French MA

Consumption, Culture and Society in Modern France FRENCH4095

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Modern Languages and Cultures
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course takes the theme of consumption as a window onto French culture and society from the late 19th century to the 1960s. French debates about consumption have reflected concerns about social and economic change, about class, gender, race and national identities. A selection of these issues will be explored in a historical and interdisciplinary perspective.


20 x 1hr sessions over both semesters as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the honours options in French and may not run every year. The options that are

running this session are available on MyCampus

Excluded Courses





Essay proposal (500 words) - 10%

Essay (2500 words) - 60%

Group Presentation within which each student will talk for c. 5 minutes (15% group mark and 15% individual mark) - 30%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ foster an understanding of some key debates about social and economic change in France, by exploring both historical and contemporary examples;

■ encourage students to read across disciplines in the exploration of French culture and to support them in doing this;

■ challenge students to reflect critically on what 'French culture' is by analysing discourses of cultural identity as they manifest themselves in historical and contemporary debates about consumption;

■ develop students' understanding of cross-cultural issues by problematising received ideas about French versus Anglo-American social models and by drawing on critical approaches developed in both French and Anglophone scholarship.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ explain how and why the changing nature of consumption has been a recurring object of cultural anxiety in France across the period studied;

■ engage critically with both popular and scholarly discourses about consumer society, in the French context;

■ analyse the place of class, gender and national identity in the debates and representations studied;

■ synthesise and make connections between ideas encountered in different parts of the course and in independent study;

■ work effectively on a group project to ensure that areas of individual responsibility enhance the work of the project team as a whole;

■ present ideas clearly and analytically both orally and in writing with appropriate citation of sources, uses of evidence and attribution of contribution.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.