Introduction to Cultural Studies --Consumer Society
Josephine Ho (Office Hours: Tu 1-4 or by appointment)

According to one commentator, a consumer society is one "in which ever-growing consumption becomes the principle aspiration, source of identity, and leisure activity for more and more of the population." Not everyone agrees with this characterization, nor is there consensus on the quality of life in consumer societies. In this course we will survey the fascinating and fast-growing body of literature on the history of the consumer society and learn about the various debates surrounding the issue, while we examine cultural changes and the historical development of the institutions of department stores, shopping malls, advertising and Carrefour. By the end of the course, students should have a more critical understanding of our everyday lives and the rapidly-moving and seductive sights, sounds and activities of the consumer culture. Students are required to keep up with the readings, make in-class reports, conduct small-group projects, and turn in one final paper (6-10 pages).


Discussion website:

血拼魔 shopping mall

Selected Readings taken from:

  • Klein, Naomi. No Logo. New York: Picador,  2000, 2002.
  • Schor, Juliet B. & Douglas B. Holt, eds. The  Consumer Society Reader. New York:  New Press, 2000.

Tentative Schedule:

2-26 Introduction to the course
3-5 Consumer Society Reader vii-xxiii
3-12 Consumer Society Reader 3-19
3-19 Consumer Society Reader 81-98
3-26 Consumer Society Reader 99-114
4-2 Consumer Society Reader 169-184
4-9 Consumer Society Reader 196-204
4-16 Consumer Society Reader 306-328
【延伸閱讀:John Fiske受訪
4-23 Consumer Society Reader 331-342
4-30 Consumer Society Reader 433-445
5-7 Consumer Society Reader 454-462
補課No Logo 107-124
【延伸閱讀:Naomi Klein的介紹
5-14 No Logo 195-229
5-21 No Logo 279-309
(Instructor on Lecture Tour in Europe)
6-11 Help Session

Selected Readings taken from

  • Klein, Naomi. No Logo. New York: Picador,  2000, 2002.
  • Schor, Juliet B. & Douglas B. Holt, eds. The  Consumer Society Reader. New York:  New Press, 2000.

Useful and Interesting Links:

18世紀的「消費社會」是如何誕生的?諸多看似無關的發展,逐步匯集,都有助於創造利於消費心態具體實踐的氛圍。重點提要The Birth of a Consumer Society, Neil McKendrick, John Brewer, J. H. Plumb (Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1985).
The Ad*Access Project, funded by the Duke Endowment "Library 2000" Fund, presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.
We Adbusters are a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century. To this end, Adbusters Media Foundation publishes Adbusters magazine, operates this website and offers its creative services through PowerShift, our advocacy advertising agency.
Simple living is not about living in poverty or self-inflicted deprivation. Rather, it is about living an examined life -- one in which you have determined what is important, or "enough," for you, discarding the rest.