Introduction: Revisiting Civil Religion from an Aesthetic Point of View

In: Journal of Religion in Europe
Anne Koch University of Salzburg,

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This special issue enquires into aesthetic ways of newly creating or re-shaping and re-presenting civil religion and its central characters, symbols, or figures. Normally, civil religion addresses value-orientation and social integration. In addition to these features, the papers make the aesthetic performance of civil religion the subject of discussion. The reason for taking this path is the altered aesthetic circumstances of highly mediatised and consumerist societies. Before this backdrop, images, literary figurations, movie sequences, and brands in media, public and national discourse are examined in various case studies from Italy, Finland, the uk, France, the former gdr, and Switzerland. At the same time, the negotiation and aesthetic plausibility of aesthetic styles, pragmatic power, and particular media logics are evaluated. The concept of civil religion deserves this closer re-definition also with respect to past and recent (post-)secularisation and non-religion discourses. Hopefully, this multi-layered analysis of aesthetics and aesthetic pragmatics of civil religion will shed some light on the persistent appropriateness of the ‘civil religion’ concept and its capacity to be introduced into various methodological contexts in combination with the aesthetic perspective.

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