Adversaries of advertising: anti-consumerism and subvertisers’ critique and practice

Lekakis, Eleftheria J (2020) Adversaries of advertising: anti-consumerism and subvertisers’ critique and practice. Social Movement Studies. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1474-2837

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Anti-consumerism is a rich and diverse field of advocacy and activism and has historically been studied in terms of its tactics, representations and ideologies. This paper presents an original contribution to this field through, first, its presentation of primary research conducted among subvertising practitioners in an international context. Subvertising (aka culture jamming) can be both a movement and a set of tactics used by movements. As an emergent anti-consumerist social movement, it has been connecting individuals and collectives in transnational actions against advertising. Drawing on twenty-four interviews with subvertisers in seven countries, I illustrate their perspectives of advertising as a problem, as well as their practices as responses to that. I argue that their theory and practice of anti-consumerism goes beyond a for/against binary which regards advertising as an ideological enemy. Instead, they protest the deleterious effects of contemporary Habermasian ‘publicity’. Thus, the second contribution of this paper is in its application of a grounded theory approach complemented by framing theory to gain insights with respect to those, specifically in terms of public wellbeing, damage to democracy, and damage to the environment. To this set of problems, they offer solutions oriented towards critical pedagogy or policy change. Mobilising all tools at their disposal, from media production to media disruption, subvertisers are involved in the struggle against consumer capitalism, in both cultural and material terms. In their articulation of resistance narratives, and through their variant and often coordinated practices, subvertisers are united in a transnational anti-consumerist social movement.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: subvertising, anti-consumerism, social movements, publicity, ideology, framing
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 07:48
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2022 01:00

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