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The mediatization of religion: A theory of the media as agents of religious change

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The article presents a theoretical framework for the understanding of how media work as agents of religious change. At the centre of this theory is the concept of mediatization. Through the process of mediatization, religion is increasingly being subsumed under the logic of the media. As conduits of communication, the media have become the primary source of religious ideas, in particular in the form of banal religion. As a language the media mould religious imagination in accordance with the genres of popular culture, and as cultural environments the media have taken over many of the social functions of the institutionalized religions, providing both moral and spiritual guidance and a sense of community. Finally, the results of a national survey in Denmark are presented in order to substantiate the theoretical arguments and illustrate how the mediatization of religion has made popular media texts important sources of spiritual interest.

Keywords: banal religion; mediatization; popular culture; religion; secularization; survey

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Copenhagen.

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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  • Northern Lights: Film and Media Studies Yearbook was first published in 2002 and places particular emphasis on film, television and new media. The yearbook, although carrying a theme each issue, welcomes a broad range of articles along with shorter review pieces.
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