Voluntary simplifiers as political consumers: Individuals practicing politics through reduced consumption

Einat Zamwel, Orna Sasson-Levy, Guy Ben-Porat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


This article seeks to contribute to the discourse on the politicization of voluntary simplifiers' consumption patterns. Some scholars argue that voluntary simplifiers' consumption practices are individualistic and escapist in nature, and therefore cannot be defined as political, and that they are likely to become such only if they organize for collective action. Conversely, we argue that voluntary simplifiers' lifestyle is an individual political choice that should be analyzed using theories of political consumption. This article, based on interviews with voluntary simplifiers in Israel, identifies four characteristics of voluntary simplifiers that attest to their political nature: (1) multidimensional political discourse, (2) embracement of a holistic and uncompromising lifestyle of simplicity, (3) lifestyle changes as ongoing political process, and (4) the desire to exert influence. We therefore argue that voluntary simplifiers are not only political, but they represent a clear-cut instance of noninstitutionalized political activity realized through individual practices in the private realm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-217
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Personalized politics
  • Political consumption
  • Subpolitics
  • Voluntary simplicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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