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An Unexpected Overlap between Civil Religion and Consumption: The Unseen Role of Conscious Commodity Design

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This paper argues that the societally homogenising function attributed to civil religion possibly has, at least in parts, been assumed by conscious commodity design. Inasmuch as conscious commodity design helps to promote consumption, it is argued, it is potentially conducive to the achievement of a satisfactory level of economic growth, which is considered a national goal in many countries. In this trajectory of argumentation, the role played by aesthetics, or, more specifically, by the consumer’s aesthetic experience therein is moved to the foreground and explored with a small socio-empirical experiment. Based on the findings, a thesis regarding the normative power of conscious commodity design with respect to a normalising of sensory orders in consumers is formulated. Its implications for consumer judgement, notably limiting and determining the consumer’s reality-making, are discussed.

Affiliations: 1: PhD student, Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität, Munich,


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