This course will discuss key issues of contemporary consumer society, and the social and anthropological theories which help us understand consumer aspirations. What are the origins of our global consumer society, and its current inequalities? Key themes will include the symbolism of goods and material culture in shaping social relations of status and power. We will discuss specific fields of consumption, such as style and fashion in clothing, life-style shopping; home-making through practices of consumption. Consumerism is also politics, and we will discuss how gender, class and ethnic identities are linked to consumption practices.