Onsumer Cultures, Environmental Futures

For the journal exercises you are to follow a consumption activist/consumer information site such as blog.worldfishcenter.org. Your journal entries will note how issues have evolved, how they are discussed, what types of evidence are used, who the intended audience is, how individuals are being addressed. You should write a summary of what has happened to date using the ideas covered in class to guide your summary. Choose a topic that is of interest to you.

Onsumer Cultures, Environmental Futures

You are to develop an analysis of a product/commodity, ideally one related to the activist/consumer information site you have been profiling and evaluating in your journal exercises. You must use at least two perspectives from the readings in your analysis.
The form your response will take is that of a short essay. In your essay you will select a commodity or consumer product (broadly defined) and examine it from at least two perspectives from the unit readings. For example, if you were to look at coffee, you could find out some more about where a particular brand of coffee youve encountered in everyday life comes from and under what conditions it is produced (thinking production and consumption together), and also think about the social location of coffee consumption and what social differences the consumption of that coffee conveys (thinking about distinction and disposition).
Your aim should be to put some ideas and concepts from the unit material into use in examining your particular product or commodity, and to formulate an argument about that product or commodity. This argument can take a more analytical focus, or it could try to critically evaluate the commodity/product and its consumption. For example, you could seek to answer the question: how does our view of this product/commodity change when we change our conceptual or scholarly perspective? Alternatively, you could try to decide whether a particular product/commodity is in fact ethical to consume, and under what conditions and criteria, and use different scholarly or conceptual angles to try to decide this. Or you could try to decide the social or environmental consequences of consuming a particular product or commodity.
Implied here is some empirical research into the commodity or product, but not necessarily additional scholarly research. That empirical research may be media, web or library research for information, or it may mean field research (ie visiting the spaces in which the product or commodity is sold and consumed). You dont need to introduce any new concepts beyond those youve encountered already. Instead, you will try to draw relevant concepts from the unit materials. Sometimes this will mean using those concepts to analyse different products or commodities to those they were originally used to analyse.
While it will make the task easier if you use a product or commodity related to the campaigns or sites youve been investigating, more important is that you use the task to think about something that youre interested in. Dont feel you have to find something related to your journal exercises if they will not carry your interest. Your choice of commodity or product can be broad or narrow: for example, it could be one brand of coffee, or it could be coffee more generally. The level at which you conduct the analysis is up to you. (Keep in mind, though, that some perspectives lend themselves better to different levels of inquiry.)