This book examines the incorporation of newly accessible mass media into practices of religious mediation in a variety of settings including the Pentecostal Church and Islamic movements, as well as the use of religious forms and image in the sphere of radio and cinema.
Tracing the rise and development of the Ghanaian video film industry between 1985 and 2010, Sensational Movies examines video movies as seismographic devices recording a culture and society in turmoil. This book captures the dynamic process of popular filmmaking in Ghana as a new medium for the imagination and tracks the interlacing of the medium’s technological, economic, social, cultural, and religious aspects. Stepping into the void left by the defunct state film industry, video movies negotiate the imaginaries deployed by state cinema on the one hand and Christianity on the other. Birgit Meyer analyzes Ghanaian video as a powerful, sensational form. Colliding with the state film industry’s representations of culture, these movies are indebted to religious notions of divination and revelation. Exploring the format of "film as revelation," Meyer unpacks the affinity between cinematic and popular Christian modes of looking and showcases the transgressive potential haunting figurations of the occult. In this brilliant study, Meyer offers a deep, conceptually innovative analysis of the role of visual culture within the politics and aesthetics of religious world making.
"... 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.
Syncretism - the synthesis of different religious - is a contentious word. Some regard it as a pejorative term, referring to local versions of notionally standard `world religions' which are deemed `inauthentic' because saturated with indigenous content. Syncretic versions of Christianity do not conform to `official' (read `European') models. In other contexts however, the syncretic amalgamation of religions may be validated as a mode of resistance to colonial hegemony, a sign of cultural survival, or as a means of authorising political dominance in a multicultural state. In Syncretism/Anti-Syncretism the contributors explore the issues of agency and power which are integral to the very process of syncretism and to the competing discourses surrounding the term.
The relation between religion and things has long been conceived in antagonistic terms, privileging spirit above matter, belief above ritual and objects, meaning above form and 'inward' contemplation above 'outward' action. This book addresses these issues.
What do we talk about when we talk about religion? Is it an array of empirical facts about historical human civilizations? Or is religion what is in essence unpredictable-perhaps the very emergence of the new? In what ways are the legacies of religion-its powers, words, things, and gestures-reconfiguring themselves as the elementary forms of life in the twenty-first century?Given the Latin roots of the word religion and its historical Christian uses, what sense, if any, does it make to talk about religionin other traditions? Where might we look for common elements that would enable us to do so? Has religion as an overarching concept lost all its currency, or does it ineluctably return-someti...