Sociology of Consumption, Ponoma College, 2012

  • Lecturer: Nicki Lisa Cole
  • Program:  Bachelor of Arts; course qualified as elective in social science
  • Duration: one semester
  • Class size: 12-16 students
  • Focus: The the role of consumption in society, beyond providing for basic needs; the significance of material goods; relating consumption to social, economic, political and environmental problems, as well as to consumer practices, values and identities; a particular focus on ethical consumption.
  • Novel approach: use of auto-ethnographic essays about student-consumer practices. Students keep a consumption diary, reflecting upon and analyzing how individuals are shaped by consumer culture and material goods. The central role of consumption towards identity, values and everyday life are also considered, along with preferences for/against ethically branded products. Students are asked to reflect critically on personal connections to labourers around the world, environmental issues, and the global economy.
  • Student evaluation: based on class participation and facilitation of one class per semester, reflection papers, auto-ethnographic essays, a research project, presentation and final paper. The Prompt for Auto-Ethnographic Essay is available here (attachment).
  • Course evaluation: students found the course interesting and valuable in terms of new knowledge.