An analysis of material consumption culture in the Muslim world

Jafari, Aliakbar and Süerdem, Ahmet (2012) An analysis of material consumption culture in the Muslim world. Marketing Theory, 12 (1). pp. 59-77. (

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In this paper, we examine the notion of material consumption culture in Islamic societies. We differentiate between institutionalised religion and religion as culture. We contest the Orientalist portrayal of Islam as a fanatic ideology opposed to Western Modernity’s features of secularism, individualism, and pluralism. With reference to the Qur’anic text, we discuss that such qualities are embedded with Islam. We do not interpret the Qur’an from a theological perspective; rather, we seek to demonstrate the possibilities of its multiple interpretations. We argue that, in their everyday life consumption practices, Muslims (re)interpret religious guidelines in different ways and refer to Islam, as a transcendental set of guidelines, to make better sense of their cultural practices in different ways. We summarise our discussion by highlighting the importance of analysing the culture of consumption from the lens of insiders and offer directions for future research.