‘Ethical consumption’ conjures the following typical example in many readers’ minds: a consumer who buys fair trade coffee refuses to consume one kind of good and simultaneously chooses to support a substitute good that promotes fairer production methods. What if the same consumer refused to promote what she or he believed to be unfair production methods by withholding payment for, but continuing to consume, a good that had no substitute and was essential for survival? This paper examines the civic potential in patterns of civil disobedience in relation to access to water services, drawing on examples of such disobedience from fieldwork carried out in South Africa and New Zealand. The paper explores these activities with an eye to how they construct, perpetuate and breach norms of ‘proper’ behaviour for consumers or for citizens, linking this to an exploration of the role of consumption in projects of cosmopolitan democracy.
|Translated title of the contribution||Consuming without Paying: Stealing or Campaigning? The Civic Implications of Civil Disobedience around Access to Water|
|Title of host publication||Citizenship and Consumption|
|Editors||Kate Soper, Frank Trentmann|
|Pages||71 - 86|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|