Francesca Setiffi (Università degli Studi di Padova)


From 13:30
to 18:00
From 13:30
to 18:00

Course description
Two main drivers of economic and social change are at the core of the course: digital transformation and environmental and social sustainability. The framework adopted to study these two processes of change is the consumer society within the capitalist framework. The course is divided into three macro-areas: the first is dedicated to defining the concept of lifestyle; the second focuses on defining the sharing economy and describing its social and economic implications; the third deals with the relationship between consumption and sustainability. The first macro-area discusses the relationship between consumption and social stratification, as well as the impact of globalization on individual lifestyles. Individual and collective lifestyles are clear expressions of self-identity and political participation. In this section, the course will give several examples of how health and politics matter to vegetarians and vegans. The second macro area introduces so-called "prosumer capitalism", one of the main features of the digital economy. An analysis of the sharing economy and data sharing is provided, with a particular focus on the differences between platform orientation and consumer orientation. Moreover, as life is increasingly shaped by the digital, the module explores the consequences of the proliferation of digital devices and self-tracking in everyday life, in terms of quantification, surveillance and gamification. Accordingly, the course analyses the "dark side" of digital innovations: power, social inequalities and access to innovations. The third macro area examines the relationship between consumer society and environmental sustainability. It aims to investigate: the social recognition of global and local food by consumers; how food practices can be useful to understand consumer responsibility (e.g., food waste practices, use of platforms to reduce food waste, etc..); and how the idea of nature is radically a cultural co-creation. Students will be involved in discussing Descola's concept of multinaturalism in order to understand the roots of the relationship between humans and nature and to try to interpret the social consequences of the Anthropocene.

Virtual component
Moodle and Zoom (or Google Meet) will be useful tools for engaging with students. The virtual part of the course will be specifically designed to facilitate a fruitful discussion with small groups of students who will submit a project awork as part of the final assessment.
All materials (videos and PPT files) can be downloaded from Moodle. The group work project and the individual essay will be submitted via Moodle.

Learning outcomes of the course
The course will enable students to:
- understand the main concepts of the sociological analysis in relation to the lifestyle, the consumption and the identity;
- carry out a project work on a cultural phenomenon;
- interpret how platforms affect the choices made by consumers; and
- understand the cultural roots of social and environmental sustainability.

Teaching and evaluation methods
Class lectures and group discussions on topics related to the course. Classes meet twice a week (9 hours per week) for 4 weeks so that students have time to read selected chapters and/or articles in advance. Assessment will be based on class participation (20%), individual assignment (40%) and project work (40%).

Lupton D., The Quantified Self. Polity. Polity, 2016 (selected chapters)
Schor, J. B., Ader the Gig. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2020 (selected chapters) Sassatelli R., Italians and Food. Palgrave (selected chapters).
van Dijck, J., Poell, T. and de Waal, M. The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2018 (selected chapters).

Other readings will be suggested based on the specific group work topics.



Last updated: March 12, 2024


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