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February 17, 2012 / Charlie McNabb

March 2010 paper: Commodification of Devotion: The Virgin of Guadalupe in Popular Culture

I presented the following paper at the Western States Folklore Society conference in 2010.

Abstract:

What happens when religious objects enter the mass market? The Virgin of Guadalupe has exploded in popularity and her image can be found on mugs, t-shirts, key chains, and purses. The same item might be purchased by an ironic hipster and a true believer. This paper explores the ways in which mass production affects religious devotion, specifically focusing on the Virgin of Guadalupe in the United States and Mexico.  I investigate consumption, audience, and vernacular religion through a cultural theory lens, discussing examples from my own experience and those of my research informants.

View paper: Commodification of Devotion.

As part of the presentation, I showed 160 images illustrating the Virgin’s popularity in mass culture.  Here are a few highlights, from my personal collection:

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