The conflict market polarizing consumer culture(s) in counter-democracy

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1 Citation (SciVal)

Abstract

At the beginning of the millennium, consumer culture researchers predicted that people would increasingly demand that marketplace actors subscribe to contemporary ethics of liberal democracy. Although their prediction indeed came true, they did not foresee that an algorithm-powered media ecosystem in combination with growing authoritarian movements would soon come to fuel an increasingly polarized political landscape and challenge the very fundament of liberal democracy per se. In this macroscopic, conceptual article, I discuss three assumption-challenging logics—counter-democratic consumer culture, de-dialectical algorithmic manipulation, and growing illiberal consumer resistance—according to which the market increasingly monetizes the conflicts accompanying this polarization and, thereby, reinforces it. I call this new logic a conflict market and illustrate it through three, historically situated and currently conflicting, consumer ideoscapes—the neoblue, the neogreen, and the neobrown—between which consumers engage in marketized conflicts, not in a de-politicizing way, but in an increasingly un-politicizing, de-dialectical, and polarizing way. At the technologically manipulated conflict market, the role of marketers is to monetize politically sensitive topics by creating conflict, knowingly renouncing large groups of consumers, and giving fodder to the political extremes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration

Keywords

  • algorithmic identities
  • brand activism
  • conflict market
  • consumer resistance
  • counter-democracy
  • monetization
  • polarization
  • surveillance capitalism

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