Alternatieve consumptie als vorm van politieke participatie? : Een onderzoek naar de politieke motivatie voor het lidmaatschap van Voedselteams in Vlaanderen

Res Publica 46 (1):33-55 (2004)
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Despite the fact that various authors have expressed concern about a general decline of civic engagement in Western societies, other indicators portray a transition from traditional and formal participation formats to more informal participation forms. This replacement thesis, however, entails the question whether these new forms can still be regarded as a form of political participation. The Alternative Food Circles in Belgium can be considered as a typical grass-roots example of 'political consumerism', which is portrayed as a contemporary alternative for institutionalised politics. In a member survey, 163 members of the Circles were questioned about their motives to participate. They clearly paid little attention to influencing the political system, but notions of solidarity and social change were clearl y present. This form of political consumerism therefore cannot be considered a full form of political participation, but it clearly is a form of 'life style politics'.



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