A History of Market Research, Consumer Movements, and the Political Public Sphere
Citizen consumers have two significant voices in the political public sphere: one constructed by organized consumer movements, the other by opinion polls and market research. While the first can be powerful, surveyed citizen consumers remain a diffuse, powerless bulk. With comprehensive computer usage and other technical advances, the applications of survey techniques and the number of competing interests have risen. Some fear that the privacy of personal data is
threatened, while others become heavily dependent on huge amounts of data to satisfy their clients. Political and economic marketing and surveying need to gather information about citizen consumers
while also obeying data protection regulations. Thus knowledge, power, and agency are important in connecting consumption, consumers, citizens, market researchers, and the political. In examining these aspects, the volume brings together the history of the consumer and the history of politics in modern Europe.