Post-Industrial Asceticism from goop to Kinfolk Magazine


  • Travis Warren Cooper Butler University



Gwyneth Paltrow, goop, Kinfolk magazine, asceticism, classification, American religions, post-industrial economics


This response article comments on Dana Logan’s recent exploration of the religiosity of Gwyneth Paltrow's goop brand in a 2017 publication, “The Lean Closet: Asceticism in Post Industrial Consumer Culture.” I compare and contrast Logan’s work on Paltrow's lifestyle institution with my own analogous research on the Kinfolk movement and its impulses toward ascetic minimalism. From a method and theory standpoint, I analyze in the following the strategies by which Logan deploys the concept of religiosity in studying pop cultural forms such as goop. Thinking about redescription, terminological ambiguity, and the difference between emic and etic categories and labels, I comment on Logan's someone figurative or metaphorical description of goop as a "cultural carrier" of Calvinism and question the linguistic slippages that occur when scholars employ theological and ecclesial terminologies for secondary taxonomic purposes.

Author Biography

Travis Warren Cooper, Butler University

PhD Candidate, Indiana University Departments of Anthropology & Religious Studies Lecturer, Butler University Editorial Assistant, Journal of the American Academy of Religion


Altman, Michael J. 2017. Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721–1893. New York: Oxford University Press.

Arnal, William E., and Russell T. McCutcheon. 2013. The Sacred Is the Profane: The Political Nature of “Religion.” New York: Oxford University Press.

Chayka, Kyle. 2016. “The Last Lifestyle Magazine: How Kinfolk Created the Dominant Aesthetic of the Decade with Perfect Lattes and Avocado Toast.” Racked.

Cunningham, John. 1868. The Quakers, from Their Origin Till the Present Time: An International History. Edinburgh: John Menzies & Co.

Davison, Steven. 2011. “Quakers & Capitalism — Quaker Contributions to the Emergence and Growth of Industrial Capitalism.” Through the Flaming Sword: Exploring Quaker Spirituality, Faith, & Practice.

Diamond, Eliezer. 2004. Holy Men and Hunger Artists: Fasting and Asceticism in Rabbinic Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Finn, Richard. 2009. Asceticism in the Graeco-Roman World. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Frost, J. William. 1973. The Quaker Family in Colonial America: A Portrait of the Society of Friends. New York: St. Martin’s.

goop. 2013. “Collectible Magazines.”

Honoré, Carl. 2004. In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed. New York: HarperCollins.

Kershaw, Tom. 2012. “The Religion and Political Views of Gwyneth Paltrow.” The Hollowverse: The Religions and Political Views of the Influentials.

Lofton, Kathryn. 2011a. Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon. Berkeley: University of California Press.

———. 2011b. “Religion and the American Celebrity.” Social Compass 58: 346–52.

———. 2017. Consuming Religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Logan, Dana W. 2017. “The Lean Closet: Asceticism in Postindustrial Consumer Culture.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 85: 600–28.

Marietta, Jack D. 1974. “Wealth, War and Religion: The Perfecting of Quaker Asceticism, 1740-1783.” Church History 43(2): 230-241.

Martin, Craig. 2012. A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion. New York: Routledge.

Mordechai, Karen. 2017. Simple Fare Spring/Summer: A Guide to Everyday Cooking and Eating. New York: Abrams.

Murphy, Tim. 2014. “Better Homes and Hipsters: Kinfolk Magazine, the Martha Stewart Living for the Portland Set.” New York Times.

Paltrow, Gwyneth, and Thea Baumann. 2016. It’s All Easy: Delicious Weekday Recipes for the Super-Busy Home Cook. New York: Grand Central Life & Style.

Pampered Chef. 2017. “Fall/Winter 2017.” Issuu.

Puglisi, Christian F. 2014. Relæ: A Book of Ideas. Emeryville, CA: Ten Speed Press.

Spencer, Carole Dale. 2013. “Quakers in Theological Context.” In The Oxford Handbook of Quaker Studies, edited by Stephen W. Angell and Pink Dandelion, 141–57 New York: Oxford University Press.

Tepler, Benjamin. 2014. “Kinfolk Magazine Takes Over the World.” Portland Monthly.

Williams, Nathan. 2013. The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings. New York: Artisan.

———. 2015. The Kinfolk Home: Interiors for Slow Living. New York: Artisan.

———. 2017. The Kinfolk Entrepreneur: Ideas for Meaningful Work. New York: Artisan.



How to Cite

Cooper, T. (2019). Post-Industrial Asceticism from goop to Kinfolk Magazine. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 47(3-4), 7–13.