Research into how particular items/consumption become and remain sacralized

In the article that I read for the Monday’s seminar they highlight so many ways by which particular consumption can become sacralized. I think it would be interesting to explore what the main ways are, and how effective they are. It would be beneficial for brands as those brands that have become sacred i.e. Heinz, have done so well and will continue to do so as long as the sacredness exists. Different processes as highlighted by Belk, Wallendorf and Sherry in The sacred and the profane in consumer behaviour:
  • Sacralization through ritual
  • Sacralization through pilgrimage
  • Sacralization through quintessence
  • Sacralization through gift giving
  • Sacralization through collecting
  • Sacralization through inheritance
  • Sacralization through external sanction
Except quintessence and external sanction these processes are enacted purposively by consumers in an effort to create sacred meanings in their lives. Therefore, we do this ourselves so we have something to live for. It would be really interesting to explore why we feel the need to do this, and how and when this need is exaggerated or minimised particularly now scholars are arguing ‘Ownership is no longer the ultimate expression of consumer desire’ Chen (2009) & Marx (2011).

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    Janice Denegri Knott


    Provocative question. Given the nature of the exhibitions that Chen looked at I wonder if there is too a sacred dimension and a certain type of sacrifice and investment carried out by gallery visitors? Can we think of other types of access based consumption where we could study new (if any) ways in which ‘specialness’ is created and maintained by consumers?

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Faculty of Media & Communication, Bournemouth University