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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

Coping Citizenism: When the Literate Citizen Rescue the Irresponsible Consumer

Published: May 28, 2019


David MARTIN, Novancia Business School Paris


Citizenism; Literacy; Coping


Prior research describes the citizen-consumer in the area of personal finance as a responsible, financially literate consumer (Geisler & Veiresu 2014) able to resist potential predatory lending and to meet their liabilities. We conceptualize the "citizenist consumer" as an alternative form of consumer citizenship embraced by some bankrupt, deemed financially illiterate consumers. The citizenist consumers strategically involve in intensive activism in order to face their personal financial hardships and challenge prevailing market rules that they would denounce as unfair and violating human rights. We examine the context of Spanish post-financial crisis (2011-2016) where citizen movements of "victims of mortgage" were able to influence favorably thousands of foreclosures, to set political agenda, to impose a citizen-initiated legislative process, and even to obtain that the Appeal EU Court ruled in their favor against unfairness of Spanish regulation. This perspective allows us to propose a novel form of consumer citizenship relevant for vulnerable consumers needing to cope with their former inefficient identity and agency in the framework of incumbent market practices and regulation. This citizenist approach reflects some emerging forms of civic participation in a post-modern context, described in political science literature, but overlooked by consumer research on citizen-consumer so far.