How What We Buy, Where We Live and Who We Are Becomes Political

Is anything not political?

By Michael MarksDecember 13, 2016 12:55 pm

Right-wing media outlet Breitbart has asked its readers not to purchase Kellogg’s products after the food company stopped advertising with them. Hillary Clinton supporters now have an app to help them avoid purchasing the wrong shoes or appliances.

There’s nothing new about boycotts, but as a recent piece in the Washington Post described, everything is political. None of this is a big surprise to Austin-based Bill Bishop. He wrote the book on the politicization of things years ago: “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart“.

Bishop says how we express ourselves through what we wear, drive, read and buy have been political battlegrounds for some time.

“All of our old ways of identity – community, religions, family, work – have all been disrupted and hold less meaning,” he says. “And so we are using our self-expression. And one of the ways we express is to live in a certain place, and those actions then become our politics.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– What politician was the first to study voters’ purchasing habits

– What consumerism says about our politics

– Why does it matter if we can’t agree on purchased products?

– How where we live and what we buy shapes our identity