Document Type



This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Journal of Consumer Culture, Vol. 9 (1), pp.117-141. DOI: 10.1177/1469540508099702 Access published version here


The development of consumer subjectivity cannot be solely understood in terms of the intentions, strategies and discursive practices emanating from diverse power centres. Following Elias, and using Ireland as an empirical case, the consumer is presented as undergoing a shift along a continuum of We–I balances towards the latter pole. This occurs within the context of increasing social interdependencies, functional specialization and social integration. Through complex, unplanned social processes over time, the consumer is seen more individualistically. I conclude by suggesting that there are opportunities to synthesize figurational and Foucauldian approaches to consumer subjectivity once long-term social change is prioritized.