A BIG RESPONSIBILITY! The Moralization of markets and Rise of supermarket patriotism

Juan Diego Sanin


This article looks at how the ‘moralization of economy’ -a phenomenon associated with the neoliberal culture- is manifested in Australia. It argues that a distinctive characteristic of this phenomenon is the adoption of patriotism as the responsibility of producers, ethical concern of consumers and property of commodities. This argument will be advanced through a case study focusing on Australia’s two biggest supermarket chains, Woolworths and Coles, and their branding campaigns. This case study demonstrates how neoliberalism and nationalism are not binary paradigms; that parallel to the decline of the nation-state there is another process related in this case to the rise of nationalistic corporations, which in this case I propose to call ‘supermarket patriotism’. However, far from being a balancing force that alleviates the inequalities of ‘extreme capitalism’ this form of patriotic moralization proves neoliberalism’s ability to transform critique into promotion, moral values in commodities and civic action into shopping practices.


Neoliberalism, moralization of the economy, patriotism, Australian supermarkets

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol12iss1id270