CITIZEN-CONSUMERS: CONFUSIONS AND CHALLENGES
Laurie Taylor investigates how and why consumerism has taken such a strong hold on public life.
He hears from the leaders of a new project which aims to unravel the implications of consumerising citizenship. Doctors, teachers and lawyers now deal with patients and clients who have vastly increased access to information. As John Clarke, Professor of Social Policy at the Open University and Professor Angus Laing from its Marketing and Strategy Research Unit explain, one side-effect of this knowledge-egalitarianism has been a decrease in social deference, another is a developing confusion over identity. With neither side quite certain what it wants or expects of the other, the result can be frustration, disappointment and even antagonism.
Laurie Taylor also talks to Frank Trentmann, Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck College, University of London and the Director of a multi-disciplinary research programme on Cultures of Consumption, about the quest for the holy grail of consumer-politics, creating a nation of citizen-consumers with realistic expectations and a healthy sense of civic responsibility.
RIGHT- AND LEFT-WING
Also this week Jeremy Jennings, Professor of Political Theory at Birmingham University, advocates tolerance and an appreciation of ambiguity when grappling with the conflicted political meanings of ‘Left’ and ‘Right’.
Professor John Clarke
Clarke, J. (2001) Globalization and Welfare States: Some Unsettling Thoughts. In R. Sykes, B. Palier and P. Prior (eds) Globalization and European Welfare States: Challenges and Change. Basingstoke, Palgrave.
Professor Angus Laing
Thomson, L. and Laing, A.W. (2003) The net generation: children, the Internet and family purchasing, Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 19, no.4, pp. 491-512.
Dr Frank Trentmann
Paradoxes of Civil Society (Editor, Frank Trentmann Revised Second Edition) Bergham Books October 2003 ISBN 1-5781-143-5
Markets in Historical Contexts (Editors Mark Bevir and Frank Trentmann) – CambridgeUniversity Press Dec 2003
Critiques of Capital in Modern Britain and America: Transatlantic Exchanges, co-edited and introduced with Mark Bevir ( London : Palgrave, 2002)
Cultures of Consumption
Visit their website to find out about their public lecture series
Professor of Political Theory, BirminghamUniversity
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