"The Authority of the Consumer" explores the growing tendency in contemporary British society to portray consumers as occupying the receiving end of a wide range of cultural and educational institutions. The aim of this collection is to explore the implications of this recent extension of the status of the consumer, charting out its meanings and debating the merits or drawbacks of this way of understanding the relationship between "providers" and "recipients."
This book focuses on the radical shift of authority away from the producer and toward the consumer. The responses to this power shift have, however, differed. Some welcome it as a sign of democratization, anti-elitism and empowerment, while others decry it as mere commercialization, populism or a loss of integrity. There are still others who view this definition as yet another consumer discourse which only serves to enhance the power of producers.
The contributors, working from several disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, explore such issues as the theories of Zygmunt Bauman, stereotypes in advertising and consumption as a postmodern "religion."
"The distinctive perspective of this collection is in linking the emphasis on consumerism in contemporary public discourse with our theorizations of power, or more precisely authority, in late-modern Britain...One of the great pleasures of this book is that the authors are clearly working seriously at the extent to which we have to re-think established prejudices.."