Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The mall as a sanctuary: Study finds holiday shopping outlets aren't just shrines to spending

Date:
December 22, 2011
Source:
Temple University
Summary:
An international study of holiday shopping and religion finds that dominant religious groups are more likely to experience "consumption mass hysteria" while shoppers in minority religions may view malls and stores much differently: as central meeting places that "can play an active role in the creation of a sacred event."

An international study of holiday shopping and religion finds that dominant religious groups are more likely to experience "consumption mass hysteria" while shoppers in minority religions may view malls and stores much differently: as central meeting places that "can play an active role in the creation of a sacred event."

The study, co-authored by Temple University Fox School of Business marketing professor Ayalla Ruvio, found that holiday consumption in dominant religious settings -- such as Christians in the U.S. or Jews in Israel -- can lead to greater frenzy and a "social tidal wave" that pushes people to excess during the holidays.

The researchers also found that consumers in minority or immigrant religions tend to seek the company of those who share their beliefs during holidays. For some, shopping outlets aren't shrines to spending. Instead, they can offer a gathering place for a "critical mass" in a religion to interact and temporarily overcome their minority religious status -- creating a type of "marketplace sacralization."

"In effect, the marketplace, though normally viewed as profane and commercial, can, through the collective actions of religious devotees, be transformed into … a place of worship and fellowship," the authors wrote.

The researchers conducted 41 in-depth, in-home interviews with Muslims, Jews and Christians in the United States, Israel and Tunisia to examine consumers' behavior when their given religion represents either a majority, minority or immigrant faith. For example, Christians are a religious majority in the U.S., a minority in Israel, and an immigrant religion in Tunisia.

Some minority-religion consumers said they found comfort in marketplaces, or products, shared by those with similar beliefs. In one interview, a member of the Tunisian Jewish community used the animated Prince of Egypt movie to assist in his family's Passover observance. "Rather than the sacred being invaded by the secular, the sacred comes to inhabit the secular," the authors found.

In countries where a religious group was in the majority, the researchers found that the dominant religion experienced "consumption mass hysteria," which led to consequences of debt, drunkenness and overeating. Dominant religions also tend to view religious holidays as a time of national or ethnic glory and "perfection," while minority and immigrant religions report a stronger desire to preserve their traditions and customs, meaning these groups may be more orthodox in their observances.

Despite the many differences, the study found that, in every context and across the religious groups, participants emphasized charity and expressed the spiritual importance of helping others during the central holy days of Christmas, Ramadan and Passover.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Temple University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elizabeth C. Hirschman, Ayalla A. Ruvio, Mourad Touzani. Breaking bread with Abraham’s children: Christians, Jews and Muslims’ holiday consumption in dominant, minority and diasporic communities. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 2010; 39 (3): 429 DOI: 10.1007/s11747-010-0209-2

Cite This Page:

Temple University. "The mall as a sanctuary: Study finds holiday shopping outlets aren't just shrines to spending." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221151718.htm>.
Temple University. (2011, December 22). The mall as a sanctuary: Study finds holiday shopping outlets aren't just shrines to spending. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221151718.htm
Temple University. "The mall as a sanctuary: Study finds holiday shopping outlets aren't just shrines to spending." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221151718.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins