Political consumers

A new report argues that public participation moves from the city halls and community centres to the malls and supermarkets with the rise of political consumption. How does eCitizens consume politics?

The Danish Democracy and Power Study
Political consumption and political consumers. Globalization and politics in everyday life (Politisk forbrug og politiske forbrugere. Globalisering og politik i hverdagslivet), by Goul Andersen and Tobiasen (2001).

“Consumers are traditionally seen as actors in the market, not as political actors. ‘Political consumption,’ which is a tool for consumers to influence the distribution of values in society, transcends the boundary between market and politics. But is political consumption really a conscious political act? Is it a powerful new form of political participation that enables people to shape the social development? Or is it simply a media phenomenon and a flash in the pan?

The study shows that political consumption is a new and quite powerful political form of participation that manifests itself as collective and individual boycotts and positive selection of products. The level of participation in boycotts varies, but the long-term trend in political consumption is rising. The widespread idea that political consumption is an expression of distrust in the established political system turns out to be unfounded. Political consumption has the same positive relation to trust in political institutions as participation in organizations. Political consumption is a supplementary – not an alternative – form of participation, and its effectiveness is perceived as being quite high. Political consumption is an individualized form of participation practiced in everyday life, and it is based on a high level of political interest, solidarity and a global outlook.”

New kinds of spam

The rise of political consumers brings about some new kinds of “consumer outreach” activities form various businesses. As with everything else on the net, also some irritating new businesses, such as political spam, which I found in my inbox this morning:

Identity theft is on the rise. Don’t say you can’t be a victim. We all remember the September 11, 2001 terrorists, they used other people’s identities to perpetrate their horrendous crimes. Each time you use your credit or debit card online or offline, you are a potential victim.
Protect Yourself with the Universal-ID Card

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