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Comedy of the Commons: Nomadic Spirituality and the Burning Man Festival

Consumer Culture Theory

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1446-1, eISBN: 978-1-84855-984-4

Publication date: 7 June 2007


In this account of our long-term ethnographic investigation of the Burning Man Project, we examine the emergence of nomadic spirituality among the citizens of Black Rock City, Nevada. We describe this emergence as a reaction to consumers’ increasing dissatisfaction both with conventional religious denominations and with consumption as an existential ground of meaning. We provide an emic view of the pilgrimage experience at Black Rock City, from the perspective of participants in and organizers of the event. We propose a theory of the comedy of the commons to interpret the surface structure of the moment, and embed our deep structural interpretation of the nomadic spirituality of the phenomenon within the context of new religious movements (NRMs). In so doing, we shed new light on the topic of the sacred and profane in consumer experience.


Sherry, J.F. and Kozinets, R.V. (2007), "Comedy of the Commons: Nomadic Spirituality and the Burning Man Festival", Belk, R.W. and Sherry, J.F. (Ed.) Consumer Culture Theory (Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 119-147.



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