SOCI8025

Consumer cultures and everyday life

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Wednesday 19:00 – 21:50

Lecture venue
MB122

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 key concepts of sociological studies of consumption and everyday life;
  • Know of the general historical background of the emergence of consumer society and its impacts at social and individual levels;
  • Analytically engage in the current academic debates over consumer cultures and everyday life;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the impacts of consumption on the everyday life in modern societies; and
  • Apply the basic concepts and theoretical perspectives to an analysis of the impacts of consumption on social life.

Assessment

TasksWeighting
Class Participation20%
Presentation20%
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.

Featherstone, M. (2007) Consumer Culture and Postmodernism. London: SAGE Publications.

Highmore, B. (ed.) (2002) The Everyday Life Reader. London; New York: Routledge.

Kravets, O., Maclaran, P. and Miles, S. (eds.) (20198) The SAGE Handbook of Consumer Culture. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Lefebvre, H. (1971[1968]) Everyday Life in the Modern World. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

Sassatelli, R. (2007) Consumer Culture. London: SAGE Publications.

Storey, J. (2014) From Popular Culture to Everyday Life. Oxon: Routledge.

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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