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The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey

The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey Abstract Two processes at work in contemporary society are the secularization of religion and the sacralization of the secular. Consumer behavior shapes and reflects these processes. For many, consumption has become a vehicle for experiencing the sacred. This article explores the ritual substratum of consumption and describes properties and manifestations of the sacred inherent in consumer behavior. Similarly, the processes by which consumers sacralize and desacralize dimensions of their experience are described. The naturalistic inquiry approach driving the insights in this article is advanced as a corrective to a premature narrowing of focus in consumer research. This content is only available as a PDF. Author notes * " Russell W. Belk is the N. Eldon Tanner Professor of Business Administration at the College of Business, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. Melanie Wallendorf is Associate Professor of Marketing, College of Business and Public Administration, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85716. John F. Sherry, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60608. Financial support and intellectual encouragement from John Farley and Marketing Science Institute, Bill Wells and DDB Needham, David Berger and Foote, Cone, and Belding enabled the data collection on which this article is based. The authors also thank Howie Becker, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Andrew Greeley, and Deborah Heisley for insightful comments on an earlier draft. Professor Wallendorf appreciates the hospitality of the Departments of Marketing at the University of Utah and Northwestern University, where uninterrupted time and other support was provided to complete this manuscript during a sabbatical. All three authors acknowledge the support of their respective institutions and the other members of the Odyssey research team during the data collection phase of the Consumer Behavior Odyssey. © JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Consumer Research Oxford University Press

The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey

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References (118)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH
ISSN
0093-5301
eISSN
1537-5277
DOI
10.1086/209191
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Two processes at work in contemporary society are the secularization of religion and the sacralization of the secular. Consumer behavior shapes and reflects these processes. For many, consumption has become a vehicle for experiencing the sacred. This article explores the ritual substratum of consumption and describes properties and manifestations of the sacred inherent in consumer behavior. Similarly, the processes by which consumers sacralize and desacralize dimensions of their experience are described. The naturalistic inquiry approach driving the insights in this article is advanced as a corrective to a premature narrowing of focus in consumer research. This content is only available as a PDF. Author notes * " Russell W. Belk is the N. Eldon Tanner Professor of Business Administration at the College of Business, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. Melanie Wallendorf is Associate Professor of Marketing, College of Business and Public Administration, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85716. John F. Sherry, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60608. Financial support and intellectual encouragement from John Farley and Marketing Science Institute, Bill Wells and DDB Needham, David Berger and Foote, Cone, and Belding enabled the data collection on which this article is based. The authors also thank Howie Becker, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Andrew Greeley, and Deborah Heisley for insightful comments on an earlier draft. Professor Wallendorf appreciates the hospitality of the Departments of Marketing at the University of Utah and Northwestern University, where uninterrupted time and other support was provided to complete this manuscript during a sabbatical. All three authors acknowledge the support of their respective institutions and the other members of the Odyssey research team during the data collection phase of the Consumer Behavior Odyssey. © JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH

Journal

Journal of Consumer ResearchOxford University Press

Published: Jun 1, 1989

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