Date of Award
Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion
Sheila Greeve Davaney, Ph.D.
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.
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Jeffrey E. Scholes
Received from ProQuest
Scholes, Jeffrey E., "A Vocation as Politics: Work and Popular Theology in a Consumer Culture" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 584.