In this article, we identify two models of consumer culture: the more familiar appeasement model where the “customer is king,” as well as a less established and recently emergent achievement model where the consumer’s efforts in consummating the act of consumption are lauded and celebrated. This raises the question of how the two models might be related to each other. Here we argue that the spread of neoliberal ideology, where the neoliberal subject is constituted as one who prides herself or himself on demonstrating entrepreneurial qualities, who thrives under competitive conditions, and who is comfortable displaying these qualities in the context of public scrutiny, has led to the cultivation of the enterprising consumer. We also show how the technologies of government employed in the cultural production of the enterprising consumer differ, and necessarily so, from those employed in the case of the enterprising producer.
The Cultural Production of Consumption as Achievement
Ann Brooks is professor of sociology at Bournemouth University. She is also an international investigator for the Australia Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, 2011–2017. Her research covers the sociology of emotions, cultural studies, theorization of affect and emotion, and public intellectuals.