9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN30 Youth and Generation

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Political Values and Interest Building II, Auditório B2.03

The "degree of political" in youth political consumerism in 4 European countries

The "degree of political" in youth political consumerism in 4 European countries

Research goal
The article looks into socio-political activism of young people in Europe with an aim to estimate the degree to which their political consumerist activity carries political character.

Theoretical background and research question
Political consumerism refers to peoples' deliberate decisions to buy or refrain from buying consumer goods and/or services (boycott and buycott). It is aimed at changing institutional or marketing practices through altering peoples' consumer attitudes and purchase behavior.
For young people, political consumerism constitutes a route to social and political emancipation. Through value preferences and political attitudes, political consumerism is closely linked to issues of war and peace, environmental care, social justice and solidarity with working people in remote corners of the World. It is attractive to young people as it provides an arena where youth can express their values and preferences.
The main research question of the presentation is "To what degree are political consumerist activities indeed socio-politically motivated?"

Analysis is based on opinion survey data collected in December 2004 in 4 countries: Finland, France, Germany, UK. In each country, weighted sample size was 1 000 individuals. Samples were representative of national populations of youth aged 15-25 years.

All correlations between political consumerism and other socio-political activism were positive and statistically significant. The finding holds for both boycotting and buycotting involvement separately.
One observes differences across types of activities with civic activism being most strongly related to political consumerism.
Amongst countries, Finland stands out of the countries as it displayed the highest values of correlation coefficient and the UK the lowest with Germany and France between them. The finding allows interpretation that young Finns' acts of political consumerism are most motivated by political and social concerns. In the UK, political consumerist activities were carried out by people who were politically inactive otherwise.

The hypothesis that political consumerist activities tend to be politically motivated was confirmed. There were two dimensions which caused variation: across countries and across modes of participation.