YSS-31806 Consumer, Technology and Innovation


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work10
Course coordinator(s)dr. J van Berkel
Lecturer(s)dr. J van Berkel
ir. CAA Butijn
dr. ir. LPA Steenbekkers
J House
R Willmes
dr. MJJ Handgraaf
dr. HHS Moerbeek
dr. ir. MG Bulkens
Examiner(s)dr. J van Berkel

Language of instruction:


Continuation courses:

YSS-33306 Advanced Consumer Studies, MSc thesis COM, ECH, SCH, FQD


This course considers consumption, technology and innovation in relation to the ‘grand challenges’ of our times, such as climate change, public health, resource depletion, and food security. It explores a number of key questions: how does consumption relate to technology and innovation in the context of the grand challenges? Is innovation inherently good? Does it have unforeseen consequences? And what causes new technologies or other innovations to succeed or fail?
In addressing these and other questions, the course explores the interfaces between consumption, technology and innovation. Such issues are important for a scholarly understanding of consumption in contemporary society (in which technology and innovation are ubiquitous), but are also crucial for those who anticipate a future role involving the use, development, management or regulation of technologies and innovations.
Lectures explore the question of what technology and innovation ‘are’, and the various ways in which they relate to consumption and the grand challenges. The lectures approach these issues from different disciplinary perspectives – sociology, the user perspective, economics, and communication studies – and provide a general introduction to key theories and debates. They also demonstrate the practical utility of the theoretical approaches for understanding ‘real world’ examples.
In order to provide a clear picture of how each approach is distinct, the lectures will address some common themes. These include the effectiveness, success or failure of innovations; processes of invention and innovation; the relation between production and consumption; and the relation between society and the material world. The lectures will also examine different contexts relevant for an understanding of consumption, technology and innovation (e.g. individuals, households, society); consequences – intended or otherwise – of technology and innovation; and connections between everyday life, the broader socio-economic context in which consumption occurs, and the grand challenges faced by contemporary societies (e.g. health, the environment).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain consumption practices as consisting of both human and material factors;
- explain the dynamics behind differences in adoption of technology and innovations;
- interpret the household as a primary locus of consumption;
- analyse the interaction between human and material factors in consumption practices;
- evaluate the effects of consumption practices in the household to health and the environment;
- assess consumer perspectives in a specific domain of consumption or innovation;
- design and execute a research from a consumer perspective investigating a specific set of consumption practices in the household, in which both human and material factors are distinguished.


- lectures;
- group work;
- tutorials;
- assignments.


- written with open and/or closed questions (50%);
- group paper (50%).
Both components require a minimum of 5.50.


Literature will be posted in Brightspace.

Verplicht voor: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScB: Consumer Studies5MO
Keuze voor: MFQFood Quality ManagementMScC: User-Oriented Food Quality5MO