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Title Zen in the contemporary marketplace
Publication Date
University/Publisher University of Hawaii – Manoa

M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.

I argue in the following thesis that scholars of Zen should take the presence of Zen related commodities in the marketplace seriously, rather than shunning this presence with respect to discursive parameters that orient scholarly engagements with religious "tradition". I hold that much of scholarly neglect stems from the view that commodification in general is a force injurious to religious tradition. Nevertheless, when we examine closely the material objects that propagate in the marketplace, the line between commodification and religion as discrete categories is blurred. More specifically, "Zen" material objects past and present carry a semiotic and conceptual trace encoded in analogues between them, and individuals' rhetoric in relation to Zen's institutional, doctrinal, narrative and popular contexts is telling of this semiotic and conceptual trace.

Subjects/Keywords Zen
Language en
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:10125/100947
Repository hawaii
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2018-06-27

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…She decides that the line stops here; there would be no sell as far as she is concerned. Zen is more than an iPad case, she thinks to herself, and decides it is best to play an integral role in truncating the object’s spread through the careless…

…given the way it looks and feels. There is something Zen about it. The bamboo, the smooth surface, its chic rectangular design that hugs the iPad just perfectly, the way it doesn’t compete with the look of the iPad—all of these characteristics add up to…

…something “Zen” about the product. It’s perfect, and it’s sold. The Zen Garden Bamboo iPad Case is an actual product made by a company called Reveal and it sells on several websites for a little under one hundred dollars. This thesis is dedicated to…

…the one described above quite differently. The difference itself is not so important as what this difference suggests with regard to the scholar. I myself am a student of religion, with an interest in Zen. My voice, therefore, comes from a camp of…

…scholars studying Zen, and much of my concern over the commodification of 2 Zen ultimately relates to how scholars handle this condition more than the many roles individuals assume in perpetuating it. What follows shortly is a sketch of dialectical…

…tensions that affect scholarship on commodified Zen, especially Zen in the Western marketplace. These are tensions between 1) discursive versus non-discursive engagements with Zen related commodities, 2) scholarly notions of religious…

…practitioners versus notions of consumers who merely enjoy a “Zen” look, and 3) the social construction of material reality versus material agency. The first deals directly with the problem of radical semiotic asymmetry and commodification as injurious to…

…as interpretive texts) versus the autonomy of material objects from the linguisticality of material engagement. DISCURSIVE AND NON-DISCURSIVE ENGAGEMENT For quite some time now, much of the efforts of scholars to engage Western aspects of Zen