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HTS Theological Studies

On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Print version ISSN 0259-9422


KOPIEC, Piotr. Consumer society: Its definitions and its Christian criticism. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2020, vol.76, n.3, pp.1-8. ISSN 2072-8050.

Except for some economists, who think about the consumer society as a way to the political stability and economic progress, the philosophical and sociological view on consumptionism and consumer society is predominantly pejorative. Depending on their axiological starting points, theorists of consumptionism stress its destroying forces for societies, like social idleness, an implosion of social institutions, deepening of social divisions and social exclusion and, last but not least, ecocide. Criticism of the consumer society is also of growing significance for the theological agenda of various Christian Churches and the teaching of ecumenical organizations like the World Council of Churches. The article aims to summarise different approaches to consumptionism and its definitions, which are ordered in two categories: analytical and historical. It also discusses the teaching of Pope Francis, who contributes to the theological perspective of the criticism of the consumer society and focuses on the term of anthropological error as a hermeneutical instrument of this criticism. This task requires employing two main research methods: analysis of selected and relevant literature and synthesising exposition of the results of research. The discourse consists of two parts. The first one presents the term of consumptionism and highlights the scope of discussions on the definitions of this phenomenon. The second demonstrates the Christian interpretation of the problem. The first and the second chapters create a hermeneutical background to the third one; they even might be regarded as its contextualisation. The theological critique of consumer society contributes to the interdisciplinary theory of consumptionism. CONTRIBUTION: The theological critique of consumer society contributes to the interdisciplinary theory of consumptionism. It also shows how theology might refer to social studies. Such a juxtaposition of the theological and sociological fields of reflection converges with the focus and scope of the journal to promote multidisciplinary aspects of studies in the general theological area.

Keywords : consumptionism; consumer society; anthropological error; throwaway society; homo consumens.

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