Death and Consumer Culture

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Among the most veiled and emotionally charged of life’s experiences are those related to death. Given that poetry has long been recognized as an unparalleled means of expressing and understanding the most complex and emotional aspects of life (Sherry and Schouten, 2002), it is of little surprise that few poets regarded as the finest of all wordsmiths have not, since time immemorial, grappled with death.

Recently, within marketing and consumer research, poetry has slowly but progressively come to be recognized as a means by which to understand, express, celebrate, and/or confront that which defies scientific or other more “scholarly” explanation (Canniford, 2012; Wijland, 2011; Sherry and Schouten, 2002). This “poetic turn” has manifest itself most notably within the nascent realm of Consumer Culture Theory (CCT); mainly in poetry reading sessions held—with published chapbooks in hand—in concurrence with the annual CCT symposium. Death-related poetry penned by marketing and consumer researchers has there entered—albeit randomly—the CCT circuit (see, for example: Arnould, 2014; Steinfield, 2014; Gabel, 2013, 2010; Downey, 2011, 2010a, 2010b, 2010c).

This chapter represents the first formal, organized attempt to better understand death-related consumption experience and meaning via the creation and dissemination of original works of poetry. The chapter’s title reflects the broad, eclectic perspective of death and consumption herein pursued. We consider funerary and other—good, service, and ideological—product consumption activities and experiences transpiring in the context of death. We also embrace the notion that death often brutally consumes those dealing with it; a sort of “consumption of consumers by death.” In turn, as vividly expressed in several of the poems in this chapter, consumption acts or experiences and/or memories thereof may be instrumental in coping with “being consumed by death.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeath in a Consumer Culture
EditorsSusan Dobscha
ISBN (Print)978-1138848191, 1138848190
Publication statusAccepted - 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge Interpretive Marketing Research

Bibliographical note

Within the following chapter - Poetically Considering Death and Its Consumption (Terrance G. Gabel)


  • Death, Poetics, Consumer Culture


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