The Historical Context — Key Trends

  • Magnus Boström
  • Mikael Klintman
Part of the Consumption and Public Life book series (CUCO)


This chapter situates labelling, and its concrete manifestations, within a broader historical context, and briefly considers how labelling relates to broad general trends.

Debating the direction of consumer activism is not new, nor is the attempt to organise disparate individual acts of consumption by appealing to higher moral or political ends. The US-nonimportation movement of 1764–76 was America’s first consumer revolt. Aimed against the import of goods, it was more than a rejection of colonial tax laws, / … namely … / an expression of cultural independence and an assertion of the local over the global. (Lang & Gabriel, 2005, p. 40)

Consumer movements have since this consumer revolt organized themselves into a number of different streams, on both sides of the Atlantic (Lang & Gabriel, 2005; Soper & Trentmann, 2007). Some, such as the cooperative movements that emerged strongly in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe from the mid-nineteenth century, connected with socialist movements, encouraged ‘self-help by the people’, and expressed radical visions for societal change (although we see extremely little of this radical spirit in these days’ large-scale business and retail-led coop ‘movements’). Other less radical initiatives were mainly taken in the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


Fair Trade Ecological Modernization Green Consumerism Green Branding Green Labelling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Magnus Boström and Mikael Klintman 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magnus Boström
    • 1
  • Mikael Klintman
    • 2
  1. 1.Södertörn University CollegeSweden
  2. 2.Lund UniversitySweden

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