English title: Does Changing a Light Bulb Lead to Changing the World? Political Action and the Conscious Consumer

Author(s): Margaret M. Willis - Juliet B. Schor -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2012


As the prevalence of “conscious” consumption has grown, questions have arisen about its relationship to political action. An influential argument holds that political consumption individualizes responsibility for environmental degradation and “crowds out” genuine forms of activism. While European and Canadian empirical research contradicts this perspective, finding that conscious consumption and political engagement are positively connected, no studies of this relationship have been conducted for the United States. This article presents ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models for two datasets, the 2004 General Social Survey and a detailed survey of approximately 2,200 conscious consumers conducted by the authors, to assess the nature of the relationship between conscious consumption and political activism. The authors find that measures of conscious consumption are significantly and positively related to political action, even when controlling for political involvement in the past. The results suggest that greater levels of political consumption are positively related to a range of political actions.

Volume: 644

Issue: 1

From page no: 160

To page no: 190

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/0002716212454831

Journal: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

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