Anti-Consumption Tactics


University of Nevada-Las Vegas, US

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs006

The rise of mass consumerism through the twentieth century triggered numerous critiques and challenges that have positioned consumption practices as key areas of struggle. Anti-consumption movements and subcultures have emerged to resist the declining quality of life created by consumer culture and to issue a moral critique of unsustainable consumption. They oppose the ideology of consumerism, which supports an inherently oppressive, global capitalist system by persuading people to consume more than they need. Advanced industrial societies have the potential to satisfy real human needs, but consumerism is oppressive because it manipulates needs and wants. Advertising leads consumers to believe that happiness lies within consumer choices, and, in pursuit of happiness, they act irrationally in order to be able to consume more. These irrational behaviors include working more hours than necessary for survival, disposing of still useful products, and creating environmental destruction. Anti-consumption groups engage in a variety of tactics, such as dumpstering, squatting, stealing, performance acts, culture jamming, consuming ethically, and brand boycotting.

The types of tactics individuals engage in depend on their motivations for anticonsumption. Motivations for anti-consumption vary, but generally fit within five types. Personal motivations include the desire to liberate ...

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