Religion through the lens of ‘marketization’ and ‘lifestyle’

Authored by: François Gauthier

Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138182509
eBook ISBN: 9781315646435
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter asks how to best define ‘marketization’ for use in the study of religion. It begins by critically examining existing perspectives on marketization before suggesting a fruitful approach for understanding the transformations of religion in global societies. The first part retraces the idea of marketization from the works of Peter Berger in 1967 to the more recent uses of these concepts, and paradoxically situates the development of the Rational Choice Theory of religion in its continuation. The chapter argues that sociologists of religion have been too kind to Rational Choice theorists, and that knowledge of liberal political economy and its history allows for a much more radical and informed dismissal. Noting the absence of any kind of serious theoretical engagement with concepts such as the market, commoditization, etc., as well as the normative underpinnings of the different strands of research on religion and marketization, the chapter moves into the second part and sketches a careful and comprehensive theory of marketization that is informed by scholarship on both neoliberalism and consumerism, making it an essential concept for the study of religion in the global age.

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