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EMAC 2022 Annual

Not all kosher: Consumption on the edge of religious prescriptions

Published: May 24, 2022


Rajesh Nanarpuzha, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur; Arti Srivastava, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur; Prakash Satyavageeswaran, Indian Institute of Management Udaipur


Abstract: While deviant consumption is a well-studied subject in consumer research, what happens when consumers deviate from ideological norms is not understood. We use edgework as an enabling lens to understand deviant consumption in the context of religion. Using in-depth long interviews, we find that while consumers are engaging in edgework by navigating the boundaries of religious dogmas, they also attempt to expand the boundaries of religious prescriptions themselves. Balancing on the edge, consumers engage in institution de-norming - separating the value of the religion from the dogma, and choice rationalization - using facts and logical explanations to explain the rationale behind their choices. Consumers also simultaneously engage in expanding the boundaries of acceptable behavior within religious prescriptions. This, they achieve by borrowing beliefs and learnings from other religions and cultures.