Marketing and (Anti-)Consumerism, Revised program description, 8 and 12 credit hours.

This program (Fall Quarter 2010) will consider three basic themes: What is marketing? What is consumerism, and what is anti-consumerism?

For marketing: How do we explain consumer behavior in different cultures and subcultures around the world, and how should we interpret consumer behavior when we observe or document it? What are our responsibilities if we act as marketers studying, working and trying to affect consumer behavior? Similarly, when we observe or try to explain businesses and their employees marketing their products in our communities, or around the world, how should we interpret firm behavior and employee behavior? Are there any universal ethics, morals or responsibilities involved in marketing? And how should all of this affect you personally if you were to get a job or start up your own business and have to get involved in marketing something to someone?

For consumerism and anti-consumerism: What are the origins of consumerism and anti-consumerism? What relevance should they have for us as individuals, as members of our community or more broadly of our society? Should it matter if we are living in good economic times or bad when we make such judgments? How do these two phenomena influence us, and how do we in turn affect them in our individual, group and community actions (or inactions?) How should we characterize them, or determine their relevance for the lives we live or want to live?

These are broad and difficult questions to answer, and the faculty in this program will not pretend to have the answers. But by reading recent books and articles about these three themes, and pursuing individual and group research into topics about them, we hope to uncover more questions (and perhaps a few answers). We will employ traditional Evergreen learning approaches including seminar discussions, faculty lectures, and workshops to form multiple learning communities to explore the possibilities. Fall quarter will conclude with student presentations on their research. Students seeking additional credit in research in the social sciences or cultural studies (12 credit hours) will also complete scholarly work in the form of individual research papers, including citations and bibliographies.

Thus, the program will examine marketing as a practical as well as a critical area of inquiry, taking multiple disciplinary perspectives from our readings. Students will also be able to explore topics in marketing, consumerism and anti-consumerism through individual and group research efforts covering readings in the social sciences and cultural studies.