Business, Mass Media & Consumption

Course code SOCA3412Units 10Level 3000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Humanities and Social Science

Examines debates concerning consumerism and the commercial promotion of socially controversial products. Are contemporary markets consumer or producer dominated? Do business interests respond to changes in social values and tastes or do they manufacture and shape such changes? The course will focus on the notion of a shift from citizenship to consumerism and draw on theoretical debates amongst economic liberals, marxists, feminists and post-structuralists within media and consumption studies. The central question will be the extent to which consumer behaviour is shaped by advertising, wider forms of commercial marketing and other corporate strategies. The course will also analyse the role of governmental regulation. Case studies of socially controversial industries and products will be featured.

Not available in 2015

ObjectivesUpon successful completion of this course, students will be expected to demonstrate an ability to

(i) provide an overview of debates to do with concepts such as choice, markets, capitalism, corporate conditioning, commercialisation of social life and consumerism;

(ii) convey an understanding that there are many conflicting perspectives on these concepts, arising from different ideologies, theories, academic disciplines and research methodologies;.

(iii) convey an understanding of how these conflicting perspectives inform the positions taken by business, consumer and governmental agencies in the formulation of policy regulating business marketing and consumption;

(iv) apply and evaluate these conflicting perspectives in case studies of (a) socially controversial goods and services or (b) specific individuals or social groups seen as prone to harmful patterns of consumption;

(v) contribute to class discussion and to achieve levels of analytical and written expression appropriate to an upper level undergraduate course.
ContentConsumerism and capitalism: historical overview.
Consumerism and capitalism: theoretical overview.
i) Needs, Wants, and Choice: Neo-classical Economic Theory and its Critics
ii) Social Theories of Consumption
.The Consumer as Chooser
.The Consumer as Victim
.The Consumer as Rebel
.Advertising: History and Social Theory
.Consumer Addictions and Vulnerabilities: a Commercial Component?
.Corporate Public Relations Strategies
.Corporate Lobbying
.The Consumer as Activist
.Consumer Issues and Regulation
.Product Quality and Safety: Business, Consumer and State Interaction
.Social Contentious Products - Overall Business Strategies: Case Studies (the Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms, Gaming and Pornography Industries)
Replacing Course(s)HUMA2402
Replaces HUMA3412 Business, Mass Media & Consumption
TransitionThe course cannot be taken by students who have successfully completed HUMA2402 or HUMA3412.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeStudents will have been expected to have passed two 10 unit courses at 1000 Level course.
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written Assignments2000 word essay (due week 11) (40%).
Essays / Written Assignments1200 word summary/commentary on one coursepack reading (during semester) (20%).
Group/tutorial participation and contributionParticipation in weekly tutorials (10%). Students are expected to attend 75% of the weekly tutorials. The reason for this requirement is to ensure students get access to a diverse range of views on the coursepack readings and the issues arising. Criteria for participation will be evidence of familiarity with the weekly readings and ability to present informed and critical analysis of these readings and the issues arising from them and the lectures.
Case Scenario/PBL exercises1500 word research case study on a socially controversial industry/product (due week 14)(30%).
Contact HoursTutorial: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term