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Consumer cultures and everyday life

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Wednesday 19:00 – 21:50

Lecture venue

Course description

Consumption is an important part of modern life. This course examines the role of consumer culture in the modern commodity economy and evaluates everyday life from a sociological perspective. It offers students a chance to revisit classical sociology theorists in the context of consumption (e.g., Marx, Weber, Veblen, Simmel), as well as some more contemporary thinkers on consumer culture (e.g., Bourdieu, Baudrillard) and everyday life (e.g., Lefebvre, Debord, de Certeau).

It will look at the changing roles of street culture, department stores and shopping malls, theme parks, and urban and suburban ways of lives. In particular, the course demonstrates how consumption in everyday life generates a fascinating mix of homogeneity, difference, hybridity, commerce, and democratisation for modern people in major creative cities.

Course learning outcomes

  • Grasp some of the key concepts of consumption and everyday life
  • Understand the contexts and paths of the development of consumer society and its impacts at social and individual levels

  • Engage in the current academic debates over consumer cultures and everyday life

  • Apply the understanding to real life events to analyse the impacts of consumption on the everyday life in modern societies

  • Get an intimate exposure to consumer ulture by engaging in hands-on exercises and field projects


Class Participation20%
Observation Report20%
Individual Essay40%

Required reading

There is no textbook for this course. However, the following titles will give you a comprehensive review of the current debates on consumer culture and everyday life.

Bennett, A. (2005) Culture and everyday life. London’ Thousand Oaks; New Delhi: SAGE Publications.

Chaney, D. (2002) Cultural change and everyday life. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Highmore, B. (2001) Everyday life and cultural theory: an introduction. London; New York: Routledge.

Lefebvre, H. (1971[1968]) Everyday life in the modern world. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Mackey, H. (ed.) (1997) Consumption and everyday life. London: SAGE Publications.

Sassatelli, R. (2007) Consumer culture: history, theory and politics. London’ New Delhi; Singapore: SAGE Publications.

Slater, D. (1997) Consumer Culture and Modernity. Cambridge: Polity.

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Student view

A truly interesting course that offers insights into consumer culture and its impact to our everyday life. I particularly enjoy the discussion sessions.

– Shirlz, year 2 MSocSc Media Culture & Creative Cities student

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