Advertisement

Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 263–280 | Cite as

Consumption, Resistance and Everyday Life: Ruptures and Continuities

  • Simon Tormey
Original paper

Abstract

This paper makes the case for regarding political consumption and more generally individual collective action as an instance of “everyday resistance.” In doing so it seeks to make connection with the political case against representative politics, one that stretches back to the origins of “official” politics at the start of the 19th century. Three moments in the history of the idea of everyday resistance are presented: Max Stirner’s egoistic individualism, Leo Tolstoy’s critique of violence, and Agnes Heller’s evocation of the everyday as a site of civic courage. The examples show the longevity and persistence in political thought of the idea of the individual as the locus of social power, one that puts it at odds with the normative assumptions of theories of representation. They also show the dangers of assuming that individual collective action can unproblematically be considered a form of participation in democratic processes as opposed to a resistance against incorporation into mainstream or “official” politics. Rights which are often at the core of efforts of activists become remodelled as a weapon of contingent “everyday” struggles as opposed to a universal or transcendentally posited phenomenon.

Keywords

Consumption Resistance Collective action Stirner Tolstoy Heller 

References

  1. Adorno, T. W. (2001). The culture industry: Selected essays on mass culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Andrew, X. (1999). Give up activism. Do or Die, 9, 160–166.Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous. (1975). The revolutionary pleasure of thinking for yourself. http://deoxy.org/rst.htm.Google Scholar
  4. Bauman, Z. (2001). The individualized society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, U. (1997). The reinvention of politics: Rethinking modernity in the global social order. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bircham, E., & Charlton, J. (2001). Anticapitalism: A guide to the movement. London: Bookmarks.Google Scholar
  7. Castells, M. (2000). The rise of the network society. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Danaher, K., & Mark, J. D. (2003). Insurrection: Citizen challenges to corporate power. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Dryzek, J. S. (2002). Deliberative democracy and beyond: Liberals, critics, contestations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Eckersley, R. (1987). Environmentalism and political theory: Toward an ecocentric approach. London: UCL Press.Google Scholar
  11. Featherstone, L. (2002). Students against sweatshops. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M. (2001). Power. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  13. Foucault, M. (2003). Society must be defended. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  14. Friedman, M. (1999). Consumer boycotts: Effecting change through the marketplace and the media. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Gardiner, M. (2000). Critiques of everyday life. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Giddens, A. (1994). Beyond left and right: The future of radical politics. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  17. Guha, R. (1982). Subaltern studies: Writings on South Asian history and society. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Habermas, J. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere: An inquiry into a category of bourgeois society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  19. Harvey, D., Milburn, K., Trott, B., & Watts, D. (Eds.). (2005). Shut them down! The G8, Gleneagles 2005 and the movement of movements. Leeds: Dissent!.Google Scholar
  20. Heath, J., & Potter, A. (2005) The rebel sell: How counter culture became consumer culture. London: Capstone.Google Scholar
  21. Heller, A. (1976). Marx’s theory of revolution and the revolution in everyday life. In A. Hegedus, A. Heller, M. Markus & M. Vajda (Eds.), The humanisation of socialism: Writings of the Budapest School (pp. 58–75). London: Allison & Busby.Google Scholar
  22. Heller, A. (1984). Everyday life. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  23. Heller, A. (1990a). Can modernity survive? Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  24. Heller, A. (1990b). A philosophy of morals. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  25. Heller, A., & Feher, F. (1988). The postmodern political condition. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  26. Jordan, J. (2002). The art of necessity: The subversive imagination of anti-road protest and Reclaim the Streets. In S. Duncombe (Ed.), The cultural resistance reader (pp. 347–357). London: Verso.Google Scholar
  27. Kershaw, I. (2002). Popular opinion and political dissent in the Third Reich. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  28. Kinna, R. (2005). Anarchism: A beginner’s guide. Oxford: Oneworld.Google Scholar
  29. Kotkin, S. (1995). Magnetic mountain: Stalinism as a civilization. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kumar, S. (1997). Gandhi’s Swadeshi: The economics of permanence. In E. Goldsmith & J. Mander (Eds.), The case against the global economy (pp. 418–423). Toronto: Sierra Club Books.Google Scholar
  31. Marcuse, H. (1964). One dimensional man. London: Sphere Books.Google Scholar
  32. Marx, K. (1970). The German ideology. London: Lawrence and Wishart.Google Scholar
  33. Marx, K. (1975). Early writings. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  34. Marx, K. (1988). The communist manifesto. London: Norton.Google Scholar
  35. Melucci, A. (1996). Challenging codes: Collective action in the information age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Micheletti, M. (2003). Political virtue and shopping: Individuals, consumerism and collective action. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  37. Notes from Nowhere. (2003). We are everywhere: The irresistible rise of global anticapitalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  38. Peukert, D. (1993). Inside Nazi Germany: Conformity, opposition and racism in everyday life. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  39. Robinson, A., & Tormey, S. (2005). Horizontals, verticals and the conflicting logics of transformative politics. In C. el-Ojeili & P. Hayden (Eds.), Confronting globalization (pp. 208–226). London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  40. Schumacher, E. F. (1976). Small is beautiful. London: Sphere.Google Scholar
  41. Scott, J. (1987). Weapons of the weak: Everyday forms of peasant resistance. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Shepard, B., & Hayduk, R. (Eds.). (2002). From act-up to the WTO: Urban protest and community building in the era of globalization. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  43. Stirner, M. (1993). The ego and its own. London: Rebel Press.Google Scholar
  44. Tolstoy, L. N. (1990). Government is violence: Essays on anarchism and pacifism. London: Phoenix Press.Google Scholar
  45. Tormey, S. (2001). Agnes Heller: Socialism, autonomy and the postmodern. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Tormey, S. (2004). Anti-capitalism: A beginner’s guide. Oxford: Oneworld.Google Scholar
  47. Trott, B. (2005). Gleneagles, activism and ordinary rebelliousness. In D. Harvey, K. Milburn, B. Trott & D. Watts (Eds.), Shut them down! The G8, Gleneagles 2005 and the movement of movements (pp. 213–233). Leeds: Dissent!.Google Scholar
  48. Viola, L. (1996). Peasant rebels under Stalin: Collectivisation and the culture of peasant resistance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Zizek, S. (1999). The ticklish subject: The absent centre of political ontology. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and International RelationsUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations