Module code: SOC2068

Module Overview

This module begins by introducing students to the sociology of everyday consumption – considering why sociology should engage with mundane consumption and outlining theoretical perspectives on its role in identity construction, distinction and the maintenance of relationships. We are increasingly confronted, however, by arguments about the negative individual, social and environmental consequences of our consumption practices. We critically examine these arguments and then explore the possibility of sustainable, alternative and ethical modes of consumption.

Module provider


Module Leader

BURNINGHAM Kate (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • What is everyday consumption and why study it?

  • Theoretical approaches to the social roles of consumption

  • Consumption and everyday practice

  • Inconspicuous consumption

  • Arguments about the negative consequences of consumption in terms of individual wellbeing, global social inequalities and environmental impacts

  • Conceptualising ethical & sustainable consumption


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY (1500 WORDS) 40
Coursework CASE STUDY (2000 WORDS) 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understandings of distinct approaches to everyday consumption and to apply these along with arguments about the consequences of consumption to examples of contemporary consumption.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One 1,500 word essay providing a critical evaluation of one or more sociological perspectives on everyday consumption. Usually week 6

  • A case study in which students apply theories of consumption and arguments about the consequences of consumption to a case study of a material, product or service of their choice. Usually week 12.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive oral feedback on their understanding and presentations in seminars and written feedback on assignments will be provided within three weeks. The course convenor will be available for one to one meetings with students to provide guidance on any aspect of the module

Module aims

  • Introduce students to the sociology of everyday consumption
  • Critically engage with arguments about the consequences of mundane consumption
  • Develop understanding of empirical research on ethical and sustainable consumption

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate a familiarity with key theoretical approaches to everyday consumption KC
2 Evaluate arguments and evidence about the negative social and environmental consequences of consumption KCP
3 Apply theory on the role of consumption and arguments about its negative consequences to specific case studies of everyday consumption) KCP
4 Organise ideas and thoughts to speak about these in the public setting of the seminar KCPT
5 Draw on the range of material covered in the module in order to construct arguments and evaluate evidence in written assignments KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to introduce students to the sociology of ordinary consumption and encourage them to engage critically with arguments about the consequences of such consumption.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 11 Lectures outlining key topics, debates and relevant literature

  • 11 Seminars in which students have the opportunity to discuss lecture material in more detail, discuss readings, gain experience in making presentations, engage in group discussions and practical exercises with their peers.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC2068

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.