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Young People, Consumer Citizenship and Protest: The Problem with Romanticizing the Relationship to Social Change

Miles, S (2015) Young People, Consumer Citizenship and Protest: The Problem with Romanticizing the Relationship to Social Change. Young, 23. ISSN 1103-3088

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Abstract

This article critically interrogates the assumption that young people operate at the ‘cutting edge’ of social change. Arguing that the ideological impact of consumption on young people’s everyday lives is such that young people are almost obliged to reinforce the status quo rather than to undermine it, the article considers the impact of young people’s status as consumer citizens. Using the London riots of 2011 riots as a means of briefly reflecting upon the degree to which young people are in opposition to the consumer society, the argument is made that youth researchers have tended to romanticize young people’s relationship to social change and that this is the result of their own sense of political disillusionment in what is essentially a consumer society.

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