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Kings and commoners: Agroecology meets consumer culture

Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


The global agrifood system is examined in various scholarly literatures, including consumption studies, which are not well integrated. This paper presents data on producer–consumer relations from a small agroecology (vegetable box) scheme in England in order to ground an analysis of ‘ethical consumption’ within this wider agrifood context. It draws on the work of Daniel Miller in particular in order to theorise consumer motivations among box scheme customers, while critiquing the implicit ‘eco-pragmatism’ of Miller and of other consumption sociologies. Employing a range of perspectives – including McKim Marriott’s transactional analysis and the agrarian populist impetus in the food sovereignty movement – the paper articulates a revised green critique of contemporary consumerism which, it is argued, can illuminate some of the theoretical presuppositions of consumption theory and inform emerging efforts to establish agroecology and sustainable food production.