SCH-20806 Lifestyles and Consumption


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work8
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. S Wahlen
Lecturer(s)dr. S Wahlen
dr. ir. MG Bulkens
dr. C Sato
Examiner(s)dr. HM van der Horst
dr. S Wahlen

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

SCH-11806 Sociology of Business, Consumption and Economics and MCB-20806 Principles of Consumer Studies.


Consumers are often treated as individual decision makers, however their choices are in fact embedded in all sorts of social contexts. In this course consumption practices are placed in such contexts, at the level of the household, at the level of lifestyles and at the level of societal change. The household is an important context for consumption as this is where most consumption occurs, consumer decisions are made, routines are lived and the everyday takes place. At a larger scale lifestyles, shared by people who do not know each other, form an important context for consumption. Such lifestyles can be assessed empirically as patterns in consumption, but they also have a socially binding effect and structure consumption choices. People and households who share the same lifestyle tend to interact with each other and make similar choices when confronted with new consumption options. At a macro scale consumption and lifestyles are affected by societal transformations, including modernization, economic growth and crisis, and welfare arrangements. The course will connect concrete empirical examples of specific lifestyles, e.g. related to food and sustainable development with more abstract theoretical perspectives on consumer society.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand sociological perspectives on consumption and consumer society;
- distinguish relevant (social) contexts of consumption;
- analyse lifestyles and consumption patterns from a sociological perspective;
- evaluate the effect of societal transformations related to consumer society on lifestyles and consumption.


- lectures;
- tutorials;
- group assignments.


- written exam with open questions (60%);
- final group statement (40%);
To pass each component requires a minimum mark of 5.50 and sufficient contribution to group assignments and lecture and discussion attendance is mandatory.


To be announced.

Compulsory for: BBCManagement and Consumer StudiesBScB: Consumer Studies3WD
Restricted Optional for: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScB: Consumer Studies3WD
MFQFood Quality ManagementMScC: User-Oriented Food Quality3WD
Compulsory for: WUCBHBSc Minor Consumer Behaviour3WD