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.
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.