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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.
Dolan, P.: Developing Consumer Subjectivity in Ireland: 1900–80. Journal of Consumer Culture, 9(1): 117–41. 2009.