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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE3202 Sustainable Consumption

10 creditsClass Size: 90

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

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Module replaces

SOEE3201

This module is not approved as a discovery module

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 key disciplines engaged in studying this issue (economics, psychology, sociology, cultural studies) considering the implications of these approaches for implementing sustainable consumption in practice. This is a reading module, and it requires you to engage intellectually with theory, through examples based in daily life. Sustainable consumption is a very well received module: for the past five years students have given very positive feedback, and the module has also been commended by external examiners. The student cohort includes students from the home school, and elective students, who perform equally well in the assignment.

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;
- developing 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
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- 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;
- analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
- preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages;
- referencing work in an appropriate manner.

The module places some emphasis on:
- developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills)

Skills outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- 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;
- receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual numerical, verbal, graphical);
- communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical form.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research;
- referencing work in an appropriate manner;
- using the Internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information.

The module places some emphasis on:
- collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
- collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory;
- preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages;
- identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles;
- recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members;
evaluating performance as an individual and a team member;
- developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills);
- identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development;
- developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.


Syllabus

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 key disciplines engaged in studying this issue (economics, psychology, sociology, cultural studies) considering the implications of these approaches for implementing sustainable consumption in practice. This is a reading module, and it requires you to engage intellectually 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 consumption, and the emergence of the topic of sustainable consumption,;
- the environmental and social effects of consumption;
- the theories of social change which relate to consumption and their implications, drawing on economics, psychology, sociology and cultural studies. This includes lectures about theory, which start with common understandings of how the world works, then introducing the theoretical and empirical evidence that supports or contradicts these understandings.

Lectures include:

• People don’t understand
• People are selfish
• It’s all about values
• We don’t have a choice
• It’s the system stupid
• Consumption matters!

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Workshop61.006.00
Lecture141.0014.00
Private study hours80.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Reading/Assignment Preparation - 80 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

In one of the workshop sessions we look at a range of previous assignment submissions by former students and mark them against the assignment criteria. This will help you understand what we are looking for in the final assessment.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportIndividual report 3,000 words100.00
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: 10/08/2020 08:46:34

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