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Political Consumerism and the Transition Towards a More Sustainable Food Regime Looking Behind and Beyond the Organic Shelf

  • Mikael Klintman
  • Magnus Boström
  • Gert Spaargaren
  • Anne Loeber
  • Peter Oosterveer
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Publication/Series: Food Practices in Transition: Changing Food Consumption, Retail and Production in the Age of Reflexive Modernity
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Routledge

Abstract english

Abstract in Undetermined

In media, policymaking and research, increasing attention is drawn to

the phenomenon of ‘green political consumerism’, referring to consumerrelated

practices that are based on concerns beyond the traditional criteria

of product quality and price. Political consumerism is about expressing

non-economic values, that is, values beyond the direct, economic self-interest

of consumers. Such values may concern social conditions of farmers

producing our food or the welfare of animals used in food production.

Green political consumerism is a concept that highlights a concern for environmental

conditions, although these concerns often overlap with social

and animal-related ones (Boström & Klintman 2008). Micheletti (2003)

has defi ned political consumerism as consumers’ ‘individualistic collective

action’, practiced, for instance, through boycotting or buycotting certain

products and services.

For the purpose of this chapter, it is important to mention that there is

a need to keep the defi nition of political consumerism subject to continuous

discussion and debate. A main claim in this chapter is that it is particularly

important not to equal green political consumption merely with

purchases of eco-labeled products and services. To follow such principles

of consumption or to have small ecological footprints due to smaller economic

resources, for example, are two very diff erent things, which should

both be of interest in debates about political consumerism.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • consumption
  • environment
  • food
  • transition theory
  • eco-labelling


Mikael Klintman
E-mail: mikael [dot] klintman [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 70 284 55 48

+46 70 284 55 48


Sociologiska institutionen, Paradisgatan 5, Hus G, Lund


Sociologist with a broad, human scientific interest in social, economic and evolutionary dimensions of environmental and health related problems.

Department of Sociology
Lund University
Visiting address: Sandgatan 11, House G, Lund
Postal address: Box 114 , SE-221 00 LUND, SWEDEN
Telephone: Student Office +46 46-222 88 44, Lund University Switchboard +46 46-222 00 00

Faculty of Social Sciences