Consumer Society

The American College of Greece

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Consumer Society

  • Host University

    The American College of Greece

  • Location

    Athens, Greece

  • Area of Study

    Human Development and Family Studies, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    SO 1000 Introduction to Sociology or
    SO1001 Sociology of Modern Life 

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Consumer society as an expression of material culture in the postmodern globalized world. Emphasis on collective trends (fashion), conspicuous consumption (luxury), lifestyles (identity), class, and gender divisions, places (shopping malls), etc. The pathology of consumption: alienation, objectification, pseudo-individualism, and the romantic search for the “new.” Theoretical views by Marx, Simmel, Benjamin, Bourdieu, Ritzer, Baudrillard, Campbell, Slater, Miller and others.

    Consumer society has emerged as one of the most critical conceptual schemes in sociology because it captures the complexity of global reality in our post-modern times. It combines the market economy with material culture in the currently omnipotent ideology of consumerism. Using a variety of key theoretical debates and a number of case studies that have contributed to the emergence of sociology of consumption, this course intends to explore various aspects of consumer society by emphasizing on a number of issues from technology and aesthetics, to commodification and subjectobject relation, class distinctions, gender preferences, taste, identity and subjectivity. Special reference will be made to topics such as conspicuous consumption, spaces of consumption (i.e. shopping malls), consumer cases (i.e. tourism, youth), consumer rights, consumption problems, etc. The course aims to attract the interest on students from all fields of social sciences, humanities and business.

    As a result of taking this course, the students could be able to:
    1. Demonstrate solid knowledge and ability to critically evaluate the major theoretical approaches to consumer culture and society
    2. Demonstrate a good knowledge of empirical research studies on consumerism.
    3. Analyze and interpret different types of consumer practices and phenomena.
    4. Explain and critically evaluate the overall impact of consumer culture and its implications for individuals and society at large

    In congruence with the teaching and learning strategy of the college, the following tools are used:
    - Classes consist of lectures, class discussions based on course readings and theories or studies presented in class and use of 
    some audio-visual material
    - Office hours: students are encouraged to make full use of the office hours of their lecturer, where they can address issues pertinent to the course material, ask questions and seek guidance on their research paper.
    - Use of a blackboard site, where instructors post lecture notes, assignment instructions, timely announcements, as well as additional resources. 


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