Watchdogs and Whistleblowers
A Reference Guide to Consumer Activism
by Stephen Brobeck and Robert N. Mayer, Editors
July 2015, 533pp, 7 x 10
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-2999-4
$108, £84, 94€, A148
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3000-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Consumer activism led to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of information about ways in which consumer activism has reshaped the economic and political well-being of citizens in the United States and around the world.

This all-encompassing collection of information about consumer activism and the consumer movement will provide students, public officials, business groups, and other activists with a one-stop source of facts and insights. The contributors explore hundreds of major consumer protections that have significantly enhanced the quality of life and safety for all Americans, showing how these protections were won through the skillful and determined work of leading activists and activist organizations. Many of the stories told here are related by the activists themselves, often for the first time.

More than 140 entries offer a comprehensive treatment of the consumer activism of specific organizations, their leaders, and strategies. The book also includes more than 40 entries about consumer movements in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. A timeline of key events and a listing of the most important books on the subject of consumer activism help provide context for the individual entries as do two introductory essays. Cross references in each entry establish linkages among topics.


  • Provides the single most comprehensive source available of information about consumer activism and advocacy
  • Shows how activism has influenced laws and regulations affecting more than 40 consumer issues
  • Shares personal accounts from activists about their work on these issues
  • Details information on U.S. national consumer organizations and many state and local consumer groups, including their goals, strategies, leaders, finances, and impact
  • Offers insights into the ways consumer activist groups have interacted with other nonprofits, policymakers, regulators, and business groups
Stephen Brobeck, PhD, has been executive director of the Consumer Federation of America since 1980. His previously published work on social change includes The Modern Consumer Movement: References and Resources and ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of the Consumer Movement. Brobeck holds a doctorate in American studies from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught at several universities.

Robert N. Mayer, PhD, is professor and department chair in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah. He is associate editor of ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of the Consumer Movement and coauthor of Praeger's Financial Justice: The People's Campaign to Stop Lender Abuse. He is also the author of The Consumer Movement: Guardians of the Marketplace. Mayer holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley.


"This broad view of consumer-interest groups is recommended for most public and academic libraries."—Booklist, November 18, 2015

"The new volume provides an excellent overview of the consumer movement. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All academic levels; general readers."—Choice, March 1, 2016

"The editors of this reference guide have compiled a comprehensive source of information about ways in which consumer activism has reshaped the economic and political well-being of citizens."—J Consum Policy, April 8, 2016
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