopocalypse’, known to most as the global financial crisis, seemed to strike, like all world-shattering events, without warning. In fact, the warnings were many; offered up both by the more sober of economic analysts and by those for whom the consumer marketplace has long been a source of contention. The Reverend Billy, of the US-based Church of Stop Shopping, in adroitly coining the shopocalypse term, insisted that the US had finally spent itself to death in 2008 and that the credit-drunk consumer was at last turning to restraint and perhaps even a renewed sense of social citizenship.1 In voicing this hope, the Reverend heralded the apparent affirmation of what the American sociologist Juliet Schor has called ‘the new politics of consumption’, a politics centred on contesting a mentality of consumerism and advocating frugality-oriented lifestyle change (Schor 2000). Talk of a shopping Armageddon in many respects encapsulates the characteristically individualized nature of this opposition. For many recent critics of a so-called ‘affluenza’ the very act of purchasing or, conversely, the refusal to do so has become at one and the same time the source of and solution to a socially and environmentally damaging Western overconsumption that was bound to implode.2.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthical Consumption
Subtitle of host publicationA Critical Introduction
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781135282400
ISBN (Print)9780415558242
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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