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Social Movement Studies

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Consumption is not often addressed in the literature on social movements even though consumer organizations and consumer tactics have been successful in achieving social change. This paper offers an analytical framework for studying the politics of consumption, which suggests that consumers can be conceived of collectively as active agents rather than passive individuals. I capture this active agency through four concepts: mobilization, problematization, identification, and contention. I focus on one consumer organization, the National Consumers' League, and its three consumer tactics, white lists, white labels, and legislation, in order to demonstrate how the analytical framework I construct can be applied.