Buying the Nation and Beyond: Discursive Dilemmas in Debates around Cosmopolitan Consumption

  • Farida Fozdar


This chapter explores the question of how people articulate (and challenge) the notion of ‘buying national’, and the extent to which they express a preference for cosmopolitan consumption. Using data from 26 focus groups (n = 223) with migrant and non-migrant Australians, it employs a discursive dilemmatic analytical approach to ask whether, when justifying their purchasing decisions, people use an ethics of care for co-nationals or demonstrate a more cosmopolitan orientation. With protectionist rhetoric becoming a commonplace in the political arena (Trump, Brexit), how the general population engages with the relationship between the economy, nationalism, and cosmopolitanism is crucial to understanding processes of globalisation. While recognising issues around parochialism, cost, quality, duty to others, working conditions, and the environment, ultimately the bottom line in discussions was an imperative to ‘look after our own’ by buying national. However, there was some evidence of cosmopolitan thinking among a few participants, who saw the focus on supporting the national economy, at the expense of others, as selfish. The chapter concludes that the nationalist impulse to protect one’s own is ubiquitous, and that this reinforces the nation-state as the relevant category for an ethics of sharing.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Farida Fozdar
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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