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Downshifting Consumer = Upshifting Citizen?
The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2007)
  • Michelle R. Nelson
  • Mark A. Rademacher, Butler University
  • Hye-Jin Pack
Critics suggest that contemporary consumer culture creates over-worked and over-shopped consumers who no longer engage in civic life. We challenge this conventional criticism against consumption within an individualistic lifestyle and argue instead that consumers who are "downshifting" do engage in civic life. In particular, this research examines downshifting attitudes among members of, a grassroots "gift economy" community. Results of an online survey show that downshifting consumers are indeed less materialistic and brand-conscious. They also tend to practice political consumption (e.g., boycotts, buycotts). Most importantly, they tend to engage in a digital form, but not a traditional form, of civic and political participation. We contend that alternative forms of consumption might be a new form of civic engagement.
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Michelle R. Nelson, Mark A. Rademacher and Hye-Jin Pack. "Downshifting Consumer = Upshifting Citizen?" The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2007)
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