Television, Lifestyle & Consumer Culture

Subject CULS20014 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

Total expected time commitment is 102-hours across the semester, including class time.





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

CICU20017 Lifestyle and Consumer Culture; 106-226 Lifestyle and Consumer Culture

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Fran Martin

Assoc Prof Chris Healy

Subject Overview:

What is lifestyle? When and how did the concept develop, and what functions does it serve in consumer culture today? How is it represented and constructed through television? 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 and media we consume. It approaches lifestyle as the relatively recent invention of advertising, marketing, popular media and related institutions and 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 and media from Marxist accounts of commodity fetishism and alienated labour to contemporary television studies and 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, popular media 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.


On completion of the subject students should have:

  • an understanding of the historical, social, and cultural dimensions of modern consumer culture;
  • the ability to comprehend how modern consumer culture has produced the concept of 'lifestyle' as an amalgam of consumption, taste and individual identity;
  • the ability to appreciate the complex relationships between the economic structure of late capitalism and the cultural phenomenon of 'ifestyle';
  • familiarity with some of the major critical approaches to the study of consumer culture and be able to use these approaches in their own work.

An essay of 1000 words (25%) due mid-semester, an essay of 2000 words (45%) due in the examination period, a multimedia exercise (blog/wiki) equivalent to 1000 words (30%) done throughout the semester. This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% attendance and regular participation in tutorials. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass 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:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have acquired advanced research and analytic skills;
  • have developed critical and ethical self-awareness;
  • have acquired 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.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Cultural Studies Major
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major
Screen and Cultural Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

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