The Sacred Santa: Religious Dimensions of Consumer Culture

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This intriguing academic study challenges the heart of the much-touted "secularization thesis"-the idea that modern cultures will gradually abandon religion in favor of the rigors of scientific agnosticism. On the surface, deChant argues, it might seem that America's contemporary observance of Christmas fits the secularization thesis, since it has gone from being a Christian holy day to a commercial holiday. However, deChant argues that in American culture, commercialism itself is a viable religion. In fact, he says, Christmas is "perhaps the best example of religiosity in our culture." What is most startling about deChant's fascinating book is his contention that postmodern American consumerism closely resembles premodern religious worldviews, in which the "everyday world of commerce and consumerism" was "saturated with religious myth and ritual." Drawing on the work of 20th-century theorists such as Paul Tillich and Jacques Ellul, this revisionist study is sure to fan the flames of scholarly debate. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556358395
  • Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sacred Worlds in Collision 1
1 Religion from the Sacred Cosmos to the Secular World 9
2 From Modern Secularization to Postmodern Sacralization 25
3 Cosmological Communities of Antiquity and Today 41
4 Postmodern Myths and Media 53
5 Postmodern Rituals, Shamans, and Priests 69
6 Consumption and the Religious Imperative 88
7 Primary Religious Elements of Postmodern Holy Days 103
8 Identifying and Classifying Postmodern Holy Days 124
9 The Postmodern Liturgical Year 136
10 Christmas by the Numbers 155
11 Supporting Seasonal Narratives and Traditions 172
12 The Sacred Santa 184
App. A Citation and Description of Sources Used to Analyze Consumer Spending 201
App. B Methodology for Discerning the Holiness of Holidays 204
App. C: Supporting Summaries and Charts 209
Index 215
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