Title

Downshifting Consumer = Upshifting Citizen?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2007

Publication Title

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Justice

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002716206298727

Additional Publication URL

http://cccp.journalism.wisc.edu/papers.html

Abstract

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 freecycle.org, 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.

Rights

Link leads to full text provided by The Deprartment of Journalism, University of Wisconsin- Madison.