ISBN : 9780199604029
Citizen consumers have two significant voices in the political public sphere: one constructed by organized consumer movements, the other by opinion polls and market research. While the first can be powerful, surveyed citizen consumers remain a diffuse, powerless bulk. With comprehensive computer usage and other technical advances, the applications of survey techniques and the number of competing interests have risen. Some fear that the privacy of personal data is threatened, while others become heavily dependent on huge amounts of data to satisfy their clients. Political and economic marketing and surveying need to gather information about citizen consumers while also obeying data protection regulations. Thus knowledge, power, and agency are important in connecting consumption, consumers, citizens, market researchers, and the political. In examining these aspects, the volume brings together the history of the consumer and the history of politics in modern Europe. In particular, it focuses on two strands of research that are closely interconnected but have so far been treated in isolation: the politics of consumption and consumer organizations on the one hand, and the techniques of market research and opinion polling on the other. In concentrating on France, Britain, and Germany (and partly on the USA) this volume tells the story of the political sphere in Western consumer societies.
PART I. INTRODUCTION
PART II. PRODUCING KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CITIZENS AND CONSUMERS: MARKET RESEARCH AND OPINION POLLING
PART III. ACTING ON ONE'S OWN INITIATIVE: CONSUMER MOVEMENTS
PART IV. COMMUNICATING KNOWLEDGE: MARKET RESEARCH, DATA PROTECTION, AND THE POLITICAL
PART V. OUTLOOK: CITIZENS AND CONSUMERS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY