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.
Attending students will have a written exam on Sassatelli, R. (2007) Consumer Culture, Sage and a selection of chapters (as detailed in the itemized Programme for Attending Students which will be distributed at the beginning of Unit) workshops and coursework based on teamwork. The workshops are organized around the production of Wikipedia entries in the area of Consumer Culture. TextbooK: R. Sassatelli (2007) Consumer Culture. History, Theory and Politics, Sage, London.
The assessment will consist of a written exam for non-attending students who will have to study the 4 textbooks listed below in full.
Textbooks Hochschild, A.R. (2012) The Outsourced Self, UCP Miller, D. (2012) Consumption and its Consequences, Polity Sassatelli, R. (ed) (2019) Italians and Food, Palgrave. Sassatelli, R. (2007) Consumer Culture, Sage