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Ethical and Political Consumption


Wed 26. 8.  11:00 - 12:30
room FA 446

Does political orientation associate with consumer attitudes? Examining Finnish consumers, 1999–2014


Koivula, Aki; Räsänen, Pekka; Saarinen, Arttu
University of Turku, Finland

According to Max Weber, an individual’s position in the social strata results from three equally important factors. These factors can be conceptualized in terms of class, status, and political party. For Weber, party membership was an expression of power, which did not necessarily associate with class or status. At the same time, however, the explanatory mechanism of party was considered very similar to that of class and status. Party, class, and status groups consist of people that, in terms of specific interests, have the same preference. In more recent discussions in the sociology of consumption, the original distinctions between class, status and party have largely been rejected. It has also been suggested that party membership, or political orientation, has very little to do with consumption. In this paper we argue that political orientation continues to be highly effective factors when analyzing individuals’ consumer attitudes. Our data are derived from comparable surveys, collected in Finland in 1999 (n=2,492), 2004 (n=3,448), 2009 (n=1,202), and 2014 (n=1,351). All samples consist of respondents aged 18 to 74 years, thus providing an extensive look at the phenomenon. The analysis focuses on temporal and socio-demographic differences in attitudes towards media and daily consumer practices. In addition to political orientation, our independent variables include age, gender, education, residence, and income.