MRK 3534 Understanding Cultures and Markets

MRK 3534 Understanding Cultures and Markets

Course code: 
MRK 3534
Department: 
Communication and Culture
Credits: 
7.5
Course coordinator: 
Steffen Johannessen
Gillian Warner-Søderholm
Product category: 
Bachelor
Portfolio: 
Bachelor of International Marketing - Programme Courses
Semester: 
2019 Autumn
Active status: 
Active
Teaching language: 
English
Course type: 
One semester
Introduction

Cultural and ethnic diversity have entered people's everyday experience in most parts of the world. Transnational communication is on the increase, and digitalization processes renders physical distance less important in many spheres of life. A constantly changing world of global business, now increasingly affected by distant markets and new emerging economies, brings about new social, cultural, economic and political challenges. This demands a more attentive global mind-set, involving a heightened sense of self-reflection and critical understanding of key anthropological subjects including culture, social relationships and identity-formation.

This course offers important anthropological and sociological insights, methods and practical training for understanding and analyzing culture, identity and social relations. The course focuses on how social practice, such as economic exchange, production and circulation of media images, travel, consumption and shopping, contribute to form, confirm and re-shape identity, cultural meaning and social relations in a globalizing world. Through anthropological theory, methods and practical training involving ethnographic fieldwork and participant observation, students learn how cultural ideas, values and practices affect how people interact, communicate and relate to one another. Students will understand how commodities and marketing affect culture, and play decisive roles in human relations. Students acquire deepened understanding of how people identify and understand themselves and others in societies increasingly influenced by marketing, consumption and cultural diversity. For marketers, this is important because creative thinking, successful decision-making, responsible ethical behavior, and sensitivity and contribution to sustainable development rest on training, skills and abilities to understand the social and cultural realities of their partners and target groups. That is to say, their cultural values, ideas and practices.

In terms of geography, the course has an empirical focus on culture in China and Scandinavia, but includes also cases and examples from many other parts of the world.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Upon completion of this course, the candidate

  • has extensive knowledge of anthropological theory about social processes related to culture in a globalized world, including cultural meaning, glocalization and cultural change, cultural diversity, stereotypes and cultural boundaries, the role and importance of culture in advertising and the impacts of advertising on culture.  
  • has extensive knowledge of sociological and anthropological approaches to identity and identification in a global framework, including multiple identities, relational and context-dependent identification, identity politics, consumer based identification and the role and construction of identity in and through marketing.
  • has extensive theoretical knowledge of the formation of social relationships, integration and disintegration of groups, trust-based networks, partnerships and wider communities through economic and symbolic exchange.
  • has basic knowledge about qualitative anthropological research methods, including fieldwork and participant observation, and understands the value and complications of such methods for collecting empirical data.
  • has basic knowledge about central aspects of culture in China and Scandinavia, and knows how to understand culture in a comparative perspective
  • knows how people are affected by their cultural backgrounds, and how people’s cultural background also influences their understanding of other groups
  • knows different approaches to understanding people from other cultures, such as cultural relativism and ethnocentrism.
  • Has basic knowledge of visual literacy, and knows how media and images shape and affect culture, identity and social relations through ads and international tourism
  • Has basic knowledge of globalization processes, online interaction, consumer culture, theories of shopping and tourism.
Learning outcomes - Skills

Upon completion of this course, the candidate

  • is able to plan, develop and undertake qualitative studies of particular empirical fields.
  • is able to make use of qualitative research techniques, including interviews and participant observation, to acquire new empirical data on cultural ideas, values and practices of people from socio-cultural environments that differ from their own.
  • can apply central concepts and theories from the social sciences to analyze and understand varied forms of social life, knowing concepts applicable for understanding practical challenges related to social and cultural diversity.
  • is competent in presenting and communicating own research and research findings.
  • is able to cooperate, work and bring tasks to completion within smaller teams.
  • has developed skills in creative thinking through heightened sensitivity to alternative thoughts and perspectives.
General Competence

Upon completion of this course, the candidate

  • Has developed awareness and sensitivity with regard to ethical issues that concern inter-cultural encounters.
  • Has acquired modesty, understanding and respect in the approach of other groups’ cultural ideas and practices.
  • Exercises sensitivity in respect to marketing and marketing strategies in other cultures.
  • Understands effects and responsibilities of marketing on UNs Sustainable Development Goal no. 5: gender equality, and no. 10: responsible consumption and production.
Course content
  • The concept of culture in social anthropology
  • Identity and identification in shifting social contexts
  • Ethnocentrism, cultural relativism and ethics
  • Qualitative research methods, fieldwork and participant observation
  • Reciprocity, economic and symbolic exchange, and social integration
  • Globalization, the glocal, branding and identity-politics
  • Media, advertising and visual culture,
  • Intercultural encounters, signs and images in tourism
  • Digital communication and context collapse
  • Shopping, social relations and cultural meaning in an expanding consumer culture 
  • Culture and social relations in Scandinavia and China
Teaching and learning activities

The course is comprised of a combination of lectures and activities related to a most practical group assignment. Outside the lectures, updates, notifications and important course-related material will be posted on ItsLearning. Students are expected to follow the online site on a weekly basis.

Teams of 3-5 students are to cooperate and work together on a termpaper throughout the semester. The term paper is based on qualitative methods, and students shall in this process undertake a short fieldwork. Students are to develop their own project, and must hand in a project proposal. Students must be prepared to present parts of their term paper to the lecturer as well as groups of other students during the semester. In connection with these activities, the group shall receive supervision and feedback from lecturer and other co-students. It is expected that all group members take part and contribute in the termpaper project.

Students are also expected to discuss the various course topics in discussion groups. The discussion groups may be the same as the term paper groups, or they may vary.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

.

Qualifications

Higher Education Entrance Qualification.

Required prerequisite knowledge

No particular prerequisites.

Mandatory courseworkCourseworks givenCourseworks requiredComment coursework
Voluntary For feedback on the project proposal, students are responsible for submitting a project proposal and to meet the agreed supervision time.
Voluntary To receive feedback, students are expected to present findings from their working termpaper project at agreed time.
Mandatory coursework:
Mandatory coursework:Voluntary
Courseworks given:
Courseworks required:
Comment coursework:For feedback on the project proposal, students are responsible for submitting a project proposal and to meet the agreed supervision time.
Mandatory coursework:Voluntary
Courseworks given:
Courseworks required:
Comment coursework:To receive feedback, students are expected to present findings from their working termpaper project at agreed time.
Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationSupport materialsGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
MRK 35341
Grading scale:
ECTS
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Resit:
Examination every semester
40No1 Semester(s)Group (3 - 5)Term paper, 10 - 15 pages, excluding attachments.
In connection with a re-sit exam, the termpaper can be completed on an individual basis, or in groups comprised of up to, but not more than, 5 participants. The exam is to be submitted in English.
Exam category:
Submission
Form of assessment:
Structured test
Exam code:
MRK 35342
Grading scale:
ECTS
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Resit:
Examination every semester
60Yes3 Hour(s)
  • Bilingual dictionary
Individual Multiple Choice exam
The exam is to be submitted in English.
Both exams must be passed in order to receive a grade for the course.
Exams:
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Weight:40
Invigilation:No
Grouping (size):Group (3-5)
Support materials:
Duration:1 Semester(s)
Comment:Term paper, 10 - 15 pages, excluding attachments.
In connection with a re-sit exam, the termpaper can be completed on an individual basis, or in groups comprised of up to, but not more than, 5 participants. The exam is to be submitted in English.
Exam code: MRK 35341
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination every semester
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Structured test
Weight:60
Invigilation:Yes
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
  • Bilingual dictionary
Duration:3 Hour(s)
Comment:Multiple Choice exam
The exam is to be submitted in English.
Both exams must be passed in order to receive a grade for the course.
Exam code: MRK 35342
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination every semester
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
100
Workload activityDurationType of durationComment student effort
Teaching27Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments50Hour(s)Work on term paper, including fieldwork, feedback and presentation
Self study120Hour(s)Self-study, reading and (online) discussion groups
Examination3Hour(s)Individual examination
Expected student effort:
Workload activity:Teaching
Duration:27 Hour(s)
Comment:
Workload activity:Group work / Assignments
Duration:50 Hour(s)
Comment:Work on term paper, including fieldwork, feedback and presentation
Workload activity:Self study
Duration:120 Hour(s)
Comment:Self-study, reading and (online) discussion groups
Workload activity:Examination
Duration:3 Hour(s)
Comment:Individual examination
Sum workload: 
200

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.