Sociology and psychology of consumption (2019/2020)

Course code
4S02517
Name of lecturers
Luca Mori, Debora Viviani
Coordinator
Luca Mori
Number of ECTS credits allocated
9
Academic sector
SPS/07 - GENERAL SOCIOLOGY
Language of instruction
Italian
Location
VERONA
Period
primo semestre magistrali dal Sep 30, 2019 al Dec 20, 2019.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

The course objectives of the course converge towards the ability to understand consumer action as social action, particularly in its symbolic and relational aspects. It is intended to provide students with a vision of the phenomenon in its symbolic aspects that can integrate the knowledge acquired from other courses of this degree course. Also through case studies and lectures to lecturers in the sector, we intend to provide the student with logical schemes and interpretative tools that enable him to analyze the phenomenon of consumer action in a transparent way, grasping the "irrational" aspects of social action and social relationship.

Syllabus

The course is divided into two parts. The first one will deal with the social and cultural transformations which gave birth to the consumption society and it will explore the main theoretical frames applied to the consumption behaviors. In this first part the concept of material culture will be also deepened, highlighting its relevance for the analysis of the so called present phase of hyperconsuption (Lipovetsky).

The second part will be entirely dedicated to the work of Pierre Bourdieu, an author nowadays considered as a classic who researched consistently the connections among social classes, life styles and consumption practices.

PREREQUISITES:
To fully understand the contents of the course no particular knowledge is needed

CONTENTS
First part:
- the historical constitution of consumption society;
- the economic approach to consumption behaviour;
- the limits of rationality and the importance of the symbolic dimension;
- the dominance of capitalism and the resistance practices;
- advertising;
- consumerism and aticonsumerism;
- material culture;
- spare time and cultural consumption;
- urban space and consumption practices;
- digitalization and cultural consumption.
Second part:
- the concept of habitus;
- habitus, social structure and lifestyle;
- class, social distinction and consumption practices.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
Roberta Sassatelli Consumo, cultura e società Il Mulino 2004 il testo va preparato interamente fatta eccezione per il capitolo V "Gusti, comunicazione, pratiche" che può essere saltato
Paolo Magaudda Digitalizzazione e consumi culturali in Italia. Mercati, infrastrutture e appropriazione delle tecnologie mediali, in “Polis”, XXVIII (3), pp. 417-438. Il Mulino 2014
Viviani D., Grassi V. Il cibo immaginato Angeli 2016 SOLO parte II
Douglas M. Il mondo delle cose Il Mulino 2013 introduzione e capitoli I, II, III
Pierre Bourdieu La distinzione. Critica sociale del gusto Il Mulino 1983 Solo pp. 99-231
Domenico Secondulfo Sociologia del consumo e della cultura materiale Franco Angeli 2012 SOLO capitoli 1 e 2 e pp. 175-238
Lipovetsky G. Una felicità paradossale Cortina 2007 SOLO cap. 1 e 2

Assessment methods and criteria

The final exam will consist of a written test. The candidate will have to answer to 7 open questions in 2 hours of time. Three questions will deal with the topics presented and discussed during the course. The fourth question will try to elicit the critical analysis skills of the candidates. More clearly, the students will be asked to provide a personal reflection on some topics treated during the course (a comparison, a critical comment, an empirical exemplificaton, etc.)

EVALUATION CRITERIA:
- the degree of comprehension of the discipline;
- the degree of comprehension of the single concepts;
- the capacity of presenting theoretical problems;
- the mastery of the disciplinary lexicon;
- the capacity to connect different topics;
- The capacity to provide powerful empirical exemplification of the theoretical concepts discussed.