Therapeutic servicescapes and market-mediated performances of emotional suffering

Leighanne Higgins, Kathy Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


We introduce the concept of therapeutic servicescapes, defined as consumption settings where emplaced, market-mediated performances compensate for socio-cultural dilemmas. Our focus is on the localization of emotions which are emplaced in specific socio-spatial 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1230-1253
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number6
Early online date11 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


  • servicescapes
  • consumer emotion
  • therapeutic consumption
  • pilgrimage


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