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Georgetown University


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Fall 2021
Jul 01, 2022
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Information Select the Course Number to get further detail on the course. Select the desired Schedule Type to find available classes for the course.

SOCI 226 - Consumerism/E.Asian Societies
Sociology Advanced Seminar: How do you feel about consumption? Hate shopping, hate spending money, or jump at the chance to window-shop, imaging what you might buy, who you might be? Some lament that consumption forces conformity to trends, others rejoice in the freedom to choose. Economists contend that consumption spurs growth, employment, and material welfare. Others counter that it fosters selfishness, waste and environmental degradation. Seems ironic that we all agree work is good, but not so consumption or even worse, consumerism. We seem to tolerate “over-working,” but not “hyper-consumption.” Consumerism in this course is the study of a way of life. It takes us beyond consumption or questions of what we purchase or how much we spend, to more fundamental issues of how and why we consume. Beyond attitudes or values of the individual, the study raises questions of equality, distribution, and justice in society. Both Korea and China stand apart from the Western experience of consumption in the pace of change, tensions over consumer individualism in traditional, communitarian cultures, and the prominent role of the state. A broad survey of consumption and the internet in China’s rapidly developing economy, draws us to status, lifestyle and identities. With South Korea, we turn to one major stream in Korean consumption, K-Pop. Both engage major concepts providing an analytic map for the course: reflexivity (Giddens), the public space (Habermas), cultural capital (Bourdieu), commodification (Marx), and rationalization & enchantment (Weber). This conceptual compass then guides us on a journey across consumption of space, technology, and fashion.
3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours

Levels: Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture, Seminar

Sociology Department

Course Attributes:
SFS/CULP Social Science, SFS/RCST Asia

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