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What is 'political' about consumerism? Political consumerism in Switzerland

English title What is 'political' about consumerism? Political consumerism in Switzerland
Applicant Kübler Daniel
Number 169156
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Politikwissenschaft Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.02.2017 - 31.05.2020
Approved amount 193'414.00
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Keywords (3)

consumer behaviour; political participation; political consumerism

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Politischer Konsum ist die aktive und bewusste Wahl von Produkten und/oder Dienstleistungen auf der Grundlage ethischer Überzeugungen mit dem Ziel Politik, Gesellschaft und/oder Wirtschaft nachhaltig zu beeinflussen (z. B. der Konsum von fair gehandeltem Kaffee, um die Arbeits- und Lebensbedingungen der Kaffee-Produzenten zu verbessern).
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojekts

 

Ziel des Projektes ist es politischen Konsum als eine wichtige Form alternativer politischer Partizipation zu erheben, zu verstehen und zu erklären. Wie andere Formen von Partizipation wird politischer Konsum hierfür anhand einer Bevölkerungsumfrage erhoben. Bislang vorliegende Messungen politischen Konsums sind mangelhaft, weil vor allem politische Motive nur vage erfasst werden, sodass eine Einordnung des bewussten Konsums als politischen Konsum schwierig ist. Im Rahmen des Projektes soll daher ein geeigneter Fragebogen zur empirischen Erhebung des politischen Konsums zunächst entwickelt und anschliessend verwendet werden, um in einer repräsentativen Umfrage den politischen Konsum in der Schweiz erstmalig umfassend zu erheben.

 


 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

In der Schweiz wird regelmässig über die vermeintlich tiefe politische Partizipation der Bürgerinnen und Bürger diskutiert. Valide Zahlen zur Partizipation, welche auch alternative Formen politischer Partizipation wie politischen Konsum beinhalten, sind eine wichtige Informationsgrundlage für faktenbasierte Diskussionen. Das Projekt ist daher ein wichtiger Beitrag für die vollständige Erfassung des politischen Engagements in der Schweiz.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.01.2017

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Political Consumerism as a Form of Political Participation: Challenges and Potentials of Empirical Measurement
Gundelach Birte (2020), Political Consumerism as a Form of Political Participation: Challenges and Potentials of Empirical Measurement, in Social Indicators Research.
Political consumerism: A comparative analysis of established and developing democracies
Gundelach Birte (2020), Political consumerism: A comparative analysis of established and developing democracies, in International Political Science Review, 41(2), 159-173.
Der politische Konsum als Form politischer Partizipation - empirische Beobachtungen für die Schweiz
GundelachBirte, KalteDeborah (2019), Der politische Konsum als Form politischer Partizipation - empirische Beobachtungen für die Schweiz, in Glaser Andreas, Waldis Monika, Kübler Daniel (ed.), hier und jetzt , Baden, 106-140.
Der vegane Lebensstil in der Schweiz. Kurzbericht zur Umfrage über den veganen Lebensstil
KalteDeborah (2019), Der vegane Lebensstil in der Schweiz. Kurzbericht zur Umfrage über den veganen Lebensstil, Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau, Aarau.
Political veganism: An empirical analysis of vegan’s motives, aims and political engagement.”
KalteDeborah, Political veganism: An empirical analysis of vegan’s motives, aims and political engagement.”, in Pollitical Studies.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Richard Traunmüller Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Katrin Auspurg, Goethe University Frankfurt Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
2019 European Consortium for Political Research, General Conference Talk given at a conference How political is veganism? Exploring the Motives, Aims and Attitudes of People Living a Vegan Lifestyle 04.09.2019 Wroclaw, Poland Kalte Deborah;
Swiss Summer School in Democracy Studies” Talk given at a conference The Cube of Truth 24.06.2019 Lucerne, Switzerland Kalte Deborah; Ewert Christian;
2019 Swiss Political Science Association, Annual Conference & Three Countries Conference Talk given at a conference Political Motives of Conscious Consumption – Motivational Differences for Boycotts, Buycotts and Lifestyle Politics 14.02.2019 Zurich, Switzerland Gundelach Birte; Kalte Deborah;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Guerilla-Gärtnern und veganes Happening: Unkonventionelle Formen der politischen Beteiligung nehmen Medienmitteilung German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Wenn Shoppen zum politischen Akt wird Swissinfo German-speaking Switzerland 2018

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
195339 What is 'political' about consumerism? Political consumerism in Switzerland 01.10.2020 Doc.Mobility

Abstract

The aim of the research project is to assess, understand and explain an emerging form of alternative political participation in Switzerland, known as political consumerism. Political consumerism means the active consumer choice of producers, products and services based on ethical considerations. Acknowledging and benefiting from a huge and impressive interdisciplinary body of research on multiple aspects of political consumerism our project is aimed to refine and advance political consumerism research from an explicit perspective of political science. Some political scientists argue that political consumerism is a significant form of political participation as activists aim to bring about social and political change through purchasing behaviour. While traditional forms of political participation, such as voting, campaigning and party work or contacting representatives seem to be on the decline, sparse empirical data suggest that political consumerism is a steadily increasing form of activism in Switzerland and other Western industrialized countries. This observation is particularly relevant against the background of recent heated debates on declining political participation in established democracies. At least in the case of political consumerism - one of the most frequent forms of unconventional political participation - this observation however rests on cursory and most probably highly inflated empirical measurements that do not adequately capture the political intention of consumers. Besides superficial single-item questions included in few international surveys, there is to date no solid quantitative empirical data on political consumerism available neither for Switzerland nor for international comparative empirical analyses. Our aim to explore political consumerism as a new and important form of political participation in Switzerland requires three interrelated research steps: First, based on abundant interdisciplinary research on different forms of political consumerism, we plan to purposely develop an elaborated survey instrument that reconciles deficits of current quantitative measurement instruments for political consumerism. In particular, the survey must account for political motives in shopping behaviour, frequency and breadth of behaviour and must collect data on the whole repertoire of political consumerism. Second, we will use this new instrument to assess political consumerism in Switzerland. This survey will entail two different samples. On the one hand, a nationwide representative sample of respondents will be surveyed in order to gain a general representative image of political consumerism in Switzerland. On the other hand, a small, purposive sample of vegans will be surveyed as an example of a group in which political consumerism is probably extremely pronounced. The third and main step is to assess political consumerism in Switzerland, analyse its determining factors and compare results to other long-studied forms of political participation. The project is significant as it provides the first comprehensive assessment of political consumerism in Switzerland and thus significantly complements political participation figures for Switzerland in times when decreasing participation rates are consistently conceived as a serious challenge for established democracies. In addition the survey instrument developed in this project is expected to become a reference for future empirical research on political consumerism worldwide.
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