MO2148 CONSUMER CULTURE AND THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH
Faculty of Missiology
Licentiate in Missiology , Licenza Ad Gentes, Licenza in Nuova Evangelizzazione, Licentiate in Social Sciences majoring in Social Doctrine of the Church and Public Ethics, Licentiate in Theology majoring in Dogmatic Theology
Scope: The course seeks a theological understanding of consumer culture, possibly the most powerful shaper of human imagination, desire, identity, and relationships in our contemporary world, in order to explore how the Church can more adequately fulfill its mission of evangelizing culture in response to it. Content: The course will primarily engage the thought of five thinkers (philosophers and theologians): (1) John F. Kavanaugh’s contrast between the “Commodity Form” of consumer culture and the “Personal Form” of Christianity; (2) James K. A. Smith’s anthropology of desire and his examination of the “liturgies” of secular culture and the Church that shape desire; (3) Vincent Miller’s analysis of consumer culture as a culture of commodification that fragments human desire and transforms the practice of religion; (4) William Cavanaugh’s Augustinian reading of the free market, consumerism, and scarcity, and his proposal of Eucharistic community and practices; (5) Miroslav Volf’s theology of human flourishing and of the role of religions as carriers of visions of authentic flourishing in contemporary globalized society. Method: The students are expected to read the key texts of the thinkers to be studied, to enter more deeply into the frontal lectures and discussions during class. Evaluation: A final research paper of 15 to 20 pages will be required.