Consumerism in twentieth-century Britain: the search for a historical movement.
Hilton, M. 2003. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Book preview available here.
This book is the first comprehensive history of consumerism as an organised social and political movement. The author offers a groundbreaking account of ocnsumer movements, ideolofies and organisations in twentieth-century Britain.
He argues that in organisations such as the Co-operative movement and the Consumers' Association individual concern with what and how we spend our wages led to forms of political engagement too often overlooked in exisitng accounts of twentieth-century history.
He explores how the consumer and consumerism came to be regarded by many as a third force in society with the potential to free politics from the perceived stranglehold of the self-interested actions of employers and trade unions.
Finally he recovers the visions of countless counsumer activists who saw in consumption a genuine force for liberation for women, the working class and new social movements as well as a set of ideas often deliberately excluded from more established political organisations. (Hilton, 2003)
Geographies of Consumption
Mansvelt, J. (2005) London: Sage
With the use of theory, case studies, images and diagrams, this book examines the many facets to consumption. These ‘geographies’ of consumption includes spaces, identities, histories and moralities, and are used to provide an overview of the key issues discussed within consumption literatures. The book is designed to be accessible as a textbook, but also for academic or leisure reading.
Enchanting Ethical Consumerism: The case of Community Supported Agriculture.
Thompson, C.J., and G. Coskuner-Balli. 2007. Journal of Consumer Culture Volume 7 Issue no.3, pages 275-303.
This article analyzes Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) as a form of ethical consumerism organized by a nexus of ideological discourses, romantic idealizations, and unconventional marketplace practices and relationships.
Our analysis explicates the aspects of CSA that enable consumers to experience its pragmatic inconveniences and choice restrictions as enchanting moral virtues.We conclude by assessing the societal implications that follow from these localized marketplace relationships and their ideological distinctions to the modes of enchantment that are constituted in postmodern cathedrals of consumption. (Thompson and Coskuner-Balli, 2007 p.275)
Morality and the market: consumer pressure for corporate accountability.
Smith, N.C. 1990. London: Routledge.
Book preview available here
Can businesses abandon the axiom that the customer is always right when consumers start questioning the ethics of business practices? The current debate about business ethics and the role of business in society has focused attention on corporate moral and commercial obligations.
As a consequence, consumer sovereignty, and its use to determine ethical business practice, has become an important issue. In this review of the relationship between business and society, Professor Craig Smith examines the theory and practice of ethical purchase behaviour, a crucial mechanism for ensuring social responsibility in business.
He explains how and why consumers, often in conjunction with pressure groups, have used their purchasing power to influence corporate policies and practices. He argues the case for the social control of business, drawing on perspectives from marketing, economics, politics, sociology, and business policy, and concludes that the market may act as an arbiter of good and bad business practice.
This book should be of interest to lecturers and students of marketing and social administration, also of interest to consumer pressure groups. (Amazon.com, 2010)
The Ethical Consumer.
Harrison, R., T. Newholm, and D. Shaw (Eds). 2005.London: London.
Book preview available here.
Who are ethical consumers and why are they on the rise? Leading the way towards answering this question, The Ethical Consumer is an indispensable introduction to the subject.
Exploring areas like boycotts and fair trade projects, it gathers together the diverse experiences of scholars, campaigners and business practitioners from the international community.
The chapters in this book explore: ethical consumer behaviours, motivation and narratives; the social, political and theoretical contexts in which ethical consumers operate; and the responsibilities of businesses and the effectiveness of ethical consumer actions. Contributions are informed by a broad range of research methods, from case studies, focus groups to surveys and interviews.
The text is of interest to business related graduates, undergraduates and their tutors on courses relating to consumption. It will also be relevant to academics in other disciplines, as well as to politicians, producers, practitioners, campaigners and not least consumers. (Harrison et al., 2005)
The Myth of the Ethical Consumer.
Devinney, T.M, P. Auger, and G.M. Eckhardt. 2010.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Book preview available here
Do consumers really care where products come from and how they are made? Is there such a thing as an 'ethical consumer'? Corporations and policy makers are bombarded with international surveys purporting to show that most consumers want ethical products.
Yet when companies offer such products they are often met with indifference and limited uptake. It seems that survey radicals turn into economic conservatives at the checkout. This book reveals not only why the search for the 'ethical consumer' is futile but also why the social aspects of consumption cannot be ignored.
Consumers are revealed to be much more deliberative and sophisticated in how they do or do not incorporate social factors into their decision making. Using first-hand findings and extensive research, The Myth of the Ethical Consumer provides academics, students and leaders in corporations and NGOs with an enlightening picture of the interface between social causes and consumption. (Google Books, 2010)
The social economics of ethical consumption: Theoretical considerations and empirical evidence
Starr, M. A. (2009) The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 38, pages 916 – 925.
This paper takes a wholesale approach to ethical consumption, exploring the many facets, practices and products that the term encapsulates. The paper explores a number of key issues that influence ethical consumption, such as age, gender and social values, etc. and uses the results of the General Social Survey to explore perceptions about ethical consumption issues. The paper suggests that further research is required that explores the different social and temporal dimensions of ethical consumption, particular how ethical consumption behaviour is transferred between individuals.
An introduction to ethical consumerism
Rob Harrison 2011. Unpublished text prepared for a presentation to non-UK students at Manchester Business School
A short introduction to Ethical Consumer magazine, to contested ethics, to surveys and market research around ethical consumer behaviours in Europe, and to typologies of different behaviours.
[Click here to download a copy]
It’s more than just what it is’: Defetishising Commodities, expanding field, mobilising change…’
Cook, I., Evans, J., Griffiths, H, Morris, R. and Wrathmell, S. (2007), Geoforum, 38, 1113-1126.
This article considered how to engage students in consumption geographies through the de-fetishisation of commodities. It discusses how teaching and research attitudes towards consumption and production are too didactic and suggests a more political approach.