• ‘What I’m not gonna buy’: Algorithmic culture jamming and anti-consumer politics on YouTube

      Wood, Rachel; University of Chester
      This article is based on an analysis of ‘anti-haul’ videos on YouTube, where a vlogger explains which beauty products they plan not to buy. Anti-haul vloggers have much in common with ‘culture jamming’ movements, which use the communicative practices and materials of promotional culture against itself to spread an anti-consumerist agenda. The article argues that anti-hauls should be understood as the reinvention of ‘culture jamming’ techniques for a contemporary promotional culture that is platform based, algorithmically governed, and mobilised through the affective, authentic performance of the ‘influencer’. I refer to this manipulation of the platform’s visibility mechanisms to spread anti-consumer messages as ‘algorithmic culture jamming’. The anti-consumer politics of anti-hauls are contradictory and ambivalent. At the same time, I argue that anti-hauls also offer important possibilities for political learning, personal and collective transformation, and alternative creative pleasures outside of continual consumer accumulation.