”consumer confidence!” by Chris & Karen Highland is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The politics of consumption

The course approaches societal development with concepts from the politics of consumption.

Power relations, structures and agency constitute key issues of interest in the politics of consumption. The course offers pluralistic insights into how and why people consume and how consumption can be steered and changed. The course prepares students to understand and assess political aspects of consumption with the help of key perspectives: governance, interest representation as well as materiality and practices.
Professors Frank Trentmann and Visa Heinonen and research directors Päivi Timonen and Petteri Repo act as teachers on the course. Päivi Timonen is the coordinator of the course.
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Enrol
12.12.2019 at 09:00 - 7.1.2020 at 23:59
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Timetable

Here is the course’s teaching schedule. Check the description for possible other schedules.

DateTimeLocation
Tue 7.1.2020
09:15 - 11:45
Wed 8.1.2020
10:15 - 11:45
Thu 9.1.2020
10:15 - 11:45
Tue 14.1.2020
12:15 - 13:45
Fri 17.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Tue 21.1.2020
12:15 - 13:45
Fri 24.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Tue 28.1.2020
12:15 - 13:45
Fri 31.1.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Tue 4.2.2020
12:15 - 13:45
Fri 7.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45
Tue 11.2.2020
12:15 - 13:45
Fri 14.2.2020
14:15 - 15:45

Other teaching

Material

The course approaches societal development with concepts from the politics of consumption.
Consumption is central to debates about sustainability, social justice and identity politics. This master’s course approaches societal development with concepts from the politics of consumption and empowers students to recognise different kinds of market actors. The course is designed for students in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and Faculty of Education. Please make sure that the course fits your degree.

Conduct of the course

The course consists of (i) ten lectures, (ii) a critical panel debate on consumption, (iii) presentation of research design and its accompanying written assignment (max 4,000 words). Students are supervised in the written assignment, which will help them author their master’s thesis, and are warmly encouraged to examine issues which are of interest to their own research and discipline. Students are provided with a reading list to assist them with connecting their research interests to theoretical insights in consumption studies.
Course grades are awarded based on the presentation of the research design (contributes up to 20 points) and the written assignment (up to 100 points) in the following way:
• 50-59 points:1
• 60-69 points:2
• 70-79 points:3
• 80-89 points:4
• 90 points or more:5
English is the language of the course with the exception that assignments can be written in English, Finnish or Swedish.

Description

The course is designed for students in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and Faculty of Education. Please make sure that the course fits your degree. No more than 60 students will be admitted, of which no more than 20 from the Master’s Programme in Food Economy and Consumption. Available also for the students in Master's Programme in Contemporary Societies.

Bachelor’s degree

Courses from the Consumption in Society module

The course examines the politics of consumption through power arrangements, structures and agencies. After completing the course, students will be able to examine and evaluate political action related to consumption as questions of, among others, governance, interests and materialism. Students will learn to examine consumption through political questions while taking into consideration the activities of consumer movements and countries on global markets. They will also be able to evaluate market developments and the formation of interests related to consumption in a critical and constructive manner.

Third period

The course examines the consumer as a politically active party, the functionality of European consumer politics, the historical change and social significance of consumption, interests related to consumption, consumer movements as market challengers, public services and the freedom of choice, as well as consumers as developers, producers and market creators through the concepts of consumer and consumer citizen, politics, active parties and interests.

Goldsmith, Elizabeth (2017). Consumer Economics: Issues and Behaviors. Routledge. Chapters 4 and 5.

Baldwin, Robert & Cave, Martin (1999). Understanding Regulation. Theory, Strategy and Practice. Oxford.

Halkier, Bente (2010). Consumption Challenged: Food in Mediated Everyday Life. Routledge: London.

Stolle, Dietlind & Micheletti, Michele (2013). Political Consumerism. Global Responsibility in Action. Cambridge University Press.

Related literature will be announced during the course.

Assessment will focus on the central concepts of the discipline, students’ ability to engage in critical thinking, conceptual argumentation and communication as well as the utilisation of feedback.

The grade will be determined as described below:

Preparation and interaction in contact teaching 20%

Essay 60%

Oral assignment 20%

Graded on a scale of 0 to 5 (0 = Fail, 1 = Passable, 2 = Satisfactory, 3 = Good, 4 = Very Good, 5 = Excellent)

The course will be implemented as lectures and completed by writing an essay of 10 to 12 pages and giving an oral presentation. The course consists of 12 lectures (the duration of each lecture is 2 x 45 minutes, 24 hours in total).

1) Contact teaching: 12 lectures

2) Written assignment: an individual essay

3) Oral assignment: a 10-minute presentation of the essay