Buying an afterlifebuying an afterlife

Mapping religious beliefs through consumer death goods 1

Authored by: Candi K. Cann

The Routledge Handbook of Death and the Afterlife

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138682160
eBook ISBN: 9781315545349
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315545349-30

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Abstract

Choosing to have a body embalmed, the choice of interment locations and type, including the selection of a particular casket, are all deeply intertwined with various understandings of the afterlife, and views of the body after death. Consumer choices in these cases are often determined by imagined embodiment, and are determined in part by non-rational consumer choices based on religious upbringing and belief. In turn, diasporic and religious identity can be reinforced and solidified through consumer choices that then fulfill religious imaginations of post-death embodiment. This article traces the relationship of consumer death goods in the contemporary United States with both the implicit and explicit relationships these material goods have with religious worldviews on consumer death choices.

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