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The discourse of the consumer resistance movement: adversarial and prognostic framings through the lens of power

C. Valor, E. Díaz, A. Merino

Journal of Macromarketing Vol. 37, nº. 1, pp. 72 - 84


Little work has been done on understanding the ways in which resistant consumers interpret the causes and responsible agents for structures of domination. Drawing on collective action frames, we examine how a consumer resistance movement defines both its antagonists (adversarial framing) and its advocacy strategies for response (prognostic framing). Discourses of resistant consumers are analyzed through the lens of power, since to explore these frames is also to study the question of who is perceived as the locus of power and how power/resistance is exercised to achieve the movement’s goals. A kaleidoscopic framing emerges that reveals multiple points and forms of resistance. To counteract the underlying attribution of responsibility (the materialistic ideology dominant in Western societies), consumers bring into play a repertoire of actions that enable them to construct both themselves and others as ethical persons. Based on these findings the research contributes to the literature on consumer resistance by broadening the most commonly held vision of power, namely, power as domination and control possessed by distinctly identifiable agents. This study, by contrast, provides evidence of discourses that assume power is exercised in a reticular, shifting, and productive manner, a vision of power that corresponds closely to that articulated in the work of Foucault and Arendt. An emphasis on this perception of power relationships in the realm of consumer resistance extends and enriches understanding of a movement’s dynamics, whilst also enhancing the movement’s capacity to change the materialistic ideology that it refuses to accept.

Keywords: consumer resistance, ethical consumption, political consumption, social movements, power theories, framing, macromarketing

JCR Impact Factor and WoS quartile: Q4 (2017); 3,100 - Q3 (2022)

DOI reference: DOI icon https://doi.org/10.1177/0276146715627851

Published on paper: March 2017.

Published on-line: July 2016.

C. Valor, E. Díaz, A. Merino, The discourse of the consumer resistance movement: adversarial and prognostic framings through the lens of power. Journal of Macromarketing. Vol. 37, nº. 1, pp. 72 - 84, March 2017. [Online: July 2016]