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Consumers in the Public Sphere – Conceptualising the Political Public in a Consumer Society

Convener: Dr Kerstin Brückweh

The aim of this international conference is to explore how the political public sphere can be conceptualized in a consumer society. Two main types of consumers have appeared in public and are therefore considered to be good starting points to periodize, compare, and conceptualize the political public: firstly, organized consumers, e.g. consumer movements where citizen consumer groups actively formed to speak for themselves. Secondly, unorganized consumers whose opinions were expressed via market research institutes. Surveying opinions and attitudes added a new technique of disciplinary power to the 20th century which was applied to both politics and consumption, and which seemed to have a significant influence on the perception of the public sphere from the Second World War onwards.

Conference programme (PDF file)