The choosing consumer has been a prominent figure within consumption research, alternatively celebrated as enabling the expression of lifestyles and tastes or criticised for overlooking consumers as embedded in interconnected mundane practices. While sociologically oriented consumption research has explored the multiplicity of consumer roles beyond ‘chooser’, the figure of the choosing consumer persists in many research streams and in our shared cultural imagination. This article joins previous research on the ethics of consumption that has explored tensions between choosing and relational consumers. It does so by introducing the logic of choice and the logic of care to consumption research. Developed by Annemarie , these logics can be seen as ideal types representing contrasting styles of navigating decision-making, ethics, and questions of the good life. The logic of care emphasises attentive doings that aim to improve conditions in specific situations, seeking moderation rather than control, whereas the logic of choice starts out from sovereign individuals making clear-cut decisions. Using examples from a research project on everyday meat consumption practices, we develop a conceptualisation of the central dimensions of these logics within food consumption. The logics of choice and care enact particular worlds and ways of being in them, bringing forth the ontological politics of consumption. Consequently, we advocate for cultivating care in the world of consumption currently dominated by choice, since it enacts a more merciful framing of ethical consumption, emphasising our shared responsibility for ‘as well as possible’ relations without tipping over into guilt.
The narratives of women activists highlight the important roles of critical awakening, a sense of responsibility, guilt and moral conscience, reciprocity and caring for others, as well as an altruistic vision for others, all as driving forces for their activism. These findings highlight two major interrelated characteristics: relational and future-oriented dimensions. Founded on these, I present a new theoretical concept that I call ‘Altruistic Political Imagination’, which seeks to describe North Korean women’s human rights activism more aptly than existing concepts around imagination and altruism. This framework is an ongoing development built on my previous work on North Korean human rights activism.
This final chapter provides a recapitulated overview of the book, drawing on all the chapters. It re-emphasizes the significance of activism in improving the lives of North Korean women. It also reinforces the salient contribution of Altruistic Political Imagination in unpacking human rights activism, in conjunction with its potentially wider application to the analyses of other movements and activism. Additionally, it examines what has been achieved so far through the activism of North Korean women abroad, as well as other international endeavours to improve the situations of North Korean women. This chapter further discusses some limitations of the study and makes recommendations for future research.
This chapter examines North Korean women’s individual experiences of grave human rights violations, both inside the regime and after they have escaped to China. The first part focuses on women’s narratives of human rights issues in North Korea, such as domestic violence and sexual harassment. The second part explores women defectors’ experiences during their escape, primarily focusing on human trafficking and forced/voluntary marriages to Chinese men. It also presents the harrowing experiences women endured during and after repatriation to North Korean detention centres. The main argument of this chapter is that North Korean women experience a continuous cycle of oppression throughout their lives, both inside and outside North Korea, owing to the intersection of the deep-seated patriarchal structure of North Korea, the absence of freedom of movement, and China’s treatment of North Korean border-crossers as illegal migrants.
This chapter examines changes and constants in North Korean society since the mid-1990s, when the country faced severe famine. In particular, it investigates the rise of the informal market economy – and its subsequent impact on gender roles – and a large exodus of women to China as a consequence of the economic crisis. The chapter situates the North Korean diaspora within the context of globalization and its implications for North Korean refugees and their human rights. It further discusses human rights debates in North Korea and defector human rights activism outside North Korea.
Recent North Korean diaspora has given rise to many female refugee groups fighting for the protection of women’s rights.
Presenting in-depth accounts of North Korean women defectors living in the UK, this book examines how their harrowing experiences have become an impetus for their activism. The author also reveals how their utopian dream of a better future for fellow North Korean women is vital in their activism.
Unique in its focus on the intersections between gender, politics, activism and mobility, Lim's illuminating work will inform debates on activism and human rights internationally.
This chapter explores the narratives of North Korean women activists about their involvement in human rights activism, including critical awakening and the turning point of their identity from victim to activist. The chapter examines motivating factors for their activism, as well as challenges and strategies. The women’s narratives suggest a strong sense of altruism and concern for other people in similar situations, which have operated as motivators for their activism. In conjunction with this, their imagination of a better future for fellow North Korean women (and children) has become the driving force behind their activism. The chapter further discusses their plans from an operational perspective: what possible collaborations and works could be undertaken?
This chapter examines methodological considerations, focusing on ethical issues and the challenges of studying North Korean women defectors and their human rights issues. It applies a critical feminist approach. The chapter begins with a phenomenological method, linking to the life history and power of storytelling. Due to the risk of potential repercussions that defectors and their families face from the regime, as well as the sensitive nature of the topic, the study raises several ethical concerns. In addition, the dynamics between a woman researcher of South Korean heritage and North Korean women defectors poses methodologically important questions. Reflecting upon these, the chapter discusses the complex dynamics between insider and outsider, knower and enquirer, in a critical manner.
The book’s conclusion attempts to weave together the various themes that dominate the work, cohering around three undergirding sections: Why use IPEDs?; Potsford’s local closed market structure; and market trajectory: commercialization and SNS supply. Chapters 4 to 7 are drawn upon to present a multi-layered theorization as to why the men under study were drawn towards image and performance enhancing drugs. Building out from a psychoanalytical account of bodily desire, to include meso and macro factors such as sporting and occupational context, the role of pleasure and lifestyle, and will-to-recognition on social media, the chapter offers some much-needed nuance to the question of motivation. Potsford’s offline market is then summarized, drawing heavily on Chapter 9. This is then woven into the final section, which reiterates the growth and development of the IPED market, bringing together Chapters 9, 10, and 11 to present a dual space of traditional offline, culturally embedded supply, alongside a burgeoning online market catering to an evolving consumer base. The chapter, and book, are drawn to a close with a number of recommendations for future research and policy implementation.
The health and fitness industry has experienced a meteoric rise over the past two decades, yet its slick exterior conceals a darker side: image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs). Using ethnographic data from gyms, interviews, and social media platforms, this book investigates the growing use and supply of IPEDs in a UK context. Various levels of user motivation are explored, from the psychoanalytic processes of desire and bodily dissatisfaction to the instrumental and pleasurable aspects of consumption, and their relationship to social media. The gym is also critically examined as a space of deviant leisure, applying cutting edge criminological theory to build links between gym culture, masculinity, and consumption. Tracking the intricate relationship between supply and demand, The Muscle Trade then studies the local offline IPED market in the city of ‘Potsford’, before tracking the commercialization, normalization, and digitization of supply. Within this, particular attention is paid to the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram as spaces of self-representation and illicit commerce. Ultimately, this book serves as a guide to the muscle trade, its infrastructure, the various key actors, and the motivations behind chasing masculine bodily perfection.