Qualitative Political Communication| Locating the Politics in Political Consumption: A Conceptual Map of Four Types of Political Consumer Identities

Lucy Atkinson


Political consumption is widely assumed to have a positive relationship with civic and political engagement, and considerable scholarly work indicates marketplace-based politics align neatly with contemporary norms of engaged citizenship. However, few studies examine whether political consumers themselves think of their shopping choices as political. Using depth interviews, this study uses schema theory to understand how individuals think about their political consumer roles. I argue that political consumption represents a collection of orientations varying according to two dimensions: responsibilities and rights. The language political consumers use to talk about their behaviors serves to situate them within one of four types of political consumers, each adhering to a different orientation of rights and responsibilities.


political consumption, conceptual map, depth interviews, discourses of citizenship, citizenship norms, schema interviews; discourses of citizenship; citizenship norms; schema

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