Consumer Movements, History of

Inger L. Stole

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Over the span of the twentieth century, there were four major consumer movements in the United States. Each of these organized efforts arose in response to economic, social, and political changes that affected citizens in their role as consumers, and each involved a range of strategies to alter asymmetries between producer and consumer and to pass legislative reforms for this purpose. The first such movement, which emerged in the early 1900s, during the Progressive era, called for changes to deplorable industry work and production practices through consumer protection laws. The second, which occurred in the 1930s, was a response to the proliferation of advertising after World War I, and was led by consumer advocates demanding informative advertising and quality standards for goods. The third movement arose in the 1960s and continued into the following decade, calling for regulatory reforms and stricter government oversight of corporate conduct. Consumers rallied yet again in the twentieth century, echoing a century of unresolved demands, but this time in a global context.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies
EditorsDaniel Thomas Cook, J Michael Ryan
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)9781118989463
ISBN (Print)9780470672846
StatePublished - Jan 15 2015


  • consumerism
  • consumption
  • social movements and social change


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