Culture and Lifestyles - 2016

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start
This page is for past year, View 2017 unit details.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3
  • Assessment: Non-Invigilated Exam - Take Home Exam (40%) , Report1 - Consumer Space (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

Explore the sociological theories of consumption through a focus on material culture studies. You will trace theories of consumerism and commodity culture from Marx, through critical theory, semiotics, cultural anthropology, science and technology studies and post-modern theory. Many scholars now identify consumption, and the objects one engages with when one consumes something, as the decisive domain of social change - the vanguard of history. By offering opportunities to examine consumption spaces, settings and objects you will engage with your own community.

Content objectives: At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. define and discuss key concepts associated with theoretical accounts of material culture and consumption
  2. understand different ways of reading object things, and link their methodological approaches to theoretical assumptions
  3. describe the features of key theoretical approaches in material culture studies, and understand their relation to the field of contemporary consumption studies.

Analytic objectives: At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. understand how culture is both immaterial and material
  2. analyse the nature, type, features and meanings of various bits of contemporary material culture, eg. t-shirts, shopping malls, motor vehicles
  3. identify, examine and analyse consumption habits, patterns and processes in your own world.

Critical objectives: At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. critically discuss issues and debates associated with contemporary theories of commodification and consumption
  2. think critically about, and analyse, the role and purpose of contemporary objects, in biographical and social-structural ways
  3. think critically about, and analyse, contemporary issues related to consumption (eg. commodification, exploitation, inequality, cultural hierarchy and value).

Skills objectives: On successful completion of this unit, students will have acquired the following transferable skills:

  1. written communication skills
  2. analysis and critical evaluation
  3. research skills
  4. problem solving decision-making skills.
  • Non-Invigilated Exam — Take Home Exam (40%)
  • Report1 — Consumer Space (30%)
  • Report2 — Material Culture (30%)

You must complete Level 1 studies in Sociology before starting this unit.

  • Broadband access

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1What is material culture?
2Perspectives on material culture
3Researching and analysing material culture
4Identity, action and material culture
5The built environment as material culture
6Embodied material culture

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission

Online materials

  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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