consumer behaviour; political participation; political consumerism
Gundelach Birte (2020), Political Consumerism as a Form of Political Participation: Challenges and Potentials of Empirical Measurement, in Social Indicators Research
Gundelach Birte (2020), Political consumerism: A comparative analysis of established and developing democracies, in International Political Science Review
, 41(2), 159-173.
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.
KalteDeborah (2019), Der vegane Lebensstil in der Schweiz. Kurzbericht zur Umfrage über den veganen Lebensstil
, Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau, Aarau.
KalteDeborah, Political veganism: An empirical analysis of vegan’s motives, aims and political engagement.”, in Pollitical Studies
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.