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Christian Globalism at HomeChild Sponsorship in the United States$
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Hillary Kaell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691201467

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691201467.001.0001

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Materialism and Consumption

Materialism and Consumption

Circulating Christian Love with American Things

Chapter:
(p.128) Chapter 5 Materialism and Consumption
Source:
Christian Globalism at Home
Author(s):

Hillary Kaell

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691201467.003.0007

This chapter studies how the circulation of gifts and money raises fraught questions about U.S. “materialism” and the unjust global distribution of “abundance.” It starts in the 1960s to 1980s, beginning with a shift in how U.S. Christians conceived of materialism. The chapter then explores three popular anti-materialist tactics related to choosing a child to sponsor, small and homespun gifts, and the rhetorical transfiguration of consumer objects into emotions like joy and love. It also draws on the author's contemporary fieldwork at Operation Christmas Child to consider the continued role of objects as points of contact in Christian globalism. Ultimately, U.S. Christians seek to overcome their anxieties about materialism by embracing materiality—the gifts, donations, and other objects of love that seem to provide the surest way to manifest and circulate Love across the world.

Keywords:   U.S. materialism, U.S. Christians, materialism, anti-materialist tactics, child sponsorship, consumer objects, Operation Christmas Child, Christian globalism, materiality, love

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