The Social Pedagogy of Wall Street: Stock Trading as Political Activism?
In this paper, it is argued that the connectivity of the networked market permits market participants to perceive causal relationships between consumer behaviour and its effects on others. The thesis is put forward that the globally networked markets of the information age give birth to new cognitive structures that underlie consumers’ novel sense of responsibility, aid the re-orientation of consumers’ self-interest, and inculcate in consumers what historian Thomas Haskell calls humanitarian sensibility. Drawing from interviews with individual online investors, a model of the market is presented that posits the market as a source of social consciousness and moral decision-making. Furthermore, it is illustrated that individual online investors often incorporate such sensibilities into their consumer decision-making. Based on these results, the authors propose a corrective to the current trend among economists, social scientists and consumer researchers to conceive of the market as a threat to consumer autonomy, social and moral responsibility and an enlightened citizenry. Instead, it is asserted that the market has many faces, one of which, specifically the globally networked market, provides possibilities to recognize and perform consumption as a critical, moral and socially conscious political act. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007
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