A clear understanding of consumer empowerment is central to enriching research regarding the business-society interface and, more tangibly, the advancement of public policy. We aim to provide a clear and comprehensive understanding of the complex concept of consumer empowerment. To do so, we use historical analysis to critically examine and deconstruct the current, dominant conceptualization that equates consumer empowerment with choice. Subsequently, drawing on the paradigm of critical theory, we develop an alternate definition of the concept that more fully recognizes the citizenship role enacted by individuals in their daily lives. We conclude by discussing on how this renewed understanding can be implemented in both future research and public policy.

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Keywords Choice as power, Citizen as consumer, Citizenship roles, Consumer empowerment, Consumer roles, Critical theory, Defining consumer empowerment, Historical analysis
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijcs.12186
Journal International Journal of Consumer Studies
McShane, L, & Sabadoz, C. (Cameron). (2015). Rethinking the concept of consumer empowerment: Recognizing consumers as citizens. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 39(5), 544–551. doi:10.1111/ijcs.12186