In search of the citizen-consumer: fair trade activism in the Netherlands since the 1960s
Keywords:History, Low Countries, Netherlands, Belgium, fairtrade, citizen-consumer, 1960s
Postwar prosperity enabled citizens to express their views in new ways. The success of the movement for fair trade since the 1960s underlines the significance of the figure of the citizen-consumer in postwar history. The pioneering initiatives for fair trade in the Netherlands invoked the power of citizens as consumers. They should consume responsibly, but their wishes likewise had to be respected. The citizen-consumer was positioned in relation to producers, consumers, civic organizations, companies, local and national governments, and international institutions. An analysis of the shifts in this entangled construction points out the possibilities and the limitations of an approach directed at the citizen-consumer. Examining three crucial episodes in the history of fair trade, this article embeds the citizen-consumer within competing spatial frameworks, relates consumption to other social practices, and demonstrates the significance of intermediaries interpreting individual acts of consumption.
This article is part of the special issue on consumption history.
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