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2016/2017  KAN-CCMVV4017U  Consumer Culture Theory (CCT)

English Title
Consumer Culture Theory (CCT)

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Hanne Pico Larsen - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
Main academic disciplines
  • Marketing
Last updated on 26-04-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: The aim of the course is, on the one hand, to introduce students to the fundamental theoretical frameworks within the field of Consumer Culture Theory; and, on the other, to have students apply these frameworks and critically reflect upon some of the most typical phenomena in consumer culture of today. More specifically, having completed the course students are expected to:
  • Describe and explain the fundamental theoretical concepts and frameworks within the field of Consumer Culture Theory conceptualizing the consumer, culture, consumption and marketing as well as the relationship between them
  • Apply these different theoretical concepts and frameworks on some typical phenomena in consumer culture of today in order to describe and analyze these phenomena
  • Apply these different theoretical concepts and frameworks on some typical phenomena in consumer culture of today and critically reflect on how different frameworks affect the analysis
  • Critically reflect on theoretical and practical aspects the field of Consumer Culture Theory and its relation to adjacent fields.
Consumer Culture Theory:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Report
Duration 48 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
* if the student fails the ordinary exam the course coordinator chooses whether the student will have to hand in a revised product for the re- take or a new project.
Course content and structure

The aim of the course is to introduce students to Consumer Culture Theory (CCT), a family of theoretical approaches viewing consumption not as an individual need-fulfilling activity but as a way to construct and communicate meaning in society.Consumer culture can be described as the context where this meaning construction and communication takes place. In consumer culture, consumers as well as public and commercial actors of different sorts are in a constant process of negotiating the meanings of things and services and students are introduced to theories investigating these negotiation processes. Upon completing the course, students should be able to understand the role which companies and consumers as well as public institutions play in consumer culture. Students will reflect and apply the knowledge about various CCT theories learned through textbooks and academic journal articles. The CCT perspective is of uttermost importance to marketers working in an increasingly uncertain and complex world of marketing practices, facing various ethical, moral and social dilemmas as part and parcel of their marketing work.
The course will cover the following areas:
·         Theoretical approaches to consumption;
·         The role of marketing in consumer culture;
·         Critical approaches to marketing and consumption
·         The history of consumer culture;
·         Consumption, modernism and postmodernism;
·         Needs and wants;
·         Branding, identities and meaning ;
·         Advertising, semiotics and meaning;
·         Consumer resistance;
·         Ethics and globalization

Teaching methods
The course is designed to be highly interactive and build upon principles of active learning. Students are expected to comment on readings, and are invited to do group exercises throughout the course.
Key theoretical frameworks, concepts and issues in consumer culture theory, will be discussed in more traditional lecture based presentations from the course instructor.

During the seminars, students are expected to be prepared for discussions of relevant topics based on mandatory as well as optional readings.
To stimulate seminar discussions, prior to each seminar students are expected to provide a written answer, between 300 and 500 words in Word format (no PDF’s), based on a reading question.
Student workload
Forberedelse 123 hours
Undervisning 33 hours
Eksamen 50 hours
Expected literature

Ellis, N. et al. (2011), Marketing: A Critical Textbook, Los Angeles, London, New York: Sage.
McCracken, Grant (1988), Culture and Consumption: New Approaches to Symbolic Character of Consumer Goods and Activities, Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Allen, Chris, Susan Fournier & Felicia Miller (2008), Brands and Their Meaning Makers, in Curtis P Haugtvedt, Paul Herr & Frank R Kardes (eds), Handbook of Consumer Psychology (New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), pp. 781-821.
Arnould, Eric J. & Craig J. Thompson (2005), “Consumer Culture Theory (CCT): Twenty Years of Research,” Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 31 (March): 868-882.
Bardi, Fleura, Jacob Ostberg & Anders Bengtsson (2010), “Negotiating cultural boundaries: food, travel and consumer identities,” Consumption Markets & Culture, 13 (2): 133–157.
Brown, Stephen (1993), “Postmodern Marketing?,” European Journal of Marketing, 27 (4): 19-35.
Featherstone, Mike (1988), “In pursuit of the postmodern,” Theory, Culture & Society, 5 (2/3): 195-216.
Holt, Douglas B. (2002), “Why do brands cause trouble? A dialectical theory of consumer culture and branding,” Journal of Consumer Research, 29 (1): 70-90.
Kjeldgaard, D. & J. Östberg (2007), “Coffee grounds and the global cup: Glocal consumer culture in Scandinavia,” Consumption, Markets & Culture, 10 (2): 175-187.
Mick, D. (1986), “Consumer research and semiotics: Exploring the morphology of signs, symbols and significance,” Journal of Consumer Research, 13 (September): 196-214.
Muniz, Albert M. J. & Thomas C. O’Guinn, 2001, “Brand Community,” Journal of Consumer Research, 27 (March): 412-432.
Ozanne, Julie L. & Murray, Jeff B (1995), “Uniting critical theory and public policy to create the reflexively defiant consumer,” American Behavioral Scientist, 38 (4): 516-25.
Scott, Linda M. (1992), “Playing with Pictures: Postmodenrism, Poststructuralism, and Advertising Visuals,” Advances in Consumer Research, eds. John Sherry and Brian Sternthal, Provo: UT: 596-612.
Thompson, Craig & Arsel, Zeynep (2004), “The Starbucks Brandscape and Consumers' (Anticorporate) Experiences in Glocalization,” Journal of Consumer Research, 31 (December): 631-42.

Last updated on 26-04-2016