Economic nationalism and the cultural politics of consumption under austerity: the rise of ethnocentric consumption in Greece

Lekakis, Eleftheria J (2015) Economic nationalism and the cultural politics of consumption under austerity: the rise of ethnocentric consumption in Greece. Journal of Consumer Culture, 17 (2). pp. 286-302. ISSN 1469-5405

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By nuancing the politics of consumption in the context of austerity, this article highlights the rise of economic nationalism and the reconfiguration of consumer cultures at the aftermath of the global financial crisis. As it argues, in the context of Greece, three types of consumer culture have manifested; these are evoking consumption as resilience, resistance or reinforcement. This work focuses on the latter through the phenomenon of ethnocentric consumption, which is part and parcel of economic nationalism. Economic nationalism can be explored through promotion of ethnocentric consumption and is demonstrable both in the inception and constitution of nation states, but also in times of crisis. This article critically appraises ethnocentric consumption as consumption based on ethnocentric criteria (natural resources, ownership, production, manufacturing, distribution and labour force). In the context of the crisis in Greece, economic nationalism has become manifest as a solution to the national economy. The specific case chosen is a citizens’ movement and its campaign for the promotion of ethnocentric consumption. A close examination of the campaign (We Consume What We Produce) reveals the historical alignment of the state’s and citizens’ economic interests, the reverberation of state narrative from the 1980s and exclusionary nationalism which is also used by fascists. Campaigns for ethnocentric consumption limit the creativity of consumer politics. First, this phenomena appears to be an alternative vehicle for political parties. Second, it is tied around a normative narrative of economic recovery, which is particularly mythological. Third, its overall target is to maximise competitiveness on a global scale, and finally, it demonstrates a densely dangerous relationship with economic nationalism. Yet, it is important to situate this phenomenon within the context of consumer cultures under austerity, especially as more creative modalities of social economy initiatives by grassroots groups have been re-socialising the market.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM0621 Culture
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC311 Nationalism. Nation state
Depositing User: Eleftheria Lekakis
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2015 06:00
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2017 12:12

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