The notion that contemporary times are characterized in part by a "consumer culture" permeates many vernacular as well as scholarly analyses. In this course we will examine what people mean by the label ?consumer culture? and what particular kinds of social arrangements, or social pathologies, this term attempts to capture for analysis or critique. We will aim for empirical and theoretical comparison across historical, cross-cultural, and disciplinary perspectives. The course will examine theories that have been foundational in the analysis of consumer culture while also attending to emerging research in this area. Some of the subtopics that will be considered include: consumerism and/as citizenship, consumerism and media, globalization of consumerism, consumption and identity, ritual and consumption, and the commercialization of ostensibly non-market spheres. Students will undertake original research as one of the requirements for the course.
- Teacher: Emily West