Revisit: Religions as Brands


Religions as Brands: The Marketization of Religion and Spirituality, Lausanne, 13-15 Oct 2011, Organizers Jean-Claude Usunier, J?rg Stolz, TC Melewar and Ghislaine Cestre; Deadline 30 Apr

 ARC: Connections: ELMAR: Posting

areas: sectors: revisit

Call for Papers

"Religions as Brands". The Marketization of Religion and Spirituality
University of Lausanne, October 13-15, 2011

Deadline for submission of abstracts: April 30, 2011


This international conference deals with religious markets and how religions try to market and brand themselves. In the market of religions paradigm, economic and marketing vocabulary are used to analyze the religious domain. Religious organizations are seen as "firms", while the faithful are seen as "consumers" of both this-worldly and otherworldly "religious products". Religions may then be analyzed as "brands" conveying specific brand experiences and images. Religious specialists engage in "branding" their specific group and market their specific offer, aiming for converts, participants, donators and public recognition. However, religions and religious groups may also have to face negative publicity due to scandals, suboptimal performance, lack of integration or religious conflict. Some religious groups may find it a challenge to adapt to modern conditions and to market themselves, while others may try to resist to see their offer as "products".

This conference welcomes papers dealing with the topics listed below. Papers may focus on all kinds of religions, "world religions" just as new religious movements or alternative spiritualities. The conference is an interdisciplinary academic venue between sociology, economics, marketing, and study of religions scholars, open to all, supporters as well as critics of the economic paradigm of religion and spirituality.


  • The branding of religions: How do religions / religious institutions brand themselves?
  • Positive and negative public images of religions and their effects
  • Religion and marketing Communication, media and the promotion of religions
  • Effects of religious branding and marketing on conversion and switching
  • Religious institutions as suppliers of religion and spirituality
  • Religious institutions as competitors on the market of religions
  • The influence of state regulation on religious branding and marketing
  • Consumer behavior for religion: Beliefs, norms, values, participation and commitment
  • Consumer loyalty and switching in the religious market
  • Giving and the market of religions: Religious giving, philanthropy, church finances
  • Substitutability, complementarity, competition between secular and religious goods
  • Religion and spirituality as determinants of consumer behavior
  • Social networks and social/spiritual/religious capital

Keynote Speakers

Steve Bruce (University of Edinburgh) (confirmed)
Laurence R. Iannaccone (Chapman University) (to be confirmed)
Philippe Simmonot, (Oberservatoire des Religions, Université Paris, France) (confirmed)

Organizing Committee

Ghislaine Cestre, (University of Lausanne, HEC)
T.C. Melewar (Brunel University, West London UK)
Jörg Stolz (University of Lausanne, FTSR, Observatoire des Religions)
Jean-Claude Usunier (University of Lausanne, HEC)

Scientific Committee

Jean-Pierre Bastian, Université de Strasbourg, France
Steve Bruce, University of Aberdeen, Great Britain
Jeremy Carrette, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK
Mark Chaves, Duke University, USA
Mara Einstein, Queens College/CUNY and NYU, USA
Reto Famos Cla, Fondation Suisse des études, Switzerland
Roger Finke, The Pennsylvania State University, USA
Jean-Paul Flipo, EM Lyon, France
Anthony Gill, University of Washington, Seattle, USA
Steffen Hillebrecht, FH Würzburg-Schweinfurt, Germany
Dan Hungerman, University of Notre Dame, USA Lawrence Iannaconne, Chapman University, USA
Elif Karaosmanoglu, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Ralph Kunz, University of Zürich, Switzerland
Ann Kuzma, Minnesota State University, USA
Raphael Liogier, Observatoire du Religieux, Université d’Aix en Provence, France
Bill Merillees, Griffith University, Australia
Dale Miller, Griffith University, Australia
Wilfried Mödinger, University of Berlin, Germany
Cedomir Nestorovic, ESSEC Business School, France
Peter Seele, University of Basel, Switzerland
Erik Sengers, Kampen Theological University, The Netherlands
Philippe Simmonot, (Oberservatoire des Religions, Université Paris, France) (confirmed)
Rodney Stark, Baylor University, USA
Faridah Syed Alwi Sharifah, University of Malaya, Malaysia
David Voas, University of Manchester, Great Britain
Jean-Paul Willaime, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, France

Paper Selection/Screening Process

Papers will be selected based on a double-blind review process.

Authors will receive abstract acceptance notice from the Organizing Committee by June 30 2011. Full papers should be submitted by September 15, 2011.

Paper Submission and Review Process

Please send an abstract of no more than 1000 words (no detailed references) by April 30, 2011 to the conference organizer ( Abstracts should clearly state the purpose, results and conclusions of the work to be described in the final paper. Keywords (3-5) should be enclosed to abstract. Please, provide full names, affiliations and up-to-date contact details (postal address, e-mail, telephone and fax numbers).

  • The conference organizers plan to publish a substantial number of accepted papers in an edited volume.
  • Selected papers will be reviewed for a Special Issue in the Journal of Brand Management.
  • The editors of Journal of Consumer Culture and Consumption, Markets, and Society encourage submission of papers from the "Religions as Brands" conference.


Abstracts and final papers may be submitted in English, French, or German. Since English is the shared language of the Conference, presenters are expected to make their presentation in English for making cross-language communication easier while retaining some key concepts in the original language for the purpose of highlighting culture and language-specific concepts that are not cross-culturally equivalent.

Submission Format

All abstracts and final papers in Microsoft Word format can be submitted in English, French, or German, checked for correct grammar and spelling. Abstract and manuscript style should follow the guidelines for authors of Consumption, Markets, and Culture (see: They should be e-mailed to

Conference Venue

The conference will take place at the beautiful site of University of Lausanne from Thursday October 13, 2011 at 2PM to Saturday October 15, 2011 at 1PM. Travel and accommodation is to be paid by participants. The conference organization will provide a list of hotels and facilitate booking.

Contact and Correspondence

For any question related to accommodation in Lausanne, participants should contact

Registration fee

For regular participants CHF 200 / Euro 140 / USD 190 (CHF 100, Euro 70, USD 95 for PhD students), exclusive of transport and accommodation. This includes coffee breaks, Friday lunch as well as the dinners on Thursday and Friday night.