The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course will engage with key ideas and theories of consumption and consumer culture. Drawing on contemporary theories of culture and everyday life, the course will cover the diverse ways in which consumerism is analysed in contemporary social sciences. Aspects that may be covered include: theories of the consumer; identity and manufacturing choice; anthropological analysis of material culture; Globalization, McDonaldization and Disneyization; commodification of the body; commodification of nature; the politics and ethics of consumerism; the spaces and sites of consumption; the environmental and waste aspects of consumer culture; and symbolic aspects of consumer culture. The course will help students develop a better understanding of the how recent social change from a 'production' to a 'consumption' society has implications for social relations and their own reflexive identity.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Winter - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Distinguish and describe sociological approaches to consumption and consumer culture.

2. Interpret sociological research findings.

3. Critically analyse and evaluate a range of sociological theories, perspectives and research.

4. Reflexively demonstrate an understanding of how the students' own identity, opinions and tastes are created by and reflected in consumer culture.


The course will introduce students to the key issues in consumerism and consumer culture. It will explore social, cultural, political and economic factors, as well as promoting a reflexive understanding of the individual's relationship to broader social structures.

Assumed knowledge

40 units of study at 1000 level. It is advisable for students to undertake sufficient study in entry level SOCA courses to develop a robust understanding of the field of sociology before they undertake advanced courses.

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Essay (30%)

Written Assignment: Written Assignments/ Reflexive Exercise (30%)

Quiz: In-class quiz (20%)

In Term Test: Take-home examination (20%)

Contact hours



Online 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Online Activity

Online 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term