Therapeutic servicescapes and market-mediated performances of emotional suffering

Higgins, Leighanne and Hamilton, Kathy (2019) Therapeutic servicescapes and market-mediated performances of emotional suffering. Journal of Consumer Research, 45 (6). pp. 1230-1253. ISSN 1537-5277 (

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We introduce the concept of therapeutic servicescapes, defined as consumption settings where emplaced, market-mediated performances compensate for socio-cultural dilemmas. Our focus is on the localization of emotions which are emplaced in specific socio-spatial features and collectively reproduced through ritualized consumer performances. This ethnographic study of religious pilgrimage consumption reveals that the therapeutic servicescape comprises three features: evocative spaces, ideological homogeneity and restorative emotion scripts. These servicescape features catalyze the consumer rituals of therapeutic relations, therapeutic release and therapeutic renewal. Our theorization of therapeutic servicescapes offers three contributions. First, we reveal how emotions are socially and geographically orchestrated and transformed in marketplace settings. Second, we demonstrate how therapeutic ritual performances reproduce emplaced, market-mediated emotion and compensate for embodied emotional restrictions. Third, we demonstrate how the negotiation of emotional ordering guides the therapeutic dialogue between religion and the marketplace.