Business, Mass Media & Consumption
Not available in 2012
Previously offered in 2007, 2006
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.
Upon 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.
Consumerism 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
.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)
Replaces HUMA3412 Business, Mass Media & Consumption
The course cannot be taken by students who have successfully completed HUMA2402 or HUMA3412.
Students will have been expected to have passed two 10 unit courses at 1000 Level course.
Modes of Delivery
Tutorial: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term