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Social Opulence and Private RestraintThe Consumer in British Socialist Thought Since 1800$
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Noel Thompson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199646012

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646012.001.0001

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Social Democracy and the Apotheosis of the Consumer

Social Democracy and the Apotheosis of the Consumer

(p.137) 5 Social Democracy and the Apotheosis of the Consumer
Social Opulence and Private Restraint

Noel Thompson

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the political economy of those late-twentieth-century socialist writers who took a positive view of the consumer and consumption. In particular it focuses on the work of the post-Fordist socialists and the New Labour Left and considers their views on consumption as a positive expression and construction of identity, on the public service user as consumer and on the emergence of the liberated and discriminating consumer: the latter seen as impacting on the production process and the nature of labour in ways that were regarded as socially progressive. The chapter also discusses the prescriptive implications of New Labour’s embrace of the consumer and, specifically, the concept of the citizen consumer.

Keywords:   consumer, citizen, consumption, New Labour, post-Fordism, socialism marketization, public service

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