Theorizing Consumers and Consumption: Genealogy of Theory - 6 ECTS

This is an advanced course which is part of the WASS graduate programme in the MSc programmes MME, MID, MDR and MCH. This course is specifically intended for PhD candidates and MSc students who want to deepen their theoretical background in consumer studies theories and approaches. Consumers and consumption are central in multiple disciplines, e.g. economics, sociology, communication, product design, marketing and psychology. These disciplines bring their own traditions and background which energizes a multidisciplinary interest in consumers consumers and consumption.

Organisator Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

di 30 oktober 2018 tot do 6 december 2018

Locatie Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Wageningen

In this course we create awareness on how selected classical readings from the various disciplines constitute the foundation for many of the current perspectives in consumer studies. Students investigate ongoing effects of these classical texts in theoretical and empirical decisions in setting up consumer studies. Students are challenged to trace back the roots of their own research project to canonical texts.

The team of experienced lecturers provides and champions a broad range of classical readings. The proposed course covers classical works and authors going back to at least the 19th century. Several seminal contributions of important and relevant authors are taken as a starting point. We select the readings together with participants of the course.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  1. Distinguish the core themes of foundational authors on current discussions in consumer studies

  2. Assess the relevance and influence of classical theories for a research project in consumer studies

  3. Appraise the relevance and influence of classical theories for the design of experimental or other empirical data collection in a research project.

  4. Compare approaches from a case with other approaches and identify to what extent differences can be traced back to different classical theories and authors  


The course includes three different types of teaching and learning activities:

  • weekly meeting with an assigned supervisor (by appointment) to discuss progress, search strategies and writing of the paper.
  • two hour tutorials on Thursday afternoon in which students and faculty discuss the uncovered relations in the theory and how this relates to current status quo in the field. Nota bene that in these meeting interested faculty that is not supervising students is welcome to participate.
  • two hour coached writing groups on Tuesday in which students, under supervision of a moderator, discuss progress in the analysis and the writing of the individual paper

    In all three learning activities, the lecturing team encourages students to take an active role in order to get most out of it for their personal learning. Students will have to reflect on how a body of literature relating to consumer studies is impacting their research traditions.                                 

More information

Study Handbook