College of Arts and Sciences | Global Consumer Culture
E104 | 17202 | Wilk

COLL-E104 17202 Global Consumer Culture (Rick Wilk) (S & H) (3 cr.)
1:25PM - 2:15PM MW
See Schedule of Classes for discussion section times

Does everyone in the world wear Nike and eat at McDonalds? Is the
planet going to become one big shopping mall, full of people who
listen to the same music and watch the same movies? Or is the world
entering a period of tribalism and fundamentalism, as nations break
apart and everyone scrambles for their own piece of territory?
Scholars simply donít agree. We have to look at the evidence, listen
to the arguments, and try to figure out what kind of world we will
be living in during the next century.

One thing is clear: consumer culture Ė lives built around the media,
celebrities, mass-produced goods, and shopping malls Ė is spreading
everywhere. Can the earth sustain seven billion consumers, their
cars, refrigerators, and appetites? Many ecologists donít think so.
Does the spread of consumer culture mean the end of cultural,
religious, and linguistic diversity, of families and communities?
Would anyone want to live in a world where Indianapolis, Tokyo,
Bombay, and Paris looked, sounded, and tasted the same? Social
science does suggest some ways that people in different parts of the
world are using to preserve their own unique heritage, knowledge,
and taste.

This course will examine the evidence for the spread of global
consumer culture, looking at the ways that people around the world
have learned to be consumers. We will ask the tough questions about
the future, about the environmental impacts of consumption, and the
way our own cups of coffee and running shoes tie us together with a
whole globe of other producers and consumers.