Citizenship and Consumption: Agency, Norms, Mediations, and Spaces



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Table 3: Number of times combinations involve or do not involve conceptualisation

Hyphenations

Variations of hyphenations

No. not conceptualised

Number conceptualised

Non-citizen




36

1

Senior-citizen




29

0

Police-citizen




28

0

Citizen-candidate




14

14

Citizen-consumer




8

6




Consumer-citizen

2

1




Consumer-citizenship

1

1




Citizen-as-consumer

1

1

Citizen-government




6

0




Government-citizen

3

0




Government-and-citizen

1

0




Government-to-citizen

1

0

Citizen-soldier




9

2




Soldier-citizen

1

0

Citizen-subject




6

4




Subject-citizens

1

1

Citizen-state




5

0




State-citizen

2

0

The foregoing analysis has demonstrated a number of points. The citizen is hyphenated in a small minority of the titles, abstracts and keywords of social scientific documents. The relative proportion of the total universe of citizenship documents contained on the Social Sciences Citation Index and by British Library indicate a certain levelling off of a trend only in the articles published after 1995. More interesting still is how the hyphen is deployed to combine citizen with other terms in general. The analysis of these uses demonstrates that the hyphen is frequently used to combine the citizen with another term to form a noun, but only half of the subjects suggested by this noun are distinguished using the qualities, roles or dispositions of a subject. In addition, the order of terms which are thereby combined does not appear significant with terms like citizen-soldier and soldier-citizen, or citizen-subject and subject-citizen attaining equal meanings. Nevertheless, there is some evidence that combined terms may be granted with a systematic meaning. In particular, the citizen-candidate makes use of a hyphenated citizen that refers to a model of action which is closely defined and related with a very specific situation, but does represent an example of a highly managed hyphenation of the citizen. Within all of this the combination of the citizen with consumer shares a number of characteristics. This combination was associated with distinguishing characteristics in nine of the twelve relevant articles, and different meanings appeared to be at issue in different combinations. Nevertheless, the meaning associated with this combination appears to be less managed than those associated with the citizen-candidate.


Highlighting the Hyphen
At this point, we can look more closely at the combination of the citizen with the consumer. To begin we may inquire as to the variations placed on this connection. As table 4 shows, eight combinations of these terms appear in the SSCI and British Library databases.
Table 4: Hyphenated and non-hyphenated combinations of citizen and consumer in the social scientific literature

Hyphenated

Articles

Books

Consumer-citizen(s)

2

1

Consumer-citizenship

1

1

Citizen-as-consumer

1

0

Citizen-consumer(s)

8

2

Not-hyphenated







Consumer citizen

3

0

Consumer citizenship

2

1

Citizen consumer

2

0

Citizen as consumer(s)

1

1

Total documents

20

5

Tables 4 shows up a number of points. Firstly, there is a relatively even split within the literature in using and omitting the hyphen to combine the citizen with the consumer. Secondly, there appears to be slightly greater emphasis placed on combining the citizen with consumer rather than the consumer with the citizen. Also, there is no overlap in the use of hyphenated and non-hyphenated terms in the titles, abstracts or keywords at least indicating hyphens are held separately. Combinations of the citizen with consumer appear twelve times in the titles, abstracts and keywords of articles and three times in the titles of books, while combinations of the consumer with citizen appear eight times in articles and again, three times in books. While it is impossible to generalise from such a small number of documents, there certainly appears to be an indifference in the literature to how these terms may be combined.


But the point remains that the citizen and the consumer are both key terms in the social sciences and the way these terms are combined must, surely, have significant conceptual implications. In order to tease out any such implications, we proceed to investigate sources of thinking on these combinations and to compare their associated arguments.
The analysis of references on the combinations of consumer and citizen in books and articles may provide an indication of the issues that are dealt in these various contexts. Thus, such an analysis may indicate whether different concerns or conceptual frameworks are at stake in the various combinations.
Table 5: Books and articles citing and cited in reference to various combinations of citizen and consumer

Hyphenated

Citator

Citation

Citizen-consumer(s)

Bollinger et al. (1998)

Birchall (1992)

Cronin (2000)

Cronin (2000)

Cronin (2000)

Independent Commission (2004)

Keum et al. (2004)

Lister (2001)

Loxley and Thomas (2001)

Trentmann (1998)

Wible (2004)


Bradford et al. (1969)

Webb (1891)

Bauman (1990, 1992)

Prime Minister (1991)

Taylor (1994)

Giddens (1993)

Scammell (2000)

DSS (1998: 16)

Clarke et al. (1994)

Hobson (1897, 1900, 1914)

Rose (1999)


Consumer-citizen(s)

Harris (1999)

Harris (1999)

Harris (1999)

Harris (1999)

Henry et al. (1997)

Independent Commission (2004)

Birchall (1992)

Symon and Walker (1995)



Pollitt (1990)

Bartlett and Le Grand (1993)

Prime Minister (1991)

Taylor (1989)

Yeatman (1990)

Giddens (1993)

Webb (1891)

Pollitt (1988)



Consumer-citizenship

Hilton (2003)

Hilton (2003)

Hilton (2003)

Hilton (2003)



Cross (2000)

Cohen (2001)

Jacobs (1997)

Jacobs (2001)



Not-hyphenated







Citizen consumer

Hill (2000)

Taylor and Woollard (2003)

Taylor and Woollard (2003)


Pickvance and Preteceille (eds) (1991)

Miller and Rose (1993)

Kenway and Bullen (2001)


Consumer citizen

Ball (1998)

Evans and Harris (2004)

Evans and Harris (2004)

Evans and Harris (2004)

Evans and Harris (2004)

Humphries (2003)

Richardson (2005)

Richardson (2005)

Richardson (2005)


Stronach (1993)

Plant (1991)

Bartlett and Le Grand (1993)

Prime Minister (1991)

Labour Party (1991)

Powell (2001)

Bell and Binne (2000)

Evans (1993)

Cooper (2004)


Consumer citizenship

Evans and Harris (2004)

Evans and Harris (2004)

Evans and Harris (2004)

Evans and Harris (2004)



Glennerster and Midgley (1991)

Johnson (1999)

Beihal, Fisher and Sainsbury (1992)

Harris (2003)



Key: Citation – document to which reference is made

Citator – writer making the reference
Table 5 shows up the absence of a consensus on the important source documents for combining the citizen with the consumer. Only a proportion of those discussing a combination of the terms citizen and consumer actually make a reference to another document. Also some authors extensively discuss subjects like the citizen-consumer but make no reference on this combination (for example, Spaargaren, 2003) This table is constructed using any document that we could identify in which the combined citizen and consumer is discussed. It shows that a small number of authors make reference to a variety of sources. However, of those referenced, only Giddens (1993), Bartlett and Le Grand (1993) and Prime Minister (1991) were referred to by more than one author. But these were all referred to in the context of different combinations of terms. In addition, whilst most make reference to documents published after 1988 which are concerned with either or both managerialist and political reforms, two authors refer to documents from before this period – Bradford et al. (1969), Hobson (1897, 1900, 1914), and Webb (1891) indicating that the citizen-consumer in particular has been of interest at other times.
A point of order
First we want to investigate the literature to identify the extent to which the hyphen is deliberately deployed. To do this we use a simple continuum outlined in figure 1 below:
Figure 1: Simple continuum between citizenly and consumerist characteristics




Citizen

Citizen-consumer

Consumer-citizen

Consumer

The continuum presented in figure 1 draws a simple distinction between the citizen-consumer and the consumer-citizen. On the left hand side we find the citizen. Broadly speaking this citizen can be seen as an individual who has rights (to vote, to act as a political representative, to own and control property and so on), responsibilities (to pay taxes, to monitor the activities of government or otherwise become involved in governing) and may be conceived of as both a status (to possess and maintain the rights of citizenship (see Oldfield, 1990: 2)) or as a practice (where the enactment of citizenship duties are socially supported (Oldfield, 1990: 5). At the other end of the continuum lies the consumer. The consumer can be seen broadly as one who is a rational actor seeking to realise their own selfish interests (Aldridge, 2003: 17, 18), as communicators “trying to convey to one another messages about their lifestyle and identity” (2003: 19), a victim of mis-selling (2003: 20), or a readily manipulable dupe (2003: 20). Our hypothesis here is that the citizen-consumer places greater weight on the citizen and draws its main concepts from this conceptual resources. Conversely, the consumer-citizen draws primarily from concepts of the consumer. Underlying this hypothesis is the argument that these combinations are deliberately formed and there are reasons for prioritising one concept over the other.


Table 6: Documents in which the combination of consumer and citizen lays emphasis on concept one over the other

Emphasising the citizen

Emphasising the consumer

Citizen-consumer

Consumer-citizen

Citizen-consumer

Consumer-citizen

  1. Goldblatt (2005)

  2. Sassatelli and Scott (2001)

  3. Scammell (2000)

  4. White (1999)

  5. Wible (2004)

  1. Harris (1999)

  1. Hisschemoller and Midden (1999)

  2. Lister (2001)

  3. Needham (2003)

  1. Sassatelli and Scott (2001)

  2. Spring (2003)

Table 6 summarises just those documents in which either combination were used with an emphasis on the citizen or the consumer. Clearly this is a short list, which points to how these terms are used in a far less systematic manner in many other documents. Table 6 lists five documents that emphasise the citizen and three that emphasise the consumer in the formulation citizen-consumer. Just one document is listed where citizen is emphasised and two where consumer is emphasised in consumer-citizen. Even fewer of these actually present a case for emphasising either concept in this couplet and only Needham (2003) presents an argued account. Thus, for instance, Harris (1999) discusses the consumer-citizen in relation to John Major’s Citizen’s Charter where he introduces this concept as providing some kind of equivalence to the active citizen for the New Right, and quotes this Charter promising that the citizen will be able to put more pressure on government (1999: 923). It is only in these weak senses that Harris (1999) makes the uses the consumer-citizen to emphasise the citizen. Hence, we can assert that there is no consensus regarding the ordering or meaning that may be attached to this conceptual couplet, and that little regard is paid to the relations the hyphen draws between the citizen and the consumer.


Conclusions
In this paper we have examined the use of a term that, some would say, closely approximates a new or emergent kind of citizen or consumer. We have looked at the combined and hyphenated citizen and consumer in terms of its membership of a class of hyphenated citizens, finding that a small but changing proportion of citizenship books or articles use a hyphen in titles, abstracts or keywords. A closer examination of the use of the hyphen situates the combined citizen consumer as one that is conceptualised (associated with certain characteristics, dispositions and so on) in most of the situations where it is used, but the meanings associated with this term are not as managed as those associated with other uses of the hyphen. However, there is neither a consensus on the documents that are important to cite in relation to the hyphenated citizen consumer, nor is there any evidence of a deliberate deployment of either term to emphasise one concept over the other. All in all, for a term that appears to be of recent importance, the citizen-consumer and the consumer-citizen are particularly poorly conceptualised within the academic literature.
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