To provide a critical understanding of the historical development of consumer capitalism, the fundamental elements of contemporary sociological theories of consumer action and the main issues related to the politics of consumer culture. To illustrate how theories may work in practice, by addressing key contemporary empirical phenomena in the sphere of consumption, with particular attention to social boundaries and social identities, commercial institutions and the new challenges posed by environmental issues and the process of globalization/localization. Besides a sound competence in the sociology of consumption, students will also develop capacities of critical reading and writing, as well as oral presentation and team-work.
Expected learning outcomes
The expected learning outcomes relate to the development of the capacity for critical understanding of social scientific analyses of contemporary consumer cultures. Students must also demonstrate the ability to apply the acquired theoretical knowledge to understand the main emerging phenomena of contemporary consumer capitalism. It is expected that thanks to shared reading in class of classical texts students will develop critical skills applicable to the analysis of contemporary society and that thanks to both groupwork parallel to classes and final workshops for sharing questions emerging from the course they will improve their ability to both write about and communicate what they have learnt.