Error message

Deprecated function: implode(): Passing null to parameter #1 ($separator) of type array|string is deprecated in csl_rendering_element->render() (line 342 of /var/www/html/sites/all/modules/biblio/modules/CiteProc/

Theorizing religion and media in contemporary societies: An account of religious ‘publicization’

TitleTheorizing religion and media in contemporary societies: An account of religious ‘publicization’
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsHerbert, DEJ
JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
Keywordsmedia change

This article argues that a combination of the rapid development and dissemination of media technologies, the liberalization of national media economies and the growth of transnational media spheres is transforming the relationship between religion, popular culture and politics in contemporary societies in ways not adequately accounted for in existing sociological theories of religion (secularization, neo-secularization and rational choice) and still largely neglected in sociological theories of media and culture. In particular, it points to a series of media enabled social processes (de-differentiation, diasporic intensification and re-enchantment) which mirror and counter processes identified with the declining social significance of religion in secularization theory (differentiation, societalization and rationalization), interrupting their secularizing effects and tending to increase the public presence or distribution of religious symbols and discourses, a process described as religious ‘publicization’. These processes have implications for religious authority, which is reconfigured in a more distributed form but not necessarily diminished, contrary to neo-secularization theory. Furthermore, contrary to rational choice theory, the increased public presence of religion depends not only on competition between religious ‘suppliers’, but also on the work done by religions beyond the narrow religious sphere ascribed by secular modernity to religion, in supposedly secular spheres such as entertainment, politics, law, health and welfare and hence has implications for the relationship between politics and popular culture central to cultural studies.