Modern culture and lifestyles

Offer semester
2nd semester

Lecture time
Monday 15:30 - 17:20

Lecture venue
CPD- 2.37

Course description

What kind of lifestyle do you aspire to have? Is it possible or difficult to achieve? What motivates you to inhabit a particular lifestyle? How do you, among billions of people, live our modern life? Apparently, we are living at a time with endless lifestyle options available to us – we are who we choose to become. Yet at times there are also tensions and constraints in the crafting of our self-making. In our efforts to understand this interplay of structure and agency, we are going to investigate the patterns of cultural change and continuity in our modern world. Drawing from sociological concepts and studies mainly from the domain of media and consumption, we aim to understand various facets of identity with the dynamics of modern culture and lifestyles as well as the changing role of the individual in society. We will assess and reflect our modern tastes, lifestyles and identities through everyday practices & habits like foodies, fashion, tattoos, Hello Kitty, K-pop fan, yoga, go green and many more.

Course learning outcomes

On completing the course, students should be able to:

  1. Apply concepts in the understanding of cultures and lifestyles.
  2. Understand the formation of individual identity in modern society.
  3. Engage in self-reflective dialogue on issues of selfhood, agency, culture, and lifestyles.
  4. Demonstrate the capacity to analyse a particular cultural group or lifestyle.


Tutorial presentation and discussion20%
Reflective memo20%
Project 30%

Required reading

Featherstone, F. 2007. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism (2/e). Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE.

Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity.

Lawler, S. 2014. Identity: Sociological Perspectives (2/e). Cambridge: Polity.

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Student view

Studying lifestyles and consumption anthropologically help me think more critically about everyday life. The decision to include unusual readings such as Hello Kitty consumption and Barry Manilow fan clubs made the course both relevant and refreshing.

– Liuyi Valerie Guo, 4th year Sociology Major undergraduate student