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OAFP 5200 - Consumerism and Politics

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Context: Consumerist activism stands for the withdrawal of traditional forms of political participation and the increasing political empowerment of consumer habits. Approach: New concepts grounded in pluridisciplinary research as well as contemporary case studies will help us understanding why people are leaving the traditional political realm to find new ways of expressing themselves in a politically relevant manner. Or in other words: how do consumerist practices – i.e. the consumer-centric branding paradigm – affect the means of party identification and citizen participation. Purpose: Preparing future civic leaders in grasping the societal significance of political brands and current changes in voters' behaviour behind the emergence of pure play political movements throughout the European Union (such as the Pirate Party in Sweden, the Movimento Cinque Stelle in Italy, Ciudadanos and Podemos in Spain, etc.).


BAYGERT, Nicolas (Directeur du Laboratoire Protagoras, IHECS)

Pedagogical format

Each session will address the theoretical and strategic aspects related to the theme of the day. Recent illustrations will thereby be privileged. The course will begin with a critical discussion on selected readings (scientific articles, semi-academic papers, interviews, book chapters). Case study presentations will normally take place at the beginning of each session. These oral presentations ought to encourage systematic feedback and lead to a short discussion with all course participants. The active participation of students is therefore absolutely essential. An interactive calendar (management shared with course delegates) will be made available to students to plan their interventions as effectively as possible.

Course validation

Three types of work: Critical reading (30%): Individually or in groups, students shall propose an oral synthesis of selected readings (scientific articles, semi-academic papers, interviews, book chapters) in line with each session. The virtual reading list will be continuously completed and communicated to students (online). Individual presentation (30%): Each student will present a particular case study (illustration of a deepened concept addressed by a recent example in politics or in public affairs). The teacher shall validate each chosen topic beforehand. The presentations will take place at the beginning of each session. Essay (40%): This written assignment (+/- 2500 words), to be submitted by Thursday, December 3, 2018, presents a discussion based on the individual case study presented in class by the student and will therefore take into account any remarks or suggestions made during the oral presentation.


In order to prepare each session, students will consult the (potentially evolving) reading list provided by the teacher. It is imperative to assimilate the readings corresponding to the session of the day before the beginning of the course.

Required reading

Baygert, Nicolas, « Traditional democratic leadership facing the online swarm », Comunicazione politica (3/2016, pp. 355-372).

Additional required reading

  • Scammell, Margaret, Consumer Democracy, The Marketing of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  • Cohen, Lizabeth. A Consumers' Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America. New York: Knopf, 2003.
  • Mukherjee, Roopali & Banet-Weiser, Sarah, Commodity Activism: Cultural Resistance in Neoliberal Times, New York: New York University Press, 2012.
  • Bennett, W. Lance, Branded Political Communication: Lifestyle Politics, Logo Campaigns, and the Rise of Global Citizenship, in Michele Micheletti, Andreas Follesdal, and Dietlind Stolle (eds.), The Politics Behind Products, New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 2008, pp. 101-126.
  • Kozinets, Robert V & Handelman, Jay M, Adversaries of Consumption: Consumer Movements, Activism, and Ideology, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 31, Issue 3, 2004, pp. 691–704,