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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5502M Sustainable Consumption

15 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Lucie Middlemiss
Email: l.k.middlemiss@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE3202Sustainable Consumption

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Sustainable consumption means people living in a way that has minimal or positive impacts on the environment and other people. Some also argue that sustainable consumption represents an opportunity to improve people's quality of life. As such, a core focus of this module will be on how (and indeed whether!) we can change our current patterns of consumption to reduce our impact on the environment and improve people's lives. This is a multi-disciplinary module which describes, and then critically analyses the contributions of key disciplines and research topics in this field, considering the implications of each approach for implementing sustainable consumption in practice. This is a module which requires you to read widely, and engage critically with theory, through examples based in daily life.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students will have gained a deeper understanding of the role of consumption and consumer behaviour in sustainability, as well as the ability to apply that understanding in a practical setting. This will include:

- understanding the history, theories of social change, and key debates and concerns in the study of sustainable consumption;
- understanding the impacts of social difference and inequality on sustainable consumption interventions;
- applying these understandings to develop a critical appreciation of the role of consumption and the consumer in sustainability;
- demonstrating an understanding of the implications of academic knowledge for policy and practice on sustainable consumption.

Learning outcomes
Learning outcomes for the module include:

1. demonstrating an advanced understanding of concepts, information and techniques informed by knowledge at the forefront of sustainable consumption research.
2. evaluating current issues and research in sustainable consumption research.
3. recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles.
4. analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research.
5. taking a proactive and self-reflective role in working and developing professional relationships with others.
6. communicating complex topics to a range of audiences in innovative and creative ways.

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- a practical and working understanding of the tools that are available in promoting sustainability;
- the skills required to conduct multi-disciplinary research;
- recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles;
- applying knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems;
- planning, conducting and reporting on investigations, including the use of secondary data;
- communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical form.
- using the Internet critically as a means of communication.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- self direction and effective decision making in complex and unpredictable situations;
- independent learning and the ability to work in a way which ensures continuing professional development;
- critical engagement in the development of professional/disciplinary boundaries and norms.

The module places some emphasis on:
- collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
- recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members;
- developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills).


Syllabus

This is a multi-disciplinary module which describes, and then critically analyses the contributions of key disciplines and research topics in this field, considering the implications of each approach for implementing sustainable consumption in practice. This is a module which requires you to read widely, and engage critically with theory, through examples based in daily life.

In order to understand how people try to instigate change in the context of sustainable consumption, we will cover the following key topics:

- The history of research on (sustainable) consumption, and the environmental and social effects of consumption, including a particular focus on social difference and inequality;
- The theories of social change which explain the problem of unsustainable consumption and their implications for policy and practice. In this section of the module we draw on common explanations of the way people behave, and analyse these (and their implications) using social science theory from a number of disciplines (economics, psychology, sociology, political sciences, cultural studies).
- In the final part of the module we look at advances in sustainable consumption research which are attempting to think more radically about solutions to the problem of unsustainable consumption.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture141.0014.00
Seminar61.006.00
Tutorial31.003.00
Private study hours127.00
Total Contact hours23.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Preparation of submission for group assignment, reading for lecture and seminar preparation, and preparation of submission for individual assignment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

For the group project: formative feedback will be given during the three group tutorials which take place in weeks 1, 3 and 5.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group ProjectWeb-based information resource30.00
EssayReport (4,000 words)70.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2018

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