Eucharistic Hope in a Commodified World translation missing: zh.hyrax.visibility.files_restricted.text

Alonso, Antonio Eduardo (Fall 2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/0z708w40c?locale=zh
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Abstract

A remarkable range of contemporary theological reflection on consumer culture in the United States shares a common conviction that the central task of theology is to respond, resist, or reshape consumer culture. Significant works dedicated to the topic take a similar shape. They first articulate ways in which Christianity is under unique threat by consumer culture. They then advocate for a turn to the Christian tradition for a scripture, doctrine, or practice that might sustain a Christian response to those threats. And in many of these narratives, the location par excellence of that response is the Eucharist. Christian hope, they argue, is found in our effective cultivation of practices of everyday resistance to the market.

In this dissertation, I argue that reducing the work of theology to resistance and centering Christian hope in a Eucharist that might better support that resistance undermines our ability to talk about the activity of God within a consumer culture, binds grace to human activity, and instrumentalizes the Eucharist into ethics. By reframing the question in terms of God’s activity in and in spite of consumer culture, I argue for a mode of theological reflection on consumer culture and Eucharist that sees their interrelationship in light of the unique challenges that American consumerism poses to Christian thought and practice.

With an angle of vision shaped by Michel de Certeau’s insight into the tactics of everyday life and Walter Benjamin’s way of seeing “theological” wishes and desires invested in fallen commodities, I offer a theological account of consumer culture that recognizes not only its deceptions but also traces of truth in its broken promises and fallen hopes. And informed by Louis Marie Chauvet’s insight into the tension between the corporality of the sacraments and a Eucharistic presence that is permeated with the absence of the Risen Lord, I argue also for a vision of the Eucharist that takes seriously its this-worldly materiality even as it makes promises this world cannot keep. Eucharistic hope in a commodified world, I argue, is an eschatological hope that flourishes in and in spite of our ability to resist the market.

Table of Contents

Introduction................................................................................................................... 1

 

 

Chapter One: The Resistance....................................................................................... 12

Liturgy and the Threats of Western Culture......................................................... 16

Eucharist as Counter-politics................................................................................ 27

Responding from within Consumer Culture........................................................ 37

A Shared Concern, A Wider Paradigm................................................................ 46

A Wider Paradigm, A Shared Logic.................................................................... 51

Reframing the Question....................................................................................... 57

 

 

Chapter 2: Hope Beyond Resistance........................................................................... 58

The Tactics of Everyday Life............................................................................... 59

Tactics as Resistance............................................................................................ 63

The Practice of Everyday Life Revisited.............................................................. 71

Listening for the Cry in History........................................................................... 80

Listening for the Cry in Theology........................................................................ 89

Tactics as Hope Beyond Resistance..................................................................... 98

 

 

Chapter 3: Listening for the Cry in a Consumer Culture......................................... 102

The Theological Niceties of the Commodity........................................................ 106

Fragment 1: The Praise of Camp at my Grandmother’s Altarcito........................ 117

Fragment 2: Singing About a (Liturgical) Revolution.......................................... 129

Fragment 3: Salvation in the Shape of an Apple.................................................. 139

 

 

Chapter 4: The Limits of Eucharistic Resistance....................................................... 150

A Turn to Eucharist.............................................................................................. 153

Evidence of Liturgical Formation?....................................................................... 158

A Contemporary Question, A Traditional Impulse.............................................. 180

 

 

Epilogue: Eucharistic Hope in a Commodified World............................................... 192

 

 

Bibliography................................................................................................................... 205

 

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