COM3063 : Advertising and Consumption

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Stephen Walls
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
Semesters
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

This module aims to:
1. enable students to develop a core base in the field of advertising, culture, and consumption.

2. allow participants to develop specialisms on the basis of specific interest (e.g. advertising and language; advertising and globalisation; consumption in cross-cultural settings; consumption and identity).

3. encourage students to consolidate methodological and critical skills in studying practices (e.g. shopping/consumption), texts, and qualitative and quantitative material in the spheres of communication, culture and advertising.

4. explore and apply interdisciplinary approaches to the study of consumer society now and in the recent past.

5. examine the rise of global and cross-cultural consumer cultures and advertising.

6. investigate and understand the cultural context of specific consumer groups, and to develop case studies of specific commodities, practices or cultural contexts.

Cultural consumption is one of the key activities of everyday life. All consumption occurs in relation to advertising, promotion or communication. This module will examine the cultural politics of advertising and consumption in relation to the perspective of cultural studies. It will provide a critical map of the field and bring together work on consumer culture in anthropology and sociology with work on media audiences within media studies and sociology. The rich and idiosyncratic features of local consumption practices will be illustrated through cases from different parts of the world.

Through such cases, the module will show the varying balance between constraint and power and creativity and resistance, making links between consumption and production, and the patterns that shape access to symbolic and material resources. Consumption takes place in the context of everyday lives, in urban, rural and domestic zones: questions of place and identity, poverty, the privatization of the home, and the linking of local everyday practices with broader, global processes are explored. Particular attention is given to the media and new communication technologies as points of overlap and exchange between the local and the global, between domestic consumption and the public sphere. Specific attention will focus upon the various communication strategies used in advertising including semiotics, branding, 'shockvertising', humour and music as rhetorical devices, and social media campaigns.

Outline Of Syllabus

Advertising: texts, strategies, subjects, markets; analysing texts

Consumption: practices, places and identities; theorising practices.

Local-global consumption

Fashion advertising, style, culture and identity

Gender and consumption

Sexuality and advertising

New commodities

Technological transitions in advertising and consumption practice

Childhood, consumption and 'kidvertising'

Selling culture

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars and workshops
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity136:0036:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study148:0048:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module aims to encourage the development and comprehension of contemporary issues and ideas in culture, consumption, advertising and everyday life. Theories of the economy, identity, and culture will be discussed in relation to advertising content, consumption and production, and mass media texts. Lectures introduce and develop ideas and group work practical allows students to consider material in more practical detail. A mixture of lectures, informal discussions, small-group work and spoken group presentations will be combined with private study, essay writing and media audience (or similar) project which investigates key aspects of advertising and consumption in everyday life.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M30Essay, 1000 words
Essay1A70Essay, 3000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Smaller essay specifically focused upon analyzing an example of advertising allows students to examine how these particular texts are constructed and the way they communicate culture and brand image to consumers. This enables students to develop and demonstrate paractical skills in applying theoretical material to an example of their own choosing.

Larger essay on consumption and advertising allows students to consider social and cultural theories of advertising and consumption, production & regulation and, cultural identity. This assessment fits well with formative side of module as well as realities and experiences of local-global economies and cultures.

These assessments allow students to establish practical, theoretical, critical and evaluative skills and stress the importance of working to deadlines and goals.

Reading Lists

Timetable

Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.