On 19 May 2023, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology (Religion & Culture) City University of New York (CUNY) - Baruch College, George González will deliver the Edward Bailey Keynote Lecture:
Across many parts of the world, contemporary experiences of everyday life are set within the context of a ‘society of consumers’ (Bauman, 2005) in which “consumption has increasingly assumed a central systemic role in the reproduction of capitalist society” (Clarke, 2003: 2). For some, this is in the act of consumption of goods, for others it is in the production of those same goods (under varying workplaces and worker experiences), and for some it is in locating ways to resist such consumptive practices or to hold to account those who benefit from enforced labour, both past and present (DuBois, 1935; Banerjee & Johnston, 2020). For all of us, consumptive practices shape our identity, for marginalised groups their identity markers as consumers “promotes powerful normative models of collective identity that equate social membership with conspicuous consumption” (Lamont & Molnár, 2002).
Consumers, consumption, and market spaces have become subject to, and sites for the development and intensification of, practices of surveillance in a myriad of ever-increasing ways. They have also become sites for increasingly public forms of resistance to the surveillance, to the ethical ramifications of non-stop consumption, to the cost for workers and to the increasing dominance of online consumption. Concomitantly, we are engaged in appropriative practices within our consumption that lends itself to varying forms of surveillance, denial, or assertion of privileged identities.
Consequently, we must pay close attention to the role and capacity of agency when examining aspects of consumption. If our actions and reactions as consumers is dependent upon social meaning and symbolism, what agency do we assert in our consumptive practices, or our resistance to consumptive practices? How does that agency vary across different valences and times? How can we as scholars of religion better understand the consumptive practices that those we study are engaged in if we incorporate agency into our research design and analysis? What role can the analytical tools of Implicit Religion: Commitment, Integrating Foci, & Intensive Concerns with Extensive Effects, play in helping us to better undertake that research design and analysis?
We are interested in, but not limited to, proposals that address one or more of the following:.