Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Ciccantell

Second Advisor

Dr. Thomas VanValey

Third Advisor

Dr. Vyacheslav Karpov

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

As consumption of goods has risen, it has increasingly become a space for political activists to brand products and for the everyday consumer to voice their opinion on how businesses should be run. Through the practices of buycotting and boycotting political consumers have increasingly been able to show their support for issues as diverse as gay rights, environmental issues, funding for disease cures, and American based products.

This study attempts to gain an understanding of how prevalent political consumption is and of who are political consumers. The findings show that a large percentage of the population is knowledgeable and active in some form of political consumption. OLS analysis shows statistically significant relationship between political consumption and gender, post-materialism, and aspects of social capital. I recommend we pay closer attention to the many different products labeled with political messages, paying particular attention to the diverse nature of the political ideologies that underpin political consumption. As political consumption presents itself as a market based form of political participation, I recommend that we pay close attention to the historical and structural institutions that allowed political consumption to burst onto the scene in the last three decades.

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