Market Behavior in the Welfare State: The Impact of the Consumerist Citizen

Niels Nørgaard Kristensen, bjarke christensen

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The “consumerist citizen” is a type of citizen who develops his or her public and political commitments on the basis of market-like principles. For this citizen the important thing is the possibility to make individual choices in public contexts. In this article the implications of the consumerist citizen will be studied. It will be investigated to what extent this phenomenon brings the current universal welfare state under pressure. First, we discuss the concepts of citizenship and consumerism. Next, we look at present changes in the nature of citizenship. We then introduce the notion of the consumerist citizen, and finally we suggest its implications for the welfare state. The dissemination of consumerist identity represents a serious change in the relationship between citizens and the welfare state. The rise of a public acting on the basis of market-logic is a serious change taking place in relation to citizenship. Regardless of whether this development is perceived as positive or negative, it will inevitably influence the ways in which the public sector is perceived. The rise of the consumerist citizen can be seen as a factor erosive of the basic solidary principles of the welfare state. If decisions come to be taken increasingly out of individual considerations, the traditional model of the welfare state with equal rights and equal access to all may be undermined. This factor will be greater in welfare states characterized by universal principles. On the other hand, this development could be seen as an empowerment of citizens who, through having greater choice, achieve greater freedom in relation to the public sector.
Translated title of the contributionMarkedsadfærd i velfærdsstaten: Den forbrugeristiske medborgers gennemslag
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2019
SeriesScandinavian Political Studies

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