Can you buy salvation?
Mills 169 (A26)
4 May 2016
Available at http://anthro.rschram.org/2667/9
Jones, Carla. 2010. “Materializing Piety: Gendered Anxieties about Faithful Consumption in Contemporary Urban Indonesia.” American Ethnologist 37 (4): 617–37. doi:10.1111/j.1548-1425.2010.01275.x.
Brenner, Suzanne. 1996. “Reconstructing Self and Society: Javanese Muslim Women and ‘the Veil.’” American Ethnologist 23 (4): 673–97. doi:10.1525/ae.1996.23.4.02a00010.
Meyer, Birgit. 1998. “Commodities and the Power of Prayer: Pentecostalist Attitudes Towards Consumption in Contemporary Ghana.” Development and Change 29 (4): 751–76. doi:10.1111/1467-7660.00098.
“Kosher Dining.” 2016. Cornell Center for Jewish Living, Cornell University. Accessed May 3. http://cornellcjl.com/kosher-dining/.
Medina, Jennifer. 2016. “A Few Miles From San Bernardino, a Muslim Prom Queen Reigns.” The New York Times, April 29. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/30/us/a-few-miles-from-san-bernardino-a-muslim-prom-queen-reigns.html.
Are your friends fashion followers?
Dress as communication and dress as consumption
A theory of clothing:
Let's assume that everyone has a choice of what to wear.
Let's also assume that people make judgements about what other people wear.
Dress is a social action - it sends a message, even if that message is not intended.
The message of dress is also implicitly a message about the person.
Weber and hipsters
Weber's theory of social action is relevant here: To understand social action, we must look at the meaning the actors puts in their action.
There are many levels of meaning in any one action: emotional (affective), (instrumentally) rational, and symbolic.
There is also another level of meaning, in which the action expresses a value.
Social identity and mass consumption
A simplified theory of identity in mass societies:
Communication involves using codes. We express ourselves by encoding our thoughts in terms of symbols.
Living in a mass society means being a consumer of codes.
The choices presented by the mass market are linked to discrete, bounded categories of identity.
Religious identity in a mass society
If religion is a kind of social action, how does one practice one's religion in a mass society?
How does one express a religious identity as one's social identity in a mass society?
Religion and economy
Religious prohibitions on consumption
Religious critiques of wealth
Blessing of commodity consumption
Aimee Semple Macpherson and televangelism
Fundraising in Auhelawa churches
A guide to the unit
ANTH 2667: The anthropology of religion—a guide to the unit
Weekly plan and assigned readings