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Reading: Market(ing) Activism: Lush Cosmetics, Ethical Oil, and the Self-Mediation of Protest

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Market(ing) Activism: Lush Cosmetics, Ethical Oil, and the Self-Mediation of Protest

Author:

Melissa Aronczyk

Rutgers University, US
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Abstract

In recent years, movements seeking social and environmental reform have turned from addressing the state to addressing the market, using campaigns designed to ‘name and shame’ corporate actors into adopting environmentally and socially responsible practices. In response, corporations have learned to turn their prosocial behaviours to their advantage, using corporate social responsibility as an opportunity to build their brands. One particularly noteworthy tactic in the latest wave of CSR is the adoption of activism, resistance and protest by corporate actors themselves. The deployment of social action as a marketable commodity forces us to reconsider what ought properly to be called contentious politics and what claims we ought to be able to make in its name. This article inquires into the co-optation of the concepts of activism and protest by commercial firms, with a particular emphasis on the self-mediated image activism of two corporate actors: the Lush Cosmetics company and the Ethical Oil lobby group. The primary argument is that the marketing of protest by corporate actors, regardless of the intention behind these practices, has the potential to weaken the role of protest and activism in attempting to bring about social change.
How to Cite: Aronczyk, M., (2013). Market(ing) Activism: Lush Cosmetics, Ethical Oil, and the Self-Mediation of Protest. JOMEC Journal. (4), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2013.10256
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Published on 04 Nov 2013.
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