Individual Assignment (50% of the final mark)


Choose ONE of the following modes of cultural activity:
• Christmas
• Weddings
• Birthday parties
• Baby showers
• Hen-do or Bachelor party
• Valentine’s day
and analyse it in terms of the classical/psychological perspective and of the cultural perspective in consumer research. Critically discuss how this cultural activity has become so embedded in consumer culture in how it is experienced within consumer culture (including media representations, products, experiences and emotions), that has become a consumption fantasyland.
1. Issues that you could consider when analysing this cultural activity:
• How this cultural activity has changed over time (becoming more and more linked with consumer culture);
• How it is practiced in different places (it could be places in the same country or in different countries);
• The role of hedonic consumption (aesthetics and emotions) associated with this cultural activity;
• The role of class in how the activity is ‘consumed’ (that is the different products and experiences it involves);
• The role of the self and identity in the consumption experience of this activity;
• How the markets contribute to making these cultural activities ‘sites of consumption’;
• Issues around the ethics of consumption associated with this cultural activity;
• Other social, cultural and economic issues arising from this cultural activity.

2. You MUST discuss the cultural activity of your choice providing evidence of searching the literature. These are popular topics in consumer research and you need to show that you have researched this topic thoroughly.

3. You can either divide your essay in the two perspectives in consumer research or blend them together while exploring the topic. Make sure you identify the perspectives when making your arguments, as being able to distinguish between the perspectives is an element of the assessment.

4. Together with providing examples of previous research on the cultural event of your choice you could provide your own examples of experiencing such event/celebration.

5. You should also consider how these events/celebrations can be further researched within the consumer culture field.

The following points may help you to produce a good piece of work:
• You must address the question asked and not try to re-define it or state it in more general terms, in an attempt to allow you to write about something else. In order to remind yourself of this, always put the question addressed at the beginning of your work. ‘Not answering the question’ will result in a significant loss of marks.
• You must demonstrate ability to synthesize key theories and concepts and develop key themes and/or arguments.
• Your essay must be supported by illustrative examples and/or case studies. You are allowed to use supporting media and/or materials (such as images, sound and other medium).
• Being asked to discuss something is not the same as being asked to list statements. A discussion will consider alternative points of view and your own thinking and evaluation should be apparent in the discussion of the topic.
• Your essay must be properly referenced:
• only sources referred to specifically in the text of your answer should be included in the bibliography;
• all sources (including those for any pictures or diagrams used) should be acknowledged;
• there should be no references in your answer to sources which are not in your bibliography BUT if you have not consulted the reference directly yourself you should indicate in the text of your answer the secondary source from which is comes. It is this secondary source that should be in your bibliography.
• Listing a reference in the bibliography does not make it acceptable to copy sections of the book/article into your answer unless it is explicitly stated as a quotation. You must summarise the points in your own words. Plagiarism is regarded as a most serious instance of academic misconduct and is dealt with accordingly.
• It is expected that you will consult academic and professional journals as well as textbooks. Many textbooks cover much the same information so consulting many different textbooks only results to duplicating this information. Textbooks tend not to have very up to date content and journal sources are vital for this.
In total then, your assignment should be no less than 2000 words and no longer than 2500. It should be double-spaced, presented in Times New-Roman using font size 12. You should use the Harvard style of referencing (no footnotes please) and include a properly presented reference list. Please spell-check your work before submission. Departmental policy regarding extensions, late submissions and plagiarism apply. Please consult the Departmental handbook. Please see your programme handbook for more guidance and for more information on grading criteria.

Below are a few tips about writing essays.
Criteria for a good essay:
• Evidence of reading beyond standard textbooks and lecture notes.
• Coherent, comprehensive, and reflective critique of existing ideas and literature.
• Accurate understanding of key concepts and ideas.
• Imagination and originality.
• Application of key concepts through illustrative example.
• Clear development of the argument(s) contained in the essay. The essay should flow in a way that enables any reader to follow the argument(s) and see how the various points made are being used to answer the question.

For example, when you write your essay, consider the following points:
• Before you write your essay, work out on paper a detailed outline of your argument.
• In the essay introduction, you should set out your main themes and intentions: describe the issue you are addressing, the illustrative case or contexts you are going to discuss (if any), identify its main components, and indicate what you are going to do in the body of your essay.
• Break down your arguments into main parts – use this as a basis of your essay that will then be divided up into several sections (you may want to have a section title for each section).
• Build up your argument point-by-point, section-by-section, so that you develop a picture that slowly develops in the reader’s mind.
• Always try to put yourself in the position of a critical reader, ask yourself how s/he would react to your essay, how s/he would understand it and be persuaded by it.
• Do not simply describe the ideas and literature you’re dealing with, provide a critical evaluation.
• Summarise your arguments in conclusion. What is the main significance of what you have been saying?

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