The Consumer Society

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2012
Prothro-Yeager Hall
Classroom Number
PY 100
Days & Times

Mon. and Wed. from 1:00-2:20

Dr. Beverly L. Stiles (view Profile)


Course Objectives



  1.  You should develop an understanding of some key theoretical debates in consumption studies
  2. You should be able to critically analyze many of the things related to consumerism that go unnoticed in everyday life.  This is the insight of sociology. (Consumerism is defined as the acts of selling, purchasing, and consuming).
  3. You should deepen your understanding and analysis of the reasons for and impacts of consumerism on a personal and cultural level.
  4. You should learn a great deal about yourself and your relationship to the culture in which you live.
  5. You should be better informed about the social forces that drive consumption and how you are manipulated by them.
  6. You should learn about ways to resist consumerism if you should choose to do so, or even if you choose not to alter your behavior.


Significant changes are taking place in American society and culture as the economic base continues the shift from the production of goods to consumption of goods, as well as to the consumption images and information.  This is an excellent time to take a course on this topic, given the current state of our economy.  I am concerned and curious about consumerism, including credit and debt, my own and that of our culture.   Like you, I am a consumer.  I too am barraged with advertising messages telling me to buy and consume (clothes, travel, food, entertainment, housing, pharmaceuticals, perfumes, etc. etc.)!!!  I am so excited about this course and this material too.

Course Expectations


            You will have two grades:



 Your first grade is comprised of 10 pop quizzes to equal one test grade.  I will actually give 11 or 12 quizzes, but will drop the lowest one or two, depending on how many are given over 10.  Each quiz will  be worth 10 points.  Ten quizzes, each worth 10 points, equals 100 points (Grade 1)


This is comprised of a Journal that will be turned in 3 times for grading (The dates for turning the Journals in are in bold).  This is worth 40 points (20 points for the first journal assignment and 10 points for each of the other two). If it isn’t turned in at the beginning of class, you will be docked half of the points for that assignment automatically. If it doesn’t have the required assignments “thoroughly” completed, you will also lose half of the points automatically.  By “thoroughly” I mean that I want some depth and real thought in your responses. If you turn a journal assignment in not completed (with questions unanswered), you will earn a zero for that journal. You have the listed required journal assignments, but you may also choose to record other observations or thoughts related to your increasing awareness of consumer issues.

You will also have two additional writing assignments that will also be worth 30 points each (60 points total for the writing assignments). If the writing assignments are not turned in in at the beginning of the class period that they are due, you will be docked 10 points.  I will not accept papers after the day they are due.  You will be required to have *emailed* the paper to me *prior* to coming to class as well.

“Possible” additional Bonus Points:  Bring your journal to class each day.  In addition to turning your journal in 3 times during the semester, I will randomly check to see that your journal is current, if it is then you can earn a point each time that I check.


Grading Standards

See expectations for grading standards.

Final Exam

12/10/2012 3:30 papers due

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

No late papers accepted

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements


You’ll find a high correlation between attendance and class grade!  You will NOT do well if you do not come to class.  This will be clear when you understand how grades are earned.

I may drop a student for excessive absences at my discretion, and I will.  You will receive 5 bonus points if you do not miss more than 2 classes, for *whatever* reason, including even excused absences

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at