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Is the crucifix sacred?: exploring the Catholic consumption of sacred vessels in building connection with the sacred

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Publication date2011
Host publicationNA - Advances in Consumer Research
EditorsRohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, Rebecca K. Ratner
Place of PublicationDuluth, Minn.
PublisherAssociation for Consumer Research
Number of pages7
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper aims to contribute further towards sacred consumption theories offered within consumer culture. So far, research has often pointed to instances of transcendence been found through the consumption of objects and possessions (Belk, 1988; Belk et al, 1989), white water rafting (Arnould & Price, 1993) and salsa dancing (Hamilton and Hewer, 2009). Additionally, a ‘celebrity sacralization process’ (Hamilton & Hewer, 2011) has been witnessed in the consumption of celebrity icons such as Barry Manilow (O’Guinn, 1991), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Schau & Muniz, 2007) and Kylie Minogue (Hamilton & Hewer, 2011). In turn proving the stance taken by Belk, Wallendorf & Sherry (1989, 2) of religion being one but “not the only context in which the concept of
the sacred is “operant” to be correct.

This said, relatively little research has been conducted looking at the consumption of the sacred from a religious perspective, for example within well-established religions such as Catholicism. As such the voice of the religious consumer is very much unrecognized within Consumer Culture Theory to date. This study contributes to this gap with the key aim of investigating the role of sacred vessels (religiously linked objects and services, such as crucifixes
and Mass) for Catholic consumers.