In the last quarter of the twentieth century interest in consumer theory has grown significantly within and across disciplines. The recent notion of a more active and discerning consumer has elicited widely differing responses. So whilst the political theorist David Pepper 1 dismissively associates ‘ecoconsumerism’ with the social and environmental degradation of Thatcher’s market liberalism, Bido Schlegelmilch 2 celebrates the active consumer as the marketing discipline’s solution to all ills and Rob Harrison 3 advocates consumer power as key element in a strategy for change.