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Religions 2017, 8(9), 167; doi:10.3390/rel8090167

Buying an Afterlife: Mapping the Social Impact of Religious Beliefs through Consumer Death Goods

Baylor Interdisciplinary Core & Religion, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97350, Waco, TX 76798, USA
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 28 August 2017
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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 two consumer death goods—embalming and caskets—in the contemporary United States, examining both the implicit and explicit relationships these products have with religious worldviews, mapping the social impact of religious beliefs on consumer death choices. View Full-Text
Keywords: embalmment; vaults; funeral industry; consumer goods; afterlife; imagined embodiment; Christianity; United States; religious belief; mapping embalmment; vaults; funeral industry; consumer goods; afterlife; imagined embodiment; Christianity; United States; religious belief; mapping
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Cann, C.K. Buying an Afterlife: Mapping the Social Impact of Religious Beliefs through Consumer Death Goods. Religions 2017, 8, 167.

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