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Consuming Bondieuserie: Raising the Profile of Religious Kitsch Consumption

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Advances in Consumer Research
Number of pages2
Pages (from-to)474-475
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Consumer research discussions of pilgrimage have centred on three predominant conversations; new-age pilgrimage (O'Guinn and Belk, 1989), secular/brand pilgrimage (Kozinets, 2001; Borghini et al., 2009), and religious/spiritual pilgrimage (Scott and Maclaren, 2013, Kedzior, 2013; Turley, 2013; Moufahim, 2013; Higgins and Hamilton; 2014:2016). However, emphasis has been placed upon the intangible experience, with few investigating the symbolic value of the physical goods associated with the pilgrimage. Furthermore, currently consumer research has neglected the popularly consumed kitsch object. Within religious settings, kitsch has been discussed briefly and negatively, with researchers to date believing such items to be "offensive" (Belk et al, 1989; Turley, 2013), in bad taste (Ma-claren et al. 2012) and an "inappropriate mixing of the Sacred and the Profane" (Belk et al, 1989, 25). Yet if so, why do religious marketplaces offer such goods, and why do their consumers - most often religious followers - consume these goods? Drawing on the emergent findings of a three-ethnographic study at the Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes, this paper aims to raise the profile of religious kitsch objects, offering insight into the symbolic and functional value consumers gain from such "material manifestations of religion" (Mc-Dannell, 1995, 4). © 2016.