, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 68–86 | Cite as

Dig for victory! Anti-consumerism, austerity and new historical subjectivities

  • Rebecca Bramall
Original Article


In recent years, austerity-related discourses have become a popular means of imagining and promoting more sustainable living. This article situates the re-emergence of the slogan ‘dig for victory’ in the wider discursive formation of ‘anti-consumerism’, and explores the relationship between the ‘defetishizing’ qualities of commodity histories and the constitution of ethico-political consuming subjects. Following Laclau's notion that a conversion of subjectivity results from persuasion, I suggest that the persuasiveness of ‘dig for victory’ lies in its insistence upon historical solutions to today's problems. The discourse seems to consolidate the dominant-hegemonic ‘myth of the home front’, yet ‘dig for victory’ also appears to have the capacity to render certain radical ideas, such as operating outside of the capitalist commodity system, unthreatening and even appealing. I explain why this case study points to an urgent need to rethink the historical as a resource for the constitution of radical collective projects and agents.


austerity anti-consumerism environmentalism history home front sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Bramall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Brighton School of Arts and Media, University of BrightonHastingsUK

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