Futureless Vicissitudes : Gestural Anti-consumption and the Reflexively Impotent (Anti-)Consumer

Hoang Ngoc, Quynh and Cronin, James and Skandalis, Alexandros (2023) Futureless Vicissitudes : Gestural Anti-consumption and the Reflexively Impotent (Anti-)Consumer. Marketing Theory, 23 (4). 585 - 606. ISSN 1470-5931

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In this paper, we challenge the prevalent idea that anti-consumption functions as an ideological act of antagonism. We enlist the work of the late cultural theorist Mark Fisher to account for the reflexively impotent (anti-)consumer, a politically hollowed-out and knowingly helpless subject endemic to the futureless vicissitudes of semiocapitalist consumer culture. Drawing on netnographic data and interviews with “digital detoxers”, we explore how gestural – rather than transformational – anti-consumption emerges through individuals’ reflexive awareness of their political inertia, the lack of collective spirit to bring about improved conditions, and their perpetual attachment to market-based comforts and conveniences. Our analyses reveal three features that underpin the reflexively impotent (anti-)consumer’s resigned acceptance of the reigning political-ideological status quo: magical voluntarism, pragmatism, and self-indulgence. In the absence of any unifying and politically-centred solidarity projects, mere gestures of resistance are undertaken towards managing personal dissatisfactions with – instead of collectively transforming – their structural conditions.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Marketing Theory
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? anti-consumptionfisherterminal marketingdigital detoxfuturelessnessreflexive impotencesemiocapitalismtechnologymarketing ??
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Deposited On:
04 Nov 2022 15:35
Last Modified:
04 Feb 2024 00:54