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Deadline: 1 March 2021
New Insights on Consumer Activism: Advancing a Prefigurative Framing of Alternative Consumption
Contemporary social movements, consumer activism and alternative (collaborative/sharing) economies have drawn consumer studies and political science together as the everyday becomes a site of activism (Denegri-Knott, Nixon & Abraham, 2017; Portwood-Stacer, 2012; Schor & Fitzmaurice, 2015). Increasingly, consumer-citizens are prefiguring new social, political and economic relations in the crevices of the old. Prefiguration is the “embodied process of reimagining all of society – and as such the specific practice of prefiguration is different every time and in each place that it is enacted” (Maeckelbergh, 2016, p. 122). This kind of action is typified by rejecting the “politics of waiting” and embracing “the immanent possibilities of the here and now” (Springer, 2014, p. 3). Possibilities which, once realised, become “theatrical spectacles that publicly represent political ideologies and convince others of their correctness” (Portwood-Stacer, 2012, p. 99). These movements are often embodied in counter-hegemonic social, political or economic projects or via alternative, creative, means of resistance (Yates, 2015). Such experiments are demarcated by a commitment to radical democracy, alternative ownership models and decentralised modes of organisation. They are designed to end domination; challenge the status quo; promote equality and decentralise power (Mattern, 2019). Prefigurative tactics are often used in the wake of direct action, an embodied response to the fading power of protest.
Prefigurative projects are experimental, experiential and transformative (van de Sande, 2015). Gibson-Graham (2008) posited that alternative economies oppose and critique hegemonic neoliberal discourses and “generate spaces of economic alterity that sit within, against and beyond capitalist economies” (Hall & Ince, 2017, p. 2). Prefigurative action is flexible and accessible: squatters dumpster dive to decommodify exchange (Yates, 2015), artists create alternative visions of the future to defamiliarise the world and invent “a sense of new political and social possibilities” (Tucker, 2010, p. 7), music festivals become spaces in which dominant ideologies are critiqued and rejected (Sharpe, 2008), cooperatives offer alternative ownership and provisioning models (Sekulova et al., 2017) and alternative food networks create oppositional production/consumption relationships (Schlosberg, 2019). Recent years have seen a global increase in prefigurative projects as collectivities embody and enact social, political or economic change.
This Special Issue will collate theoretical and empirical research on these seemingly disparate pockets of prefigurative activism (either physical or virtual). It is an opportunity to explore these projects, communities, movements or enterprises which, we appreciate, are not “self-contained spaces but rebellions that recognise one another, feel affinities, reach out for each other” (Holloway, 2010, p. 35). Conceptualising these projects and organisations as nodes in a broader network reveals their transformational potential. Adopting this perspective is an opportunity to draw very real connections between various consumption-based phenomena, for example contemporary forms of consumer activism; grassroots organisations; alternative economies; community energy projects; community garden initiatives and adversarial art projects (“low” or “high” art forms – music/dance/aesthetic/etc.). Relevant research explores counter hegemonic spaces (permanent or temporary) where neoliberal consumption and production practices are confronted, challenged and re-imagined.
This line of thought could render interesting sociological and philosophical insights around politics, ethics, space and time. Authors could consider what theoretical or methodological insights would aid in the development of our appreciation of prefigurative projects and larger theories of social, political and economic change. This Special Issue calls for a transdisciplinary approach, theoretical or empirical.
Possible Research Topics include but are not limited to:
- New Social Movements and consumption.
- Alternative spaces of consumption / spaces of alternative consumption.
- Collectivities: cooperatives, Community Based Initiatives (CBIS), grassroots innovations, etc.
- Anti-consumption, deconsumption and transformative consumption.
- Oppositional projects or spaces - physical or virtual, permanent or temporary.
- Thinking beyond middle-class marketing theory and consumer research.
- Transformative creative, pedagogical or economic projects.
- Modern Art Projects.
- Alternative music venues / genres.
- Alternative economies (timebanks/currencies/bartering/sharing).
- Commoning against capitalism.
- Re-energising anarchist theories and concepts.
- Ideology and the politics of alternative consumption.
- Novel directions in theorising collective consumption – beyond the individualistic axiology of consumer research.
Katherine Casey, Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK
Mark Tadajewski, University of York, UK; Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
Looking to Publish your Research?
Authors should submit manuscripts of between 8,000–10,000 words (excluding tables, references, captions, footnotes and endnotes). All submissions must strictly follow the guidelines for the Journal of Marketing Management. These are available at the Instructions for Authors page.
Manuscripts should be submitted online using the Journal of Marketing Management ScholarOne Manuscripts. New users should first create an account. Once a user is logged onto the site submissions should be made via the Author Centre. Authors should prepare and upload two versions of their manuscript. One should be a complete text, while in the second all document information identifying the author should be removed from the files to allow them to be sent anonymously to referees. When uploading files authors will then be able to define the non-anonymous version as “Complete paper with author details”, and the anonymous version as “Main document minus author information”.
To submit your manuscript to the Special Issue choose “Special Issue Article” from the Manuscript Type list when you come to submit your paper. Also, when you come to the ‘Details and Comments’ page, answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘Is this manuscript a candidate for a special issue’ and select the Special Issue Title of Prefiguring Consumption in the text field provided.
Informal queries regarding guest editors’ expectations or the suitability of specific research topics should be directed to the Special Issue Editors:
The closing date for submissions is 1 March 2021.
Technical queries about submissions can be referred to the Editorial Office.
Denegri-Knott, J., Nixon, E. & Abraham, K. (2018). Politicising the study of sustainable living practices. Consumption Markets and Culture, 21(6), 554-573. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253866.2017.1414048.
Gibson-Graham, J. K. (2008). Diverse economies: performative practices for ‘other worlds’. Progress in Human Geography, 32(5), 613–632. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132508090821.
Hall, S. M. & Ince, A. (2017). Introduction: Sharing economies in times of crisis. In A. Ince & S.M. Hall (Eds.), Sharing Economies in Times of Crisis: Practices, Politics and Possibilities, pp. 1–15. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315660646.
Holloway, J. (2010). Crack capitalism. London: Pluto Press.
Maeckelbergh, M. (2016). The Prefigurative Turn: The Time and Place of Social Movement Practice. In A. C. Dinerstein, (Ed.) Social Sciences for an Other Politics Women Theorizing Without Parachutes, pp. 121–135. London: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Mattern, M. (2019). Anarchism and Art. In C. Levy & M. S. Adams (Eds.) The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism, pp. 589–602. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-75620-2_33.
Portwood-Stacer, L. (2012). Anti-consumption as tactical resistance: Anarchists, subculture, and activist strategy. Journal of Consumer Culture, 12(1), 87–105. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469540512442029.
van de Sande, M. (2015). Fighting with Tools: Prefiguration and Radical Politics in the Twenty-First Century. Rethinking Marxism, 27(2), 177–194. https://doi.org/10.1080/08935696.2015.1007791.
Schlosberg, D. (2019). From postmaterialism to sustainable materialism: the environmental politics of practice-based movements. Environmental Politics. https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2019.1587215.
Schor, J. B. & Fitzmaurice, C. J. (2015). Collaborating and Connecting: The emergence of the sharing economy. In Reisch, L. A. & Thogersen, J. (Eds.) Handbook on Research on Sustainable Consumption, pp. 410–425. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Press.
Sekulova, F., Anguelovski, I., Argüelles, L. & Conill, J. (2017). A “fertile soil” for sustainability-related community initiatives: A new analytical framework. Environment and Planning A, 49(10), 2362–2382. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X17722167.
Sharpe, E. K. (2008). Festivals and social change: Intersections of pleasure and politics at a community music festival. Leisure Sciences, 30(3), 217–234. https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400802017324.
Springer, S. (2014). Space, time, and the politics of immanence. Global Discourse, 4(2–3), 159–162. https://doi.org/10.1080/23269995.2014.900397.
Tucker, K. (2010). Workers of the World, Enjoy!: Aesthetic Politics from Revolutionary Syndicalism to the Global Justice Movement. Edited by J. C. Torpey. Philiadelphia: Temple University Press.
Yates, L. S. (2015). Everyday politics, social practices and movement networks: Daily life in Barcelona’s social centres. British Journal of Sociology, 66(2), 236–258. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12101.