Religion and Media

Author: Hent de Vries,Samuel Weber

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804734974

Category: Religion

Page: 649

View: 5990

The latter part of the twentieth century saw an explosion of new media that effected profound changes in human categories of communication. At the same time, a "return to religion" occurred on a global scale. The twenty-five contributors to this volume—who include such influential thinkers as Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, Talal Asad, and James Siegel—confront the conceptual, analytical, and empirical difficulties involved in addressing the complex relationship between religion and media. The book's introductory section offers a prolegomenon to the multiple problems raised by an interdisciplinary approach to these multifaceted phenomena. The essays in the following part provide exemplary approaches to the historical and systematic background to the study of religion and media, ranging from the biblical prohibition of images and its modern counterparts, through theological discussion of imagery in Ignatius and Luther, to recent investigations into icons and images that "think" in Jean-Luc Marion and Gilles Deleuze. The third part presents case studies by anthropologists and scholars of comparative religion who deal with religion and media in Indonesia, India, Japan, South Africa, Venezuela, Iran, Poland, Turkey, present-day Germany, and Australia. The book concludes with two remarkable documents: a chapter from Theodor W. Adorno's study of the relationship between religion and media in the context of political agitation (The Psychological Technique of Martin Luther Thomas' Radio Addresses) and a section from Niklas Luhmann's monumental Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft (Society as a Social System).
Posted in Religion

Religion and Cultural Memory

Ten Studies

Author: Jan Assmann,Rodney Livingstone

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804745239

Category: Religion

Page: 222

View: 317

In ten brilliant essays, Jan Assmann explores the connections between religion, culture, and memory. Building on Maurice Halbwachs's idea that memory, like language, is a social phenomenon as well as an individual one, he argues that memory has a cultural dimension too. He develops a persuasive view of the life of the past in such surface phenomena as codes, religious rites and festivals, and canonical texts on the one hand, and in the Freudian psychodrama of repressing and resurrecting the past on the other. Whereas the current fad for oral history inevitably focuses on the actual memories of the last century or so, Assmann presents a commanding view of culture extending over five thousand years. He focuses on cultural memory from the Egyptians, Babylonians, and the Osage Indians down to recent controversies about memorializing the Holocaust in Germany and the role of memory in the current disputes between Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East and between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland.
Posted in Religion

Religion in the Media Age

Author: Stewart M. Hoover

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134380763

Category: Religion

Page: 352

View: 7267

Looking at the everyday interaction of religion and media in our cultural lives, Hoover’s new book is a fascinating assessment of the state of modern religion. Recent years have produced a marked turn away from institutionalized religions towards more autonomous, individual forms of the search for spiritual meaning. Film, television, the music industry and the internet are central to this process, cutting through the monolithic assertions of world religions and giving access to more diverse and fragmented ideals. While the sheer volume and variety of information travelling through global media changes modes of religious thought and commitment, the human desire for spirituality also invigorates popular culture itself, recreating commodities – film blockbusters, world sport and popular music – as contexts for religious meanings. Drawing on research into household media consumption, Hoover charts the way in which media and religion intermingle and collide in the cultural experience of media audiences. Religion in the Media Age is essential reading for everyone interested in how today mass media relates to contemporary religious and spiritual life.
Posted in Religion

Religion, Media, and the Public Sphere

Author: Birgit Meyer,Annelies Moors

Publisher: Indiana University Press

ISBN: 9780253111722

Category: Religion

Page: 336

View: 7366

"... one of those rare edited volumes that advances social thought as it provides substantive religious and media ethnography that is good to think with." -- Dale Eickelman, Dartmouth College Increasingly, Pentecostal, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and indigenous movements all over the world make use of a great variety of modern mass media, both print and electronic. Through religious booklets, radio broadcasts, cassette tapes, television talk-shows, soap operas, and documentary film these movements address multiple publics and offer alternative forms of belonging, often in competition with the postcolonial nation-state. How have new practices of religious mediation transformed the public sphere? How has the adoption of new media impinged on religious experiences and notions of religious authority? Has neo-liberalism engendered a blurring of the boundaries between religion and entertainment? The vivid essays in this interdisciplinary volume combine rich empirical detail with theoretical reflection, offering new perspectives on a variety of media, genres, and religions.
Posted in Religion

A Systems Theory of Religion

Author: Niklas Luhmann

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 080478793X

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 2087

A Systems Theory of Religion, still unfinished at Niklas Luhmann's death in 1998, was first published in German two years later thanks to the editorial work of André Kieserling. One of Luhmann's most important projects, it exemplifies his later work while redefining the subject matter of the sociology of religion. Religion, for Luhmann, is one of the many functionally differentiated social systems that make up modern society. All such subsystems consist entirely of communications and all are "autopoietic," which is to say, self-organizing and self-generating. Here, Luhmann explains how religion provides a code for coping with the complexity, opacity, and uncontrollability of our world. Religion functions to make definite the indefinite, to reconcile the immanent and the transcendent. Synthesizing approaches as disparate as the philosophy of language, historical linguistics, deconstruction, and formal systems theory/cybernetics, A Systems Theory of Religion takes on important topics that range from religion's meaning and evolution to secularization, turning decades of sociological assumptions on their head. It provides us with a fresh vocabulary and a fresh philosophical and sociological approach to one of society's most fundamental phenomena.
Posted in Social Science

Religion and Violence

Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida

Author: Hent de Vries

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801867682

Category: Philosophy

Page: 443

View: 2353

Does violence inevitably shadow our ethico-political engagements and decisions, including our understandings of identity, whether collective or individual? Questions that touch upon ethics and politics can greatly benefit from being rephrased in terms borrowed from the arsenal of religious and theological figures, because the association of such figures with a certain violence keeps moralism, whether in the form of fideism or humanism, at bay. Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida's careful posing of such questions and rearticulations pioneers new modalities for systematic engagement with religion and philosophy alike.
Posted in Philosophy

Philosophy and the Turn to Religion

Author: Hent de Vries

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801859953

Category: Philosophy

Page: 475

View: 4058

This study argues that a turn to religion in philosophy anticipates and accompanies this development in the contemporary world. It addresses the necessity for a philosophical thinking that situates itself both close to and at the farthest remove from traditional manifestations of the religious
Posted in Philosophy

Semites

Race, Religion, Literature

Author: Gil Anidjar

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804756945

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 139

View: 8044

This book is a collection of essays about the invention—and disappearance—of the ‘Semites’ and the lingering effects, both institutional and theologico-political, of this invention.
Posted in Literary Criticism

The Reality of the Mass Media

Author: Niklas Luhmann

Publisher: LIT Verlag Münster

ISBN: 9780804740777

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 154

View: 7454

In The Reality of the Mass Media, Luhmann extends his theory of social systems—applied in his earlier works to the economy, the political system, art, religion, the sciences, and law—to an examination of the role of mass media in the construction of social reality. Luhmann argues that the system of mass media is a set of recursive, self-referential programs of communication, whose functions are not determined by the external values of truthfulness, objectivity, or knowledge, nor by specific social interests or political directives. Rather, he contends that the system of mass media is regulated by the internal code information/noninformation, which enables the system to select its information (news) from its own environment and to communicate this information in accordance with its own reflexive criteria. Despite its self-referential quality, Luhmann describes the mass media as one of the key cognitive systems of modern society, by means of which society constructs the illusion of its own reality. The reality of mass media, he argues, allows societies to process information without destabilizing social roles or overburdening social actors. It forms a broad reservoir (memory) of options for the future coordination of action, and it provides parameters for the stabilization of political reproduction of society, as it produces a continuous self-description of the world around which modern society can orient itself. In his discussion of mass media, Luhmann elaborates a theory of communication in which communication is seen not as the act of a particular consciousness, nor the medium of integrative social norms, but merely the technical codes through which systemic operations arrange and perpetuate themselves.
Posted in Language Arts & Disciplines

Cultural Memory and Early Civilization

Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination

Author: Jan Assmann

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521763819

Category: History

Page: 319

View: 1603

Now available to an English-speaking audience, this book presents a groundbreaking theoretical analysis of memory, identity, and culture. It investigates how cultures remember, arguing that human memory exists and is communicated in two ways, namely inter-human interaction and in external systems of notation, such as writing, which can span generations. Dr. Assmann defines two theoretical concepts of cultural memory, differentiating between the long-term memory of societies, which can span up to 3,000 years, and communicative memory, which is typically restricted to 80-100 years. He applies this theoretical framework to case studies of four specific cultures, illustrating the function contexts and specific achievements, including the state, international law, religion, and science. Ultimately, his research demonstrates that memory is not simply a means of retaining information, but rather a force that can shape cultural identity and allow cultures to respond creatively to both daily challenges and catastrophic changes.
Posted in History

Occidental Eschatology

Author: Jacob Taubes

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804760284

Category: Philosophy

Page: 215

View: 5819

Occidental Eschatology is a study of apocalypticism and its effects on Western philosophy. One of the great Jewish intellectuals of the twentieth century, Taubes published only this one book during his life, and here the English translation finally becomes available.
Posted in Philosophy

Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory

Author: Astrid Erll,Ann Rigney

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter

ISBN: 3110204444

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 256

View: 8560

The specific concern of this collection is linking the use of media to the larger socio-cultural processes involved in collective memory-making. The focus rests in particular on two aspects of media use: the basic dynamics of mediation and remediation . The key questions are: What role do media play in the production and circulation of cultural memories? How do mediation, remediation and intermediality shape objects and acts of cultural remembrance? How can new, emergent media redefine or transform what is collectively remembered?"
Posted in Literary Criticism

Faith as an Option

Possible Futures for Christianity

Author: Hans Joas

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 080479278X

Category: Social Science

Page: 204

View: 6853

Many people these days regard religion as outdated and are unable to understand how believers can intellectually justify their faith. Nonbelievers have long assumed that progress in technology and the sciences renders religion irrelevant. Believers, in contrast, see religion as vital to society's spiritual and moral well-being. But does modernization lead to secularization? Does secularization lead to moral decay? Sociologist Hans Joas argues that these two supposed certainties have kept scholars from serious contemporary debate and that people must put these old arguments aside in order for debate to move forward. The emergence of a "secular option" does not mean that religion must decline, but that even believers must now define their faith as one option among many. In this book, Joas spells out some of the consequences of the abandonment of conventional assumptions for contemporary religion and develops an alternative to the cliché of an inevitable conflict between Christianity and modernity. Arguing that secularization comes in waves and stressing the increasing contingency of our worlds, he calls upon faith to articulate contemporary experiences. Churches and religious communities must take into account religious diversity, but the modern world is not a threat to Christianity or to faith in general. On the contrary, Joas says, modernity and faith can be mutually enriching.
Posted in Social Science

Formations of the Secular

Christianity, Islam, Modernity

Author: Talal Asad

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804783098

Category: Religion

Page: 280

View: 3399

Opening with the provocative query “what might an anthropology of the secular look like?” this book explores the concepts, practices, and political formations of secularism, with emphasis on the major historical shifts that have shaped secular sensibilities and attitudes in the modern West and the Middle East. Talal Asad proceeds to dismantle commonly held assumptions about the secular and the terrain it allegedly covers. He argues that while anthropologists have oriented themselves to the study of the “strangeness of the non-European world” and to what are seen as non-rational dimensions of social life (things like myth, taboo, and religion),the modern and the secular have not been adequately examined. The conclusion is that the secular cannot be viewed as a successor to religion, or be seen as on the side of the rational. It is a category with a multi-layered history, related to major premises of modernity, democracy, and the concept of human rights. This book will appeal to anthropologists, historians, religious studies scholars, as well as scholars working on modernity.
Posted in Religion

Martyrdom and Memory

Early Christian Culture Making

Author: Elizabeth Castelli

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 023150344X

Category: Religion

Page: 360

View: 1263

Martyrs are produced, Elizabeth Castelli suggests, not by the lived experience of particular historical individuals but by the stories that are later told about them. And the formulaic character of stories about past suffering paradoxically serves specific theological, cultural, or political ends in the present. Martyrdom and Memory explores the central role of persecution in the early development of Christian ideas, institutions, and cultural forms and shows how the legacy of Christian martyrdom plays out in today's world. In the pre-Constantinian imperial period, the conflict between Roman imperial powers and the subject Christian population hinged on competing interpretations of power, submission, resistance, and victory. This book highlights how both Roman and Christian notions of law and piety deployed the same forms of censure and critique, each accusing the other of deviations from governing conventions of gender, reason, and religion. Using Maurice Halbwachs's theoretical framework of collective memory and a wide range of Christian sources—autobiographical writings, martyrologies and saints'lives, sermons, art objects, pilgrimage souvenirs, and polemics about spectacle—Castelli shows that the writings of early Christians aimed to create public and ideologically potent accounts of martyrdom. The martyr's story becomes a "usable past" and a "living tradition" for Christian communities and an especially effective vehicle for transmitting ideas about gender, power, and sanctity. An unlikely legacy of early Christian martyrdom is the emergence of modern "martyr cults" in the wake of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Focusing specifically on the martyr cult associated with one of the victims, Martyrdom and Memory argues that the Columbine story dramatically expresses the ongoing power of collective memory constructed around a process of rendering tragic suffering redemptive and meaningful. In the wake of Columbine and other contemporary legacies of martyrdom's ethical ambivalence, the global impact of Christian culture making in the early twenty-first century cannot be ignored. For as the last century's secularist hypothesis sits in the wings, "religion" returns to center stage with one of this drama's most contentious yet riveting stars: the martyr.
Posted in Religion

Creating Church Online

Ritual, Community and New Media

Author: Tim Hutchings

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 1136277501

Category: Religion

Page: 264

View: 3796

Online churches are internet-based Christian communities, pursuing worship, discussion, friendship, support, proselytization, and other key religious goals through computer-mediated communication. Hundreds of thousands of people are now involved with online congregations, generating new kinds of ritual, leadership, and community and new networks of global influence. Creating Church Online constructs a rich ethnographic account of the diverse cultures of online churches, from virtual worlds to video streams. This book also outlines the history of online churchgoing, from its origins in the 1980s to the present day, and traces the major themes of academic and Christian debate around this topic. Applying some of the leading current theories in the study of religion, media and culture to this data, Tim Hutchings proposes a new model of religious design in contexts of mediatization, and draws attention to digital networks, transformative third spaces and terrains of existential vulnerability. Creating Church Online advances our understanding of the significance and impact of digital media in the religious and social lives of its users, in search of new theoretical frameworks for digital religion.
Posted in Religion

Dialectic of Enlightenment

Author: Max Horkheimer,Theodor W. Adorno

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 080478809X

Category: Social Science

Page: 304

View: 9276

Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism." Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle against natural forces, as represented in myths, are connected in a wide arch to the most threatening experiences of the present. The book consists in five chapters, at first glance unconnected, together with a number of shorter notes. The various analyses concern such phenomena as the detachment of science from practical life, formalized morality, the manipulative nature of entertainment culture, and a paranoid behavioral structure, expressed in aggressive anti-Semitism, that marks the limits of enlightenment. The authors perceive a common element in these phenomena, the tendency toward self-destruction of the guiding criteria inherent in enlightenment thought from the beginning. Using historical analyses to elucidate the present, they show, against the background of a prehistory of subjectivity, why the National Socialist terror was not an aberration of modern history but was rooted deeply in the fundamental characteristics of Western civilization. Adorno and Horkheimer see the self-destruction of Western reason as grounded in a historical and fateful dialectic between the domination of external nature and society. They trace enlightenment, which split these spheres apart, back to its mythical roots. Enlightenment and myth, therefore, are not irreconcilable opposites, but dialectically mediated qualities of both real and intellectual life. "Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology." This paradox is the fundamental thesis of the book. This new translation, based on the text in the complete edition of the works of Max Horkheimer, contains textual variants, commentary upon them, and an editorial discussion of the position of this work in the development of Critical Theory.
Posted in Social Science

Encounters of Body and Soul in Contemporary Religious Practices

Anthropological Reflections

Author: Anna Fedele,Ruy Llera Blanes

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 0857452088

Category: Social Science

Page: 252

View: 6242

Social scientists and philosophers confronted with religious phenomena have always been challenged to find a proper way to describe the spiritual experiences of the social group they were studying. The influence of the Cartesian dualism of body and mind (or soul) led to a distinction between non-material, spiritual experiences (i.e., related to the soul) and physical, mechanical experiences (i.e., related to the body). However, recent developments in medical science on the one hand and challenges to universalist conceptions of belief and spirituality on the other have resulted in "body" and "soul" losing the reassuring solid contours they had in the past. Yet, in "Western culture," the body–soul duality is alive, not least in academic and media discourses. This volume pursues the ongoing debates and discusses the importance of the body and how it is perceived in contemporary religious faith: what happens when "body" and "soul" are un-separated entities? Is it possible, even for anthropologists and ethnographers, to escape from "natural dualism"? The contributors here present research in novel empirical contexts, the benefits and limits of the old dichotomy are discussed, and new theoretical strategies proposed.
Posted in Social Science

Performing Memory in Art and Popular Culture

Author: Liedeke Plate,Anneke Smelik

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 0415811406

Category: Art

Page: 229

View: 7235

This volume pursues a new line of research in cultural memory studies by understanding memory as a performative act in art and popular culture. The authors take their cue from the observation that art and popular culture enact memory and generate processes of memory. They do memory, and in this doing of memory new questions about the cultural dimensions of memory arise: How do art objects and artistic practices perform the past in the present? What is their relationship to the archive? Does the past speak in the performed past (or do we speak to it)? To what purpose do objects "recall"? And for whom do they recollect? Here authors combine a methodological focus on memory as performance with a theoretical focus on art and popular culture as practices of remembrance. The essays in the book thus analyze what is at stake in the complex processes of remembering and forgetting, of recollecting and disremembering, of amnesia and anamnesis, that make up cultural memory.
Posted in Art

After the Death of God

Author: John D. Caputo,Gianni Vattimo

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231512534

Category: Philosophy

Page: 216

View: 823

It has long been assumed that the more modern we become, the less religious we will be. Yet a recent resurrection in faith has challenged the certainty of this belief. In these original essays and interviews, leading hermeneutical philosophers and postmodern theorists John D. Caputo and Gianni Vattimo engage with each other's past and present work on the subject and reflect on our transition from secularism to postsecularism. As two of the figures who have contributed the most to the theoretical reflections on the contemporary philosophical turn to religion, Caputo and Vattimo explore the changes, distortions, and reforms that are a part of our postmodern faith and the forces shaping the religious imagination today. Incisively and imaginatively connecting their argument to issues ranging from terrorism to fanaticism and from politics to media and culture, these thinkers continue to reinvent the field of hermeneutic philosophy with wit, grace, and passion.
Posted in Philosophy