Lifestyle and Consumer Culture

Subject 106-226 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment: Not available

Usually fifty points of first year arts. Completion of either 106-101 Culture, Media & Everyday Life or 107-132 Introduction to Cinema Studies is strongly recommended.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Rowan Cameron Wilken


Rowan Wilkin

Subject Overview:

What is lifestyle? When and how did the concept develop, and what functions does it serve in consumer culture today? How does it relate to parallel concepts like taste, style and identity? This subject frames lifestyle as the site where consumer culture and individual identity intersect; where identities are produced through our interactions with the commodities we consume. It approaches lifestyle as the relatively recent invention of advertising, marketing, and related discourses, contextualizing it within the broader rise of modern consumer culture in order to provide a historical framework for understanding the rise and global spread of lifestyle culture today. The subject engages key theories for understanding consumer culture from Marxist accounts of commodity fetishism and alienated labour to contemporary social theories of DIY selves and reflexive individualism. On completion of this subject students should be able to analyse the complex relations between contemporary consumer culture, lifestyle discourse, and individual identity formation, and to trace the workings of these relations through selected cultural sites that may include advertisements, television programs, and Internet sites, and everyday practices like shopping.

Objectives: Students who successfuly complete thi subject will understand the historical, social, and cultural dimensions of modern consumer culture;
be able to comprehend how modern consumer culture has produced the concept of “lifestyle” as an amalgam of consumption, taste and individual identity;
be able to appreciate the complex relationships between the economic structure of late capitalism and the cultural phenomenon of “lifestyle”;
be familiar with some of the major critical approaches to the study of consumer culture and be able to use these approaches in their own work.
Assessment: An essay of 1000 words (25%) due mid-semester; an essay of 2000 words (50%) due at the end of the semester; a multimedia exercise (blog/wiki) equivalent to 1000 words (25%) done throughout the semester. Students must attend a minimum of 10 tutorials in order to submit their work for assessment. Students are advised to consult the following web address for details of assessment penalities which apply to this subject
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • acquire advanced research and analytic skills;

  • develop critical and ethical self-awareness;

  • acquire an ability to develop and communicate effective arguments in both oral and written form;

  • have acquired basic skills in media and information literacy and management.


This subject can be credited as an elective subject towards the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Gender Studies. This subject is available to students enrolled in the BA prior to 2008 at either 2nd or 3rd year level and can be credited to a major in either Cinema or Cultural Studies. Students who have completed 106-226 prior to 2009 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Cinema & Cultural Studies
Cinema and Cultural Studies
Cinema and Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies Major
Gender Studies
Gender Studies

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