Ethan Porter - "The Consumer Citizen" - John Mark Hansen

Monday, March 15, 2021 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Ethan Porter

Ethan Porter will discuss The Consumer Citizen. He will be joined in conversation by John Mark Hansen.

Presented in partnership with The Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics at George Washington University

Virtual event


About the book: Citizens are asked to buy, and asked to consider to buy, goods of all sizes and all prices, nearly all of the time. Appeals to political decision-making are less common. In The Consumer Citizen, Ethan Porter investigates how the techniques of everyday consumer experiences can shape political behavior. Drawing on more than a dozen original studies, he shows that the casual conflation of consumer and political decisions has profound implications for how Americans think about politics. Indeed, Porter explains that consumer habits can affect citizens' attitudes about their government, their taxes, their politicians, and even whether they purchase government-sponsored health insurance. The consumer citizen approaches government as if it were just an ordinary firm. Of course, government is not an ordinary firm---far from it---and the disjunction between what government is, and the consumer apparatus that citizens bring to bear on their evaluations of it, offers insight into several long-unanswered questions in political behavior and public opinion. How do many Americans make sense of the political world? The Consumer Citizen offers a novel answer: By relying on the habits and tools that they learn as consumers.

About the author: Ethan Porter is an assistant professor at George Washington University. He holds appointments in the School of Media and Public Affairs and the Political Science Department and is the Cluster Lead of the Misinformation/Disinformation Lab at GW's Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics. His research has appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, and other academic journals, and he has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post and other popular publications. His book, The Consumer Citizen, is out now from Oxford University Press. False Alarm: The Truth About Political Mistruths in the Trump Era, a book co-authored with Thomas J. Wood, was published in 2019 by Cambridge University Press. He received his PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

About the interlocutor: John Mark Hansen is the Charles L. Hutchinson Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Political Science and the College. His most recent book is The City in a Garden: A Guide to the History of Hyde Park and Kenwood.