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Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

Unit Briefing: Consumerism


In Economics, consumerism is the idea that the best way to
decide what should be produced and how is by the free
choices of people (consumers). Our current society is built
heavily around consumerism. People have bought in to the
idea that getting more stuff (consumer goods), is the best
way to increase quality of life. We will look at the things that
consumerism provides for use, as well as examine some
critiques of consumerism.
Objectives:

9.2.5 Assess, critically, the relationship between consumerism


and quality of life in Canada and the United States by
exploring and reflecting upon the following questions and
issues:
What are the indicators of quality of life? (PADM, ER)
How does individual consumer behaviour impact quality of life
(e.g., environmental issues)? (PADM, ER)
How does marketing impact consumerism? (ER)
How does consumerism provide opportunities for and limitations
on impacting quality of life? (PADM, ER)
How is consumerism used as a power of a collective (e.g.,
boycotts)? (ER, PADM, C)
To what extent do perspectives regarding consumerism,
economic growth and quality of life differ regionally in North
America? (PADM, ER, GC, I)
What societal values underlie social programs in Canada and the
United States? (PADM, ER, GC, I)

Vocabulary/Key Terms:
Consumerism, Consumer Behaviour, Identity, Health and
Safety, Jobs, Environment, Marketing, Boycott,
Learning Projects:
Factors of
Consumeris
m Posters
Lorax
Movie Case
Study

Cartoon
Analysis

Consumeris
m Cartoon

Boycott
Current
Event

Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

Unit Project: Consumerism


Cartoon
Illustrate a political cartoon that makes an argument
(positive or negative) about consumerism and the affect that
it has on quality of life in Canada.
Your cartoon should make use of elements like color, size,
symbolism, imagery, and text.
Include a 1-2 paragraph analysis of your cartoon explaining
what the message is and how the elements you chose
convey that message.

Total
/18
= Effort/Creativity (10) + Standards of
Reasoning (8)

Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

Component Project: The Lorax Cinema Study


Watch the Lorax and answer the following reflection
questions on a separate sheet of paper.
1)Which indicators of quality of live are shown in
the Lorax? Give examples (Money, employment,
built environment, natural environment, physical
health, mental health, education, recreation,
leisure time, political freedom, human rights,
and social belonging.)
2)To what extent do the actions of the characters
(individual consumer behaviour) affect the
quality of life for everyone in Thneedville? Give
examples to support your answer. Are there any
counter-examples?
3)To what extent did marketing affect the decisions
of the characters in the Lorax? How did that
affect their quality of life?
4)What are some big issues that the film raises?
Phrase answers in the form of a question.
5)Choose one of the issues raised by the film what
opposing points of view can be taken on this
issue? Give each point of view as a thesis
statement with at least two supporting reasons.
6)Choose one of the points of view from above.
What conclusions does it reach? What are the
implications or consequences of those
conclusions?
7)Find an example for each the following concepts
in the movie: Quality of Life, Consumerism,
Economics, Competition, Monopoly, Scarcity,
Supply and Demand, Land, Labour, and Capital.

Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

Component Project: Factors of Consumerism


Poster
We will begin with a carousal activity; in a small
group you will visit each of the four stations.
At each station read the corresponding sections of
the textbook, and record any important information,
or big ideas in the reading onto the chart paper.
As you rotate through each station keep adding to
the notes and ideas that previous groups have
recorded. Think of examples, questions at issue,
points of view, concepts, information, etc. that you
can use to extend the recorded information.
Once you have completed your fourth station, use
the information on your chart paper, and on a new
piece of chart paper create a poster, which you will
present to the class. Your presentation should
answer the question: How does this factor affect
consumerism and quality of life?

Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

Component Project: Cartoon Analysis


Examine the cartoons in your text pp. 256, choose
one and analyse the source using the reflection
questions below.
Initial reading: What can an initial look reveal?
1.)
2.)

Read the caption. What does it tell you about the topic of the
cartoon?
Consider your background knowledge. What do you already know
about the context of the cartoon?

Closer Look: How do the cartooning techniques help


to present the message? (Symbolism Size Text
Imagery Color)
3.)

Do you see any symbols (concrete things which stand for


abstract ideas), which inform the meaning of the cartoon?
4.) Glance quickly at the cartoon. What is your first impression?
5.) Examine the relative size of the figures or objects in the cartoon.
What can you infer about the figures or objects from their size?
How does the relative size add to the message in the cartoon?
6.) Find text and labels. How do the words (or numbers) in the
drawings express ideas or identify people or objects? What
message do the text/labels send?
7.) What kinds of imagery (things which appeal to the 5 senses) are
present in the cartoon? How do these contribute to the overall
message?
8.) Study the artists use of color, light and dark. How do color,
shading and white space create an effect? What does this add to
the message?
9.) Notice caricature. How do the exaggerated, oversimplified, or
distorted features of the figures or objects add to the effect of
the cartoon? What message does this send the reader?
10.) Look at the composition. Where are figures or objects located or
arranged in the cartoon? What message does this send about
their importance?

Draw Conclusions:
11.) Identify possible biases. Whose perspective or point of view is
expressed in the cartoon?

Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

12.) Explain the overall message of the cartoon in a paragraph.


(Remember a good interpretation is specific and detailed)

Social 9

Unit 7: Consumerism

Desrochers

Component Project: Boycott Current Event


Assignment
Read pp. 262-263 to learn about consumer boycotts.
Find a news story related to a consumer boycott, and
complete a blog post using that article.