Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Not Applicable

Advisor Role

Not Applicable


Consumer culture has long presented ethical issues for the academic world. As the nature and processes of consumer culture have become more integrated with the operation of universities, the debate has escalated. Over the past 15 years, institutions have made increasing use of sophisticated marketing techniques and, while many administrators applaud their use to define, grow, and protect a school’s reputation, many critics have decried what they see as nothing more than crass commercialism. This study is an examination of the development of consumer culture after World War II, when large numbers of students entered post-secondary school. Critical analysis is used to understand how ideology plays a significant role in the process of consumption, the formation of a subject’s identity, and how it relates to university undergraduate recruitment and retention. A case study of one Canadian university’s advertising campaign is used to illustrate the process in a contemporary context.

Convocation Year