Devilish Consumption: Popular Culture in Satanic Socialization

In: Numen
Asbjørn Dyrendal Department of Archaeology and Religious Studies, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway;, Email:

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Conservative Evangelical polemics against popular culture has often argued that it is a recruiting ground for Satanism. Popular culture, especially horror film and horror-inspired heavy metal music, has often been singled out as being the most explicit expressions of this recruiting strategy. Although the premises (and most of the conclusions) of the argument are untenable, they are not all wrong. Popular culture does play a role in how satanic identities are constructed. The cultural marketplace constitutes a “scene” that religious networks may draw on more heavily when traditional arenas for socialization are absent, thus making these networks stronger. This is an important point that applies to many kinds of late modern, privatized religion. The article addresses these broader issues by way of Satanism as a more specific example. It takes a look at which elements of and how popular culture plays a role in satanic socialization through a focus on the strategies for guiding consumption and production.

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