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University of Exeter Business School

Consumption, Markets and Culture

Module titleConsumption, Markets and Culture
Module codeBEMM164
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Miss Zahra Rebai ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

*Please note this module descriptor is for the 21/22 academic year*


This module will equip future marketing practitioners with the skills and knowledge to understand the interactions that occur between the market, consumers and the marketplace. The focus of this module centres on cultural approaches to understanding the relationship between consumers and brands. By focusing on key themes such as trust, choice and sustainability we will explore marketing in its historical and socio-cultural context.

A key part of our approach will be the Book Club. With a choice of popular texts, the Book Club will seek to understand, explore and share our understanding of some of the fundamental themes that impact upon marketing in the 21st century.  


A key consideration to consumption practices is the notion of sustainability. In this course we will consider the ethics surrounding consumption practices and its relationship to sustainable environments.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will equip future marketing practitioners with the skills and knowledge to understand the interactions that occur between the market, consumers and the marketplace. By examining the core themes that underpin modern consumption, students will gain a rich and deep understanding of consumer needs, marketplace practices and future challenges.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. have an understanding of marketing not just as a management practice but also as highly influential and intersecting with political, economic, technological and societal issues;
  • 2. devise, sustain and justify arguments relating to broader social issues relevant to marketing practice;
  • 3. have a clear grasp of a wide range of literature and debates associated with consumption, markets and culture;
  • 4. recognise the significance of particular theoretical and/or practical strands within recent marketing research.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. bring original ideas, and make some novel links between academic literature of a wide variety of forms and traditions;
  • 6. relate theories to specific case studies, research data, literature bases and also to mainstream political, cultural and popular discourse;
  • 7. sketch relatively large academic debates with clarity and coherence.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. have the practical ability to analyse, communicate and present ideas, theories and principles;
  • 9. have the initiative and ability to make connections and synthesise ideas and issues from a much larger body of work;
  • 10. develop independent/self-directed learning skills, including time management, working to deadlines, and keeping abreast of a wide range of literature.

Syllabus plan

The syllabus centres around the 5 key themes within the module. These are:

  • Sustainability
  • Culture & Identity
  • Choice
  • Privacy
  • Trust
  • Both the course content and the Book Club choices will examine and explore these 5 areas.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity20Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity6Tutortials
Guided Independent Study124Reading, researching and writing assignments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Participation in group workSeminars and 20 minute report back1-9In-class Verbal Feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay702,500 words1-10Written feedback
Reflection on group work301,250 words8-9Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay (70%)A re-submission of the Written Paper (2,500 words, 70%) 1-10Referral/Deferral Period
Reflection on group work (30%)Book report (1,250 words, 30%)8,9Referral/Deferral Period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Potential texts include:

Smart, B (2010) Consumer Society: critical Issues and environmental consequences. Sage. London

Sanborn, F.W. and Harris R.J. (2019) A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication: Second Edition. Routledge:Abingdon


Example Book Group texts include:

Carr, N G.(2010) The shallows :what the Internet is doing to our brains.  New York : W.W. Norton,

Schwartz, B. (2004) The paradox of choice : why more is less. New York :Ecco.

Botsman, R. (2018) Who can you trust. London: Penguin Books

Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Influence: Science and practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY, US: HarperCollins College Publishers.


Key words search

Consumption, consumer behaviour, marketing, consumer culture, marketing communications

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date