YSS-31806 Consumer, Technology and Innovation


Studiepunten 6.00

Group work10
Course coordinator(s)dr. J van Berkel
Lecturer(s)three lecturers need to be replaced
dr. ir. LPA Steenbekkers
J House
dr. J van Berkel
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 theoretical accounts – e.g. 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 the use of consumer technology on different levels (e.g. societal level, household level, individual level);
- explain the dynamics behind differences in the adoption of consumer technologies and innovations;
- explain how consumer technology and innovation can influence societal dynamics;
- analyse the interaction between human and material factors in consumer technology use to steer innovation;
- evaluate effects of consumer technology and innovation on health, food security, and sustainability using different theoretical accounts;
- design and execute a research from a consumer perspective, investigating a societal relevant consumer technology or innovation, combining multiple theoretical accounts.


- lectures;
- tutorials;
- group assignment.


- 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: Spec. B - Consumer Studies5MO
Keuze voor: MFQFood Quality ManagementMScC: Spec. C - User-Oriented Food Quality5MO