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Title: The processes and politics of consumer market institutionalisation in East Asia : a neo-Polanyian perspective
Author: Wahn, I-Liang
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 9824
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2014
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This research asks: how are consumer markets institutionalized in East Asia and how is "the consumer" a contested social being in that process of institutionalization? Applying a Neo-Polanyian perspective, it conceives the consumer as institutionalized within in the economic market process, as well as in the political and social spheres. Emergent consumer societies in East Asia are ideal for exploring the different politics and processes of institutionalization. Thus the research compares and contrasts the emergence of {the consumer' in a stable democracy, Japan; an authoritarian state, China; and a democratized state, Taiwan. A wide range of secondary data from archives, publications, websites and newspapers have been collected in order to analyze consumer policies and consumer movements. The thesis develops three concepts to reveal the varieties of consumer politics. First, it develops the concept of consumer regime to capture the role of the state in consumer market. It notes that consumer regimes were confronting similar evolutions of consumer challenges but in sharply contrasting political contexts. Secondly, the thesis examines the formation of the consumer public. This concept captures the identity and social organization of consumers in differently developed civil societies. And thirdly, the thesis explores the development of the consumer public sphere. It analyzes the contrasting political economy of the mass media and new opportunities brought by social media in the three cases. By using this multi-dimensional analytical framework, the thesis explores the link between varieties of capitalism and varieties of consumerism. It highlights the developmental dynamics by analyzing the emergence of consumer regimes, rather than mature and established consumer societies. The thesis also compares and distinguishes the limitations of consumer identities, weaknesses of consumer social organizing activities and different restrictions of public debate. Hence it is' argued that East Asian varieties of capitalism are distinctive in how they institutionalize the consumer and consumer. markets rather than broader consumer societies, in which . consumers are empowered politically and socially as well as economically.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available