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

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Abstract

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
Pages40-53
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781135282400
ISBN (Print)9780415558242
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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