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Religions as Brands

New Perspectives on the Marketization of Religion and Spirituality Edited by Jean-Claude Usunier and Joerg Stolz, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland Series : Ashgate AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Series

During the twentieth century, religion has gone on the market place. Churches and religious groups are forced to 'sell god' in order to be attractive to 'religious consumers'. More and more, religions are seen as 'brands' that have to be recognizable to their members and the general public. What does this do to religion? How do religious groups and believers react? What is the consequence for society as a whole? This book brings together some of the best international specialists from marketing, sociology and economics in order to answer these and similar questions. The interdisciplinary book treats new developments in three fields that have hitherto evolved rather independently: the commoditization of religion, the link between religion and consumer behavior, and the economics of religion. By combining and cross-fertilizing these three fields, the book shows just what happens when religions become brands.


Contents: 

Preface, David Voas;

Part I Introduction:

  • Religions as brands: new perspectives on the marketization of religion and spirituality, Jörg Stolz and Jean-Claude Usunier;
  • ‘9591’: the global commoditization of religions through GATS, WTO, and marketing practices, Jean-Claude Usunier.

Part II Marketing and Branding Religion and Spirituality:

  • The International Christian Fellowship (IFC): a sociological analysis of religious event management, Olivier Favre;
  • Branding, music, and religion: standardization and adaptation in the experience of the ‘hillsong sound’, Thomas Wagner;
  • The marketing of spiritual services and the role of the religious entrepreneur, Markus Hero;
  • Non-fortuitous limits to the concept of branding in the popularizing of ‘justly balanced Islam’ in France, Jason Dean;
  • Healing by Islam: adoption of a Prophetic rite - roqya - by Salafists in France and Belgium, Hanifa Touag.

Part III Religious and Spiritual Consuming:

  • Adding imaginative value: religion, marketing, and the commodification of social action, Jochen Hirschle;
  • Is there such a thing as religious brand loyalty?, Haytham Siala;
  • How religious affiliation grouping influences sustainable consumer behavior findings, Elizabeth Stickel-Minton.

Part IV Economic Analyses of Religious Phenomena:

  • Sources of religious pluralism: revisiting the relationship between pluralism and participation, Roger Finke and Christopher P. Scheitle;
  • Authority and freedom: economics and secularization, Steve Bruce;
  • The ‘business model’ of the Temple of Jerusalem: Jewish monotheism as a unique selling proposition, Philippe Simonnot;

Index.

About the Editor:

Jean-Claude Usunier is professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in the Faculty of Business and Economics (HEC). His research interests are cross-cultural consumer behavior, cultural and linguistic aspects of international marketing, with special interest for commoditization processes in international trade. He serves on the editorial board of several international business and marketing journals. His recent research was published in International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Research in Personality, Time and Society, Journal of International Marketing, International Journal of Electronic Commerce, Journal of Business Communication, and European Journal of Marketing. His books include International and Cross-Cultural management Research (Sage, 1998), International Business Negotiations (Elsevier, 2003), AIDS and Business (Routledge, 2009), and Marketing Across Cultures (Pearson, 2009). 

Jörg Stolz is Professor of Sociology of Religion at the University of Lausanne. His research focuses on the explanation of secularization, the competition between the religious and the secular, evangelicalism, stereotypes, and religious pluralism with the theory of social mechanisms (analytical sociology). Concerning methods, he is especially interested in mixed methods research. He is president-elect of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion. He is the author of Soziologie der Fremdenfeindlichkeit. Theoretische und empirische Analysen of L'avenir des Réformés. Les Eglises face aux changements sociaux (with Edmée Ballif) and has edited the book Salvation goods and religious markets. Theory and Applications. He has published in various international journals such as the British Journal of Sociology, Sociology of Religion, or Review of Religious Research.

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