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Sustainable community movement organisations


Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


In the current economic crisis, social movements are simultaneously facing two types of challenges: first, they are confronting institutions which are less able (or willing) to mediate new demands for social justice and equity emerging from various sectors of society, and second, given the highly individualised structure of contemporary society, they are also experiencing difficulties in building bonds of solidarity and cooperation among people, bonds which are a fundamental resource for collective action. It is in this context that protests waves, which may be very relevant, are in fact often short-lived, and it is in this context that we detect the rise and consolidation of new mutualistic and cooperative experiences within which (similarly to the past) new ties and frames for collective action are created. This article discusses and analyses social movement organisations which focus on both the intensification of economic problems and the difficulties of rebuilding social bonds and solidarity within society, emphasising solidarity and the use of ‘alternative’ forms of consumption as means to re-embed the economic system within social relations, starting from the local level. While discussing what is new and/or what has been renewed in new Sustainable Community Movement Organisations, the article will develop an analytical framework which will combine social movements and political consumerism theories by focusing on two basic dimensions: consumer culture and identity and organisational resources and repertoire of action.