Consumer nationalism in digital space: A case study of the 2017 anti-lotte boycott in China

Sara Liao, Grace Xia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This study advances the understanding of consumer nationalism through an analysis of a Chinese boycott of South Korean goods. In early 2017, Chinese internet users expressed their strong aversion to the South Korean conglomerate Lotte and coordinated a folk boycott against it on the grounds that Lotte supported South Korea’s deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system, which China considered a threat. We explored the increasing convergence of consumer activities in the form of consumer nationalism with commercial entities’ marketing strategies and also with the state’s interests with respect to security and promoting national pride. The internet and new technologies have facilitated grassroots nationalist activities in terms of the ready circulation of information and mobilization of collective actions. We investigated a digital discursive space in the communicative interactions among stakeholders through which digital media not only amplify the scale and intensity of the mundane and everyday practice of nationalism but also blur the boundaries among the participating actors. Our research documented the multilateral relationships among stakeholders – individual consumers/media users, commercial entities, and the state – in practicing nationalism and reproducing the nation through (non)consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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