408083 PS Life World, Life Forms: Individual and Society 1: Consumer Behaviour

summer semester 2021 | Last update: 03.03.2021 Place course on memo list
PS Life World, Life Forms: Individual and Society 1: Consumer Behaviour
PS 2

Curr. § 5 Para 1 No 9:

Students acquire the ability to reproduce the essential theoretical approaches of interpretative sociology and to explain their basic terminology. Moreover, they know how to describe current topic areas and research perspectives of cultural social analyses. They are able to critically discuss constructions of identity in the context of social relationships of misjudgement and recognition based on sociological identity theories and theoretical impulses from related fields. They know how to identify and authentically reproduce central theses and lines of reasoning. Moreover, they are able to apply theoretical concepts to empirical phenomena.

What content? What issues? What will be conveyed? What should be worked on? …

Everybody at a certain stage of their life is or becomes part of a family or families. Family, marriage, and the whole set of relationships directly or indirectly connected to family life, including romantic and intimate liaisons, belong to the private sphere of the individual, but concurrently determine and are determined by larger societal processes driven by religion, class, ethnicity to name a few. This seminar departs from the premise of family – along with marriage, divorce, parenthood - as an institution at the intersection of the private and public sphere and domain – a complex relationship that sociologists have delved into through the analytical concept of the (family) life cycle. The seminar will endeavour to bring out the socio-cultural construction of family, as well as the interconnections between the sphere of the intimate (sex and love), with the sphere(s) of the social, economic, and cultural by discussing these concepts with a cross-cultural approach, particularly with ‘West’ - Africa comparisons. Hence, it will look at how the different socio-cultural, economic, and political contexts in history and today determine sometimes very different ideas and practices related, for instance, to ‘traditional’ vis a vis ‘modern’ family, or the (im)possibility to separate the sphere of intimacy from the economic sphere.


What are the objectives of the course? What should be the results/outcome? What will students know/be able to do after the course?

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Conceptualize the family as a fundamental unit of socialization  
  • Understand and explain the institution of family in historical and (Africa-the ‘West’) cross-cultural perspective  
  • Critically evaluate the impact in their own lives of changing ideas and practices related to family and love


How (by which means) will students be enabled? What teaching/learning methods will be used? How is the course designed? What will be used to convey the contents?

The seminar will combine lectures given by the instructor, students group presentations, and class discussions facilitated by the instructor and possibly students taking part in the seminar, and structured around key readings. Students will be asked to form groups for preparing group presentations for each topic throughout the seminar. The group presentations will be, where possible, structured around the specific Africa-the ‘West’ cross-cultural approach taken in the seminar, and will be assessed based on the group’s ability to produce a coherent argument as well as a critical evaluation of the readings discussed. Active participation of all students in the discussions will be key to the success of the seminar – the students will be asked to come to class having read the key articles/books/chapters of their choice under the guidance of the instructor, and will be encouraged to prepare questions and cues for discussion under the general  themes of the topic under discussion.

The final assessment will be an essay of 2500 words that review and analyze one of the issues tackled during the seminar, possibly cross-culturally. However, students will be encouraged to attempt more critical analyses beyond review of literature


Kind of examination (written/oral), criteria, required tasks (presentation, papers, ...)

Group presentation 20%  

Attendance and participation 30% 

One critical essay (2,500 words)  50% (Due May 31st)

Presentation: the presentations can be delivered with visual aids (e.g. power point slides) although that is not a requirement, and all members of the group presenting are encouraged to speak.

Essay:  The essay can be based on one of the specific topics discussed in class although students are free to explore other directions and discuss other topics provided that they are able to draw connections to the overall themes of the seminar. Students will be encouraged to carry out their own literature research using the readings for the seminar as a starting point. Further guidance will be provided in class


Required/recommended reading:

Jacqueline Scott, Judith Treas, and Martin Richards. 2004. The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Families. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers

Cole, J. & Thomas, L. M. 2009. Love in Africa. The University of Chigcago Press

Zelizer, V. A. 2005. The Purchase of Intimacy. Princeton University Press





positive completion of the compulsory module according to Curr. § 5 Para 1 No 2.

see dates
Group 0
Date Time Location
Fri 2021-05-28
09.00 - 16.30 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Sat 2021-05-29
09.00 - 16.30 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Fri 2021-06-04
09.00 - 16.30 eLecture - online eLecture - online
Sat 2021-06-05
09.00 - 16.30 eLecture - online eLecture - online