The political theology of IKEA: An ethnographical account of subjectification at an IKEA store

Research output: Working paper


Abstract in Undetermined
This paper is an ethnographical account of a visit to the IKEA store in Älmhult, Sweden. In this paper IKEA is understood as something beyond a retailer offering consumer goods to consumers, and the bond between IKEA and the consumer is understood as something emerging before and extending beyond the contract into which the consumer enters as she or he pays for the goods before exiting the store.

I argue that a bond – a political-theological bond – emerges already as I enter the IKEA store. The contract at the end of my walk through the store, at the exit, might be understood as the acknowledgment of the bond. Indeed, I as a consumer subject emerges as “freed” in a particular sense through my subjugation to, and partaking in, the economy of political theology offered through the IKEA store.

The theoretical framework of the paper draws on Carl Schmitt’s Politiche Theologie and Judith Butler’s The Psychic Life of Power.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • allmän rättslära, jurisprudence
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch