Recently the Journal of Global Marketing Science published a special issue on Philosophy and Marketing. Professor Jamie Murphy and I were published in that journal with our article: “Communitas and civitas: an idiographic model of consumer collectives”
The article is part of a two part conceptual journey into consumer collectives. Also called Brand Communities, Consumer Tribes, Subcultures of Consumption and other such names, these communities have products at their centre and act a lot like religious communities. This article draws a comparison between religious communities (as it is defined by American James Carse) and these consumption communities. The comparison explores the tension between the Civitas (or producer/church) and the Communitas (congregation/consumer collective). The two groups do not have the same aims; rather their goals produce a social energy or “game” which generates meaning for all the players.
The contribution of this article is the development of a model of communal consumption behaviour which is mapped to a particular model of the way religion works. Parallels between consumption behaviour and religion have become increasingly common since Apple Computer introduced the approach in the mid 1980s. This article also highlights the work of James Carse, an American scholar of Philosophy and Religion.