“Consumption, households and the environment”, Université libre de Bruxelles (since 1998/2000)

  • Lecturer: Tom Bauler
  • Program: MA Sciences in Environmental Management
  • Duration: one semester, optional; 2 hours/week, 2 ECTS; Class size: 20-40
  • Focus: Theory course which has evolved into more of a case study course. Understand the role of ‘consumption/consumers’ in environmental problems and possible levers or action; integrate different approaches, from consumption, wellbeing, production, market economy, etc.
  • Theoretical approach: “The course has a practice theory flavour to it. Most of the students seem to understand the message of complexification”. Also includes economic and socio-psychological approaches.
  • Student evaluation: no home/paper work, no seminars…Evaluation involves a written exam (2 hours), 3 open questions (dissertation) of which 2 are to be answered.
  • Course evaluation: favourable evaluation: “students come to this course to understand the gap between green consumption intentions and actions”.
  • Reading list: one recommended reading, in French: ZACCAÏ Edwin, HAYNES Isabelle (eds) (2008).
  • Challenge: for students who don’t “accept the challenge of sustainability”, the course can result in a “struggle”.Future plans: course has evolved in the past 3 years into a seminar rather than lecture, as students are interested in “grassroots innovations”, “social innovation”, etc. in relation to their Masters’ thesis. Case studies are now used to discuss these themes. Course may evolve into more of a case study approach based on “rich descriptions –group presentation & discussion, where researchers are invited to come along and interact with the students.”