The Social Pedagogy of Wall Street: Stock Trading as Political Activism?

Journal of Consumer Policy, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 177-199, 2007

35 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2006 Last revised: 17 Oct 2010

See all articles by Detlev Zwick

Detlev Zwick

York University - Schulich School of Business

Janice Denegri-Knott

Bournemouth Media School

Jonathan E. Schroeder

Rochester Institute of Technology

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

In this paper we argue that the connectivity of the networked market permits market participants to perceive causal relationships between consumer behaviour and its effects on others. We theorize that the globally networked markets of the information age give birth to new cognitive structures that underlie consumers' novel sense of responsibility, aid the re-orientation of consumers' self-interest, and inculcate in consumers what historian Thomas Haskell (1985) calls humanitarian sensibility. Drawing from interviews with individual online investors, we present a model of the market that posits the market as a source of social consciousness and moral decision-making. Furthermore, we illustrate that individual online investors often incorporate such sensibilities into their consumer decision making. Based on our results, we propose a corrective to the current trend among economists, social scientists, and consumer researchers to conceive of the market as a threat to consumer autonomy, social and moral responsibility, and an enlightened citizenry. Instead, we believe that the market has many faces, one of which, specifically the globally networked market, provides the condition of possibilities to recognize and perform consumption as a critical, moral, and socially conscious political act.

Keywords: virtual networks, network society, consumer empowerment, consumer resistance, qualitative consumer research, personal investing

JEL Classification: D12,M30,Z10

Suggested Citation

Zwick, Detlev and Denegri-Knott, Janice and Schroeder, Jonathan E., The Social Pedagogy of Wall Street: Stock Trading as Political Activism? (2007). Journal of Consumer Policy, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 177-199, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=914513

Detlev Zwick

York University - Schulich School of Business ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada
416-736-2100 ext. 77199 (Phone)
416-736-5687 (Fax)

Janice Denegri-Knott

Bournemouth Media School ( email )

Fern Barrow
Poole BH12 5BB, Dorset BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

Jonathan E. Schroeder (Contact Author)

Rochester Institute of Technology ( email )

92 Lomb Memorial Drive
Eastman Building, Room 3006
Rochester, NY 14623
United States
5854752703 (Phone)

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