A liquid politics? Conceptualising the politics of fair trade consumption and consumer citizenship

Lekakis, Eleftheria (2013) A liquid politics? Conceptualising the politics of fair trade consumption and consumer citizenship. Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization, 13 (2). ISSN 1473-2866

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A politics borne of consumption is widely contested, not only with respect to the claims it can make but also with respect to the modes of expression it allows and the sorts of practices it encourages. In this paper I conceptually frame the politics of fair trade consumption and empirically ground this account in order to allude towards and explain some of these aforementioned complexities. Conceptually, I discuss and apply Zygmunt Bauman’s genealogy of liquidity in terms of organised and disorganised realms of social life (ranging from affective attachment to political activation) to the problem of fair trade. This conceptual discussion is empirically complimented within a series of interviews with ethical consumers. The paper attempts to construct a model of liquid politics which accounts for ethical consumption and consumer citizenship within the context of fair trade. This model addresses ephemeral interactions with the marketplace, cosmopolitan concerns about the distant other and individualised types of action imagined as collective. It alludes towards open forms of engagement and broader definitions of citizenship which both include and exclude traditional political categories of solid modernity. By constructing such a model, I hope to make the case for a macroscopic critique of consumption which intimately connects the structural dynamics characterising the growth of a particular politics to a variety of seemingly banal everyday practices.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: J Political Science
Depositing User: Eleftheria Lekakis
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2013 08:58
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2013 08:58
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46256
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