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Countervailing Market Responses to Corporate Co-optation and the Ideological Recruitment of Consumption Communities

  • Agricultural Science
  • Political Science


From a conventional theoretical standpoint, the corporatization of the organic food movement is an example of co-optation. Co-optation theory conceptualizes the commercial marketplace as an ideological force that assimilates the symbols and practices of a counterculture into dominant norms. Our alternative argument is that co-optation can generate a countervailing market response that actively promotes the oppositional aspects of a counterculture attenuated by the process of commercial mainstreaming. To develop this theoretical argument, we analyze community-supported agriculture, which has emerged in response to the corporate co-optation of the organic food movement. We conclude by discussing how tacit political ideologies structure consumption communities. (c) 2007 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..

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