Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Sheila Greeve Davaney, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Theodore Vial

Third Advisor

Robert Urquhart


Consumer culture, Political theology, Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life, Vocation, Work


The idea of vocation or a calling is particularly salient in much business motivational literature and popular Christian self-help books alike. Promoted is the idea of vocation that glosses over issues stemming from political power in the corporate workplace in order to given meaning to workers in spite of working conditions. In this form, vocations are unable to engage one's working life in ways that they can and should. I argue that recent trends in academic theologies of vocation as well as the role of consumer culture combine to allow the ascendancy of this form of the idea. I support this claim with an analysis of the relationship between consumer culture and business. I locate Rick Warren's concept of "purpose" contained in The Purpose-Driven Life as the functional equivalent of the idea of vocation that serves to distance the idea from the material workplace through its interplay with the mechanics of consumer culture. Utilizing selective theological sources and José Casanova's work concerning public religions, I finally contend that the idea of vocation that resists wholesale commodification can express a latent political quality to combat particular unjust social norms that regulate the corporate work world.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jeffrey E. Scholes


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

264 p.


Religion, Theology