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School of Social Sciences

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MSc Sociological Research
Explore cutting edge contemporary sociology for a range of research and industry careers.

MSc Sociological Research / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Sociology of Consumption

Unit code SOCY60551
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Sociology
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Students will survey the emergence and development of a new sub-discipline within sociology, the sociology of consumption. The course will involve examining key theoretical texts and recent research in the field.

The course will cover the following topics:
* A definition and mapping of the field of consumption studies
* themes in the sociology of consumption
* The Frankfurt School and the culture industries
* Pierre Bourdieu's analysis of distinction
* consumption, welfare and well-being
*cultural studies and the meaning of signs
* material culture and the meaning of goods
* an interim review of the field
*revival of political economy of consumption
*recent developments in the cultural sociology of consumption


To provide a module of study which furthers to the aims of the MA programme.
To cultivate a capacity for critical thinking at an advanced level.
To introduce students to a rapidly developing field of study which has relevance to contemporary social and economic life.
To offer a thorough overview of developments in the sociology of consumption and encourage a critical attitude towards theoretical and empirical work in the field.

Learning outcomes

* to impart an understanding of the development of the sub-discipline.
* to foster a capacity for critical evaluation of key theoretical texts and recent empirical research.
* to identify the strengths and weaknesses of current work in the field.
* to encourage a capacity to write analytically about topics in the field.

Teaching and learning methods

weekly lecture

Assessment methods

Students are required to write a 3,000 word assessed essay related to one of the module topics (date will be confirmed on course unit outline). Some titles will be supplied after the course has begun (and will be negotiable).

Recommended reading

Aldridge A (2004) Consumption, Polity
Lury, C (1996) Consumer Culture, Polity
Gabriel Y & Lang T (1995) The Unmanageable Consumer, Sage
Slater, D (1997) Consumer Culture and Modernity, Polity
Miller, D. ed (1995) Acknowledging Consumption: a review of new studies, Routledge

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Luke Yates Unit coordinator

Additional notes


Tuesdays 12-2


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