Dig for victory! Anti-consumerism, austerity, and new historical subjectivities

Rebecca Bramall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, austerity-related discourses have become a popular means of imagining and promoting more sustainable living. This article situates the re-emergence of the slogan ‘dig for victory’ in the wider discursive formation of ‘anti-consumerism’, and explores the relationship between the ‘defetishizing’ qualities of commodity histories and the constitution of ethico-political consuming subjects. Following Laclau’s notion that a conversion of subjectivity results from persuasion, I suggest that the persuasiveness of ‘dig for victory’ lies in its insistence upon historical solutions to today’s problems. The discourse seems to consolidate the dominant-hegemonic ‘myth of the home front’, yet ‘dig for victory’ also appears to have the capacity to render certain radical ideas, such as operating outside of the capitalist commodity system, unthreatening and even appealing. I explain why this case study points to an urgent need to rethink the historical as a resource for the constitution of radical collective projects and agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-86
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Subjectivity. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/sub/journal/v4/n1/abs/sub201027a.html


  • austerity
  • anti-consumerism
  • environmentalism
  • history
  • home front
  • sustainability


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