Consumption and Spirituality: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Consumption and Spirituality

1st Edition

Edited by Diego Rinallo, Linda Scott, Pauline Maclaran


272 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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This book sheds light on the consumption of spiritual products, services, experiences, and places through state-of-the-art studies by leading and emerging scholars in interpretive consumer research, marketing, sociology, anthropology, cultural, and religious studies. The collection brings together fresh views and scholarship on a cultural tension that is at the centre of the lives of countless individuals living in postmodern societies: the relationship between the material and the spiritual, the sacred and the profane.

The book examines how a variety of agents – religious institutions, spiritual leaders, marketers and consumers – interact and co-create spiritual meanings in a post-disenchanted society that has been defined as a ‘supermarket of the soul.’ Consumption and Spirituality examines not only religious organizations, but also brands and marketers and the way they infuse their products, services and experiences with spiritual meanings that flow freely in the circuit of culture and can be appropriated by consumers even without purchase acts. From a consumer perspective, the book investigates how spiritual beliefs, practices, and experiences are now embedded into a global consumer culture. Rather than condemning consumption, the chapters in this book highlight consumers’ agency and the creative processes through which authentic spiritual meanings are co-created from a variety of sources, local and global, and sacred and profane alike.


"Consumption and Spirituality provides a much-needed overview of a badly-neglected aspect of consumer experiences. Whereas previous studies have focused on various issues related to religion, theology, or expanded states of consciousness, not until now have we had a sustained attempt to consider the interaction between these facets of contemporary life."Morris Holbrook, Columbia University, USA

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Unravelling Complexities at the Commercial/Spiritual Interface Diego Rinallo, Linda Scott and Pauline Maclaran Part I: Marketers’ Sacralisation of the Mundane 2. When Sacred Objects Go B®a(n)d: Fashion Rosaries and the Contemporary Linkage of Religion and Commerciality Diego Rinallo, Stefania Borghini, Gary Bamossy, Robert V. Kozinets 3. Theology Meets the Marketplace: The Discursive Formation of the Halal Market in Turkey Elif Izberk-Bilgin 4. No Gods. No Masters? The "New Atheist" Movement and the Commercialization of Unbelief Mary Johnstone-Louis Part II: Consumers’ Search for Spiritual Meanings in Consumption of the Mundane 5. The Sacred in Consumer Culture Russell Belk 6. Consuming Spirituality and the Spirituality of Consuming Media Narratives: Why Vampirism, Why Twilight, Why Now? Margo Buchanan-Oliver and Hope Jensen Schau 7. The Devil has all the Best Brands: Raising Hell in a House of Horrors Stephen Brown 8. Locating the Sacred in Consumer Culture: Championing Colin Campbell’s Easternization of the West Thesis Alan Bradshaw Part III: The Commodification of the Spiritual 9. The Veneration of Relics at Glastonbury Abbey in the Middle Ages Robin Croft 10. Branding Faith and Managing Reputations Mara Einstein 11. SMS a Marriage Proposal: Single Women Ministries in Kenya’s Religious Marketplace Catherine Dolan Part IV: The Consumption of Spiritual Goods 12. Framing Sacred Places and Possessions: Pilgrims at St. Brigid’s Holy Well Darach Turley 13. Materializing the Spiritual – Investigating the Role of Marketplace in Creating Opportunities for the Consumption of Spiritual Experiences Richard Kedzior 14. Consuming the Mists and Myths of Avalon: A Case Study of Pligrimage in Glastonbury Linda Scott and Pauline Maclaran Part V: Issues of Method and Representation 15. Reflections of a Scape Artist: Discerning Scapus in Contemporary Worlds John F. Sherry 16. Spirituality as Introspection and Introspection as Spirituality in Consumer Research Stephen Gould 17. The Autothemataludicization Challenge: Spiritualizing Consumer Culture Through Playful Communal Co-Creation Robert V. Kozinets and John F. Sherry, Jr. Notes on Contributors Notes Index

About the Editors

Diego Rinallo is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Università Bocconi, Milan. His research interests include consumer culture, fashion, masculinities, and spirituality. His work has been published in international outlets such as the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Business Research, Industrial Marketing Management, the Journal of Business, and Industrial Marketing.

Linda Scott is DP World Chair for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Oxford.She has written extensively on advertising, consumption, and women’s economic issues. She is editor of the Advertising & Society Review. Her current research interest is women’s empowerment in emerging markets.

Pauline Maclaran is Professor of Marketing and Consumer Research at Royal Holloway, University of London. Pauline’s research interests focus on cultural aspects of contemporary consumption. She has co-edited various books and is Co-editor in Chief of Marketing Theory, a journal that promotes alternative and critical perspectives in marketing and consumer behaviour.

About the Series

Routledge Interpretive Marketing Research

Recent years have witnessed an ‘interpretive turn’ in marketing and consumer research. Methodologies from the humanities are taking their place alongside those drawn from the traditional social sciences. Qualitative and literary modes of marketing discourse are growing in popularity. Art and aesthetics are increasingly firing the marketing imagination. This series brings together the most innovative work in the burgeoning interpretive marketing research tradition. It ranges across the methodological spectrum from grounded theory to personal introspection, covering all aspects of the postmodern marketing ‘mix’, from advertising to product development, and embracing marketing’s principal sub-disciplines.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Advertising & Promotion
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Consumer Behavior
RELIGION / Spirituality