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Social Structure and Consumer Sociology

Code: 103131 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2501935 Advertising and Public Relations FB 1 1


Josep Verdaguer Lozano

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


Introductory subject. There are no prerequisites.

Objectives and Contextualisation

Consumption is a fundamental cultural and economic practice. Students cannot confine themselves to understand it as the result of individual needs, desires and decisions, nor as the exclusive consequence of the intervention of powerful offer instances to demand. In this module we propose studying the use of goods in the context of society as a social interaction system and a social structure.
Our goal is to introduce a series of sociological theories and concepts in order to facilitate an approximation to the social dimension of consumption, and to initiate some ways to approach reality of contemporary consumption empirically, in order to see these conceptual apparatuses shown as theories of consumption practices.



  • Describe the main consumption and lifestyle trends of modern societies in Western markets.
  • Introduce changes in the methods and processes of the field of knowledge to provide innovative responses to the needs and demands of society.
  • Rigorously apply scientific thinking.
  • Students can apply the knowledge to their own work or vocation in a professional manner and have the powers generally demonstrated by preparing and defending arguments and solving problems within their area of study.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  • Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  • Take account of social, economic and environmental impacts when operating within one's own area of knowledge.
  • Take sex- or gender-based inequalities into consideration when operating within one's own area of knowledge.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse a situation and identify its points for improvement.
  2. Analyse the indicators of sustainability of academic and professional activities in the areas of knowledge, integrating social, economic and environmental dimensions.
  3. Analyse the sex- or gender-based inequalities and the gender biases present in one's own area of knowledge.
  4. Consider how gender stereotypes and roles impinge on the exercise of the profession.
  5. Critically analyse the principles, values and procedures that govern the exercise of the profession.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of tools for studying the media consumption habits of given audiences.
  7. Explain the explicit or implicit code of practice of one's own area of knowledge.
  8. Identify situations in which a change or improvement is needed.
  9. Identify the principal forms of sex- or gender-based inequality and discrimination present in society.
  10. Identify the social, economic and environmental implications of academic and professional activities within one's own area of knowledge.
  11. Propose new methods or well-founded alternative solutions.
  12. Propose viable projects and actions to boost social, economic and environmental benefits.
  13. Propose ways to evaluate projects and actions for improving sustainability.
  14. Rigorously apply scientific thinking.
  15. Students can apply the knowledge to their own work or vocation in a professional manner and have the powers generally demonstrated by preparing and defending arguments and solving problems within their area of study.
  16. Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  17. Students must be capable of communicating information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialised and non-specialised audiences.
  18. Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
  19. Students must have and understand knowledge of an area of study built on the basis of general secondary education, and while it relies on some advanced textbooks it also includes some aspects coming from the forefront of its field of study.
  20. Weigh up the impact of any long- or short-term difficulty, harm or discrimination that could be caused to certain persons or groups by the actions or projects.


1. The place from which we will look at the consumption: the sociological perspective.
2. Social and historical specificity of consumption.
3. Overview of some of the fundamental sociological inputs for the study of consumption.
4. The consumption of merchandises.
5. The consumption of signs and symbols.
6. Consumption and the search for identity.
7. Consumption and social position.

The calendar detailed with the content of the different sessions will be presented on the day of presentation of the subject. It will be uploaded to the Virtual Campus, where students will also be able to access the detailed description of the exercises and practices, the various teaching materials, and any necessary information for the proper follow-up of the subject.


a. Conferences
b. Seminars
c. Practical exercises in the classroom.
d. Individual meetings and small groups.
e. Reading texts and working with audiovisual material.
f. Individual and team work


Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Lessons, seminars, task orientation. 52.5 2.1 14, 6
Type: Supervised      
Individual meetings or in small groups to resolve doubts and prepare and follow up study, small researches and class exhibitions. 7.5 0.3 14, 6
Type: Autonomous      
Reading and study. Small researches. Elaboration of evidences. 82.5 3.3 14, 6


The subject consists of the following evaluation activities:
a) 2 conceptual maps. Individual. Value 10% of the final grade. To be evaluated, you must have attended classes regularly (75%).
b) 2 conceptual maps. Group. Value 10% of the final grade. To be evaluated, you must have attended the classes regularly (75%).
c) Small empirical research and presentation in classroom. The presentation must be submitted. Group. Value 17,5% of the final grade. To be evaluated, you must have attended the classes regularly (75%).
d) Research that will be required to submit the report and make its exhibition. Group. Value 22,5% of the final grade.
e) A reasoned written exam. In order to make the average it will be necessary a grade equal or superior than 4. Individual. Value 40% of the final grade.

Teacher will provide during the course all instructions regarding practices and evaluation of evidences.


Other considerations:

  • The student will be entitled to the revaluation of the subject if he or she has been evaluated of the set of activities the weight of which equals a minimum of 2/3 of the total grade of the subject. To have access to revaluation, the previous grades average should be minimum 3,5. The activities that are excluded from the revaluation process are b), c) and d).
  • The student who performs any irregularity (copy, plagiarism, identity theft...) that can lead to a significant variation of the qualification of an evaluation act, will be qualified with 0 this act of evaluation. In case there are several irregularities, the final grade of the subject will be 0. To avoid plagiarism, see https://www.uab.cat/doc/GuiaCitesiPlagiEstudiants
  • In accordance with article 117.2 of the UAB Academic Regulations, the assessment of repeat studentsmay consist of a single synthesis test. Repeating students who want to take advantage of this opportunity should contact the teacher at the beginning of the course.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Exhibition and delivery of evidences. 60% 3.75 0.15 5, 2, 3, 1, 14, 6, 7, 10, 9, 8, 13, 11, 12, 19, 18, 17, 15, 16, 4, 20
Reasoned written exam 40% 3.75 0.15 5, 14, 6, 10, 19, 18, 17


Texts to be worked on in each subsection subject and specific bibliography for the practices will be facilitated in the classroom and Virtual Campus.

ALDRIDGE, A., Consumption, Oxford: Polity Press. 2003.

APPADURAI, A. La vida social de las cosas. Mèxic: Grijalbo, 1991.

BARTHES, R. El Sistema de la moda y otros escritos. Barcelona: Paidós, 2003

BATAILLE, G., et al. La parte maldita. Buenos Aires, Las Cuarenta, 2009.

BAUDRILLARD, J. Crítica de la economía política del signo. México, Siglo XXI, 2005

BAUDRILLARD, J. La génesis ideológica de las necesidades. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1976

BAUDRILLARD, J. La sociedad de consumo: Sus mitos, sus estructuras. Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1974

BAUDRILLARD, J. El sistema de los objetos. Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1999.

BAUDRILLARD, J. El Intercambio simbólico y la muerte. Caracas : Monte Avila, 1993                                        

BAUMAN, Z. . "De la ética del trabajo a la estética del consumo a  Bauman, Z.,  Trabajo, consumismo y nuevos pobres. Barcelona: Gedisa, 2000. https://elibro.net/es/lc/uab/titulos/44351                                                                                                           

BAUMAN, Z. Vida de Consumo, Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2007 https://elibro.net/es/lc/uab/titulos/109484

BELL, D. Las contradicciones culturales del capitalismo. Madrid: Alianza, 1982.

BERGER, P. Invitació a la sociologia, Barcelona: Herder, 2016.

BLUM, V. L. Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery, University of California Press, 2005

BLUMER, H. Fashion: From Class Differentiation to Collective Selection, a Sociological Quarterly 10, pp. 275-291

BOCOCK,R., El consumo. Madrid: Talasa, 1995

BOURDIEU, P. , "Notas provisionales sobre la percepción social del cuerpo" a  Alvarez Uria, F. i Varela, J. Materiales de sociología crítica. Madrid: La Piqueta, 1986

BOURDIEU, P. La distinción: Criterios ybases sociales del gusto. Madrid: Taurus, 1998.                                   

BOURDIEU, P. La dominación masculina. Barcelona: Anagrama, 2000.

CAMPBELL, C. "The Sociology of Consumption." a Acknowledging Consumption, D. Miller(editor), Londres: Routledge, 1995 https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/UAB/detail.action?docID=3060371 

CAMPBELL, C. The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987 https://link-springer-com.are.uab.cat/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-79066-4    

CARDÚS, S. (Ed.). (2014). La mirada del sociòleg: què és, què fa, què diu la sociologia?. Editorial UOC. https://elibro.net/es/lc/uab/titulos/114061

CHANEY, D., Estilos de vida .Madrid : Talasa Ediciones, S.L.

CONTRERAS, J. Alimentación y cultura. Necesidades, gustos y costumbres. Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona ,1995.

CONTRERAS, J. Antropología de la alimentación. Madrid : Ediciones de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid , 1992

CORRIGAN, P. The sociology of consumption : an introduction. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif., Sage Publications, 1997

DE CERTEAU, M, La Invención de lo cotidiano, Universidad Iberoamericana,1996

DOUGLAS, M. Estilos de pensar. Barcelona: Gedisa, 1998.

DOUGLAS, M. & ISHERWOOD, B. El Mundo de los bienes : hacia una antropología del consumo. México, D.F.: Grijalbo, 1990.                                                                                                                                            

DUNN, Robert G. Identifying Consumption : Subjects and Objects in Consumer Society, Temple University Press, 2008. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/UAB/detail.action?docID=407558 

EDWARDS, T., Contradictions of consumption: concepts, practices and politics in consumer society. Open University Press,2000

ERNER, G., Sociología de las tendencias, Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili, 2010 https://elibro.net/es/ereader/uab/45583?page=1 

ENTWISTLE, J. El cuerpo y la moda, Barcelona: Paidós, 2002

FALK, P. The consuming body. Londres: Sage, 1994 https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.are.uab.cat/lib/UAB/detail.action?docID=1024053# 

FALK, P. and CAMPBELL, C. The shopping experience. Londres: Sage, 1997. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/UAB/detail.action?docID=1001336                                                

FEATHERSTONE, M. Cultura de consumo y posmodernismo. Buenos Aires : Amorrortu, 2000

FOUCAULT, M. Historia de la sexualidad . Mèxic: Siglo XXI. . 1978-1987

FRASER, M., GRECO, M. The Body: A Reader, London, Routledge, 2004.

GALBRAITH, J. K. La cultura de la satisfacción. Barcelona: Ariel, 1992.

GALBRAITH, J. K . La sociedad opulenta. Barcelona: Ariel, 1969.

GERMOV, J., WILLIAMS, L. (eds.), A Sociology of Food and Nutrition: The Social Appetite, OUP Australia, 2004.                                                                                                                 

GAME, Ann, et al. Sociología apasionada. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, 2015. Digitalia, https://www-digitaliapublishing-com.are.uab.cat/a/37969                                                                                               

GIDDENS, A. Modernidad e identidad del yo. Barcelona: Península, 1995.                                                                                                                                                                 

GRIGNON, C. y PASSERON, J.C.,  Lo culto y lo popular: Miserabilismoy Populismo en Sociología y Literatura. Madrid: La Piqueta,1992                                                                                                                                                      

HARRIS, M.,  Bueno para comer. Enigmas de alimentación y cultura. Madrid: Alianza Editorial S.A,1998.                                                                                                                                                          

HEBDIGE, D. Subcultura : el significado del estilo. Barcelona: Paidós Ibérica, S.A., 2004.                                 

HERPIN, N. i D. VERGER, Consommation et modes de vie en France,une approche Économique et sociologique sur un demi-siècle, París: Découverte,2008                                                 

HERPIN, N., Sociologie de la consommation, París: La Découverte,2010                                                             

HILTON, M.,  "The Legacy of Luxury. Moralities of consumption since the 18th century" a Journal of Consumer Culture Vol 4: 101–123

HINE, T.,  ¡Me lo Llevo! Una Historia del Shopping, Barcelona: Lumen. 2002

HOCHSCHILD, A.R.,  La Mercantilización de la vida íntima: Apuntes de la Casa y el Trabajo, Madrid: Katz 2008

HORKHEIMER, M. y ADORNO, T.W.,  Dialéctica de la Ilustración. Madrid: Trotta, 1994. HORNE, J.,  Sport in consumer culture, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE CONSUMO. Las tendencias del consumo y del consumidor en el siglo XXI. Madrid: Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo/Instituto Nacional de Consumo, 2001.

JAMESON, F.,  "El posmodernismo y la sociedad de consumo" a Jameson, F. El giro cultural. Escritos seleccionados sobre el posmodernismo: 1983-1998.  Buenos Aires: Ediciones Manantial, 1998

KLEIN, N., NoLogo: El Poder de las Marcas, Barcelona, Paidós, 2001

LEE, M. J., The consumer society reader. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Inc, 2000     LIPOVETSKY, G.,  El crepúsculo del deber. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1994.

LIPOVETSKY, G.,  El imperio de lo efímero: La moda y su destino en las sociedades modernas. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1990.

LIPOVETSKY, G. La era del vacío: Ensayos sobre el individualismo contemporáneo. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1989.

LURY, C. Consumer culture. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001.                                                                                  

LURY, C. Brands : The Logos of the Global Economy, Taylor & Francis Group, 2004 https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/UAB/detail.action?docID=182219 

MCCRACKEN, G. D. Culture and Consumption,New Approaches to the Symbolic Character of Consumer Goods and Activities, Indiana University Press,1990                                                                                                 

MAFFESOLI, M. El tiempo de las tribus. Barcelona: ICARIA, 1990.

MARCUSE, H. L'home unidimensional. Barcelona: Edicions 62.

MARX, K., Manuscrits econòmico-filosòfics. Barcelona : Edicions 62, 1991

MAUSS, M., "Ensayo sobre los dones. Motivo y forma del cambio en las sociedades primitivas" a Mauss, M. Sociología y Antropología. Madrid: Tecnos, 1991.

MIGUÉLEZ, F. et al. Desigualtat i canvi. L'estructura social contemporània. Barcelona, Proa-UAB, 1997

MILLER, D., (editor) Acknowledging Consumption. Routledge,  1995. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/UAB/detail.action?docID=3060371 

MILLER, D., Ir de compras. Siglo XXI Editores. 1999.

MILLER, D., (Ed.) Home Possession: Material culture behind closed doors. Oxford: Berg, 2001

MILLER, D., The Comfort of Things. Cambridge: Polity, 2008

MILLER, D., Stuff. Cambridge: Polity, 2010

MILLER, D., Consumption and its Consequences. Cambridge: Polity, 2012.

PINÇON, M., & M. Dans les beaux quartiers, Paris, Seuil, 1989.

POLANYI,K., La gran transformación, Madrid, Ediciones la Piqueta, 1997                                                        

POULAIN, J. (2019). Sociologías de la alimentación: los comensales y el espacio social alimentario. Editorial UOC. https://elibro.net/es/lc/uab/titulos/106129 

RIESMAN, d. Et altr. La muchedumbre solitaria, Barcelona: Paidós, 1981

RITZER, G., El encanto de un mundo desencantado. Revolución en los medios de consumo. Barcelona: Ariel, 2000.

RITZER, G., La McDonalización de la sociedad: Un análisis de la racionalización en la vida cotidiana. Barcelona: Ariel, 1999.

RITZER, G. Explorations in the sociology of consumption : fast food, credit cards and casinos. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif., SAGE, 2001 https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/UAB/detail.action?docID=254783 

SASSATELLI, R., Consumo, cultura y sociedad, Amorrortu Editores, 2012.                                                    

SASSATELLI, R., Italians and Food, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019   https://link-springer-com.are.uab.cat/book/10.1007%2F978-3-030-15681-7#about

SCHOR, J., B. Holt, B. Douglas (Eds.), The Consumer Society. Nova York: The New Press, 2000

SIMMEL, G. . "Las grandes urbes y la vida del espíritu" a El individuo y la libertad. Ensayos de crítica de la Cultura. Barcelona: Península, 1986.

SIMMEL, G. . Filosofía del dinero. Madrid:Instituto de Estudios Políticos, 1977.                                              

SIMMEL, G. ."La moda". a Simmel, G. Sobre la aventura. Ensayos filosóficos. Barcelona: Península, 1989.

SLATER, D. Consumer Culture and Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997.

STILLERMAN, J. The sociology of consumption : a global approach. Malden, MA, Polity Press, 2015

THOMPSON, E.P. Costumbres en común, Barcelona: Crítica, 1995

TURNER, B.S . El cuerpo y la sociedad. Exploraciones en teoría social. México: FCE, 1989.

WARDE, Alan, Consumption. A Sociological Analysis, Londres: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 https://link-springer-com.are.uab.cat/book/10.1057/978-1-137-55682-0#toc                                                                            

VEBLEN, T. Teoría de la clase ociosa. México: FCE, 1974   https://elibro.net/es/lc/uab/titulos/72032                                                                                                                    

WEBER, M. L'Ètica protestant i l'esperit del capitalisme. Barcelona : Edicions 62, 1984.                                   

WILSON, T. M., Drinking Cultures, Alcohol and Identity, Berg,2005.                                                                                                                    

ZELIZER, V., Pricing the Priceless Child. The Changing Social Value of Children, Princeton University Press,1994.


No specific software is required.