Rethinking consumerism from the perspective of religion
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CitationKurenlahti, Mikko. Salonen, Arto O. (2018). Rethinking consumerism from the perspective of religion. Sustainability, 10 (7) , 2454. 10.3390/su10072454.
Due to the global challenges that are posed by the Anthropocene and the academic focus on the fragmented state of modernity, we extend an invitation for shared dialogue on the all-pervading nature of consumerism as the seemingly problematic ethos of Western consumer culture. To this end, we outline a way to approach consumerism as an implicit religion, theorized as having adopted functionalities related to explicitly faith-based traditions within secular settings. We suggest that a similar kind of holistic and multidimensional approach might be of great benefit in the implementation of sustainability, as this would allow, e.g., (i) a more holistic analysis of the all-pervading nature of consumerism; (ii) acknowledgement of the functional diversity of the phenomenon; (iii) recognition of the shallowness of the critique of consumerism as a way of life; and, (iv) shared dialogue across a spectrum of academic perspectives under a unified model. This approach problematizes standard interpretations of consumerism as being about the promotion of the individual against the collective and as leading to a general sense of purposelessness. The perspective of religion reveals how patterns of consumption become illuminated with meaning and connected to a shared way for individuals to articulate a sense of purpose in contemporary contexts.