Dr Higgins and Dr Hamilton will present their ethnographic study on therapeutic servicescapes recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research. As part of their talk, they will also share their experiences of writing and revising the paper through the review process.

Wednesday 30 October 2019
Room G.05
Dr Leighanne Higgins; Lancaster University
Dr Kathy Hamilton; University of Strathclyde


We introduce the concept of therapeutic servicescapes, defined as consumption settings where emplaced, market-mediated performances compensate for sociocultural dilemmas. Our focus is on the localization of emotions that are emplaced in specific sociospatial features and collectively reproduced through ritualized consumer performances. This ethnographic study of religious pilgrimage consumption reveals that the therapeutic servicescape comprises three features: evocative spaces, ideological homogeneity, and restorative emotion scripts. These servicescape features catalyze the consumer rituals of therapeutic relations, therapeutic release, and therapeutic renewal.

Our theorization of therapeutic servicescapes offers three contributions. First, we reveal how emotions are socially and geographically orchestrated and transformed in marketplace settings. Second, we demonstrate how therapeutic ritual performances reproduce emplaced, market-mediated emotion and compensate for embodied emotional restrictions. Third, we demonstrate how the negotiation of emotional ordering guides the therapeutic dialogue between religion and the marketplace.

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