During the last decade the framework of mediatization theory has been introduced in the field of media, religion and culture as a parallel perspective to the “mediation of religion” approach, allowing new questions to be posed that align with religious change within Europe. This article provides a critical review of existing research applying mediatization of religion theory, focusing on key issues raised by its critics as well as how the theory have moved the research field forward. These issues concern the concept of religion, institution and social change, religious authority, and the application of mediatization theory outside the North-Western European context where it originated. The article argues that an institutional approach to mediatization is a relevant tool for analyzing change as a dynamic process in which the logics of particular forms of media influence practices, values and relations within particular manifestations of religion across various levels of analysis.
Mia Lövheim and Stig Hjarvard
John R. Shook
Lynn Schofield Clark and Angel Hinzo
To explore the role of contestation in mediatization processes, this article utilizes digital and visual methods to analyze instances of Indigenous digital survivance. Focusing on recent examples at the heart of the #NoDAPL movement allows us to flesh out and argue for a decolonizing approach to the study of mediatization, which we define, following Clark (2011), as the process by which collective uses of communication media (1) extend the development of independent media industries and their circulation of narratives, (2) contribute to new forms of action and interaction in the social world, and (3) give shape to how we think of humanity and our place in the world. The article therefore concludes with suggestions regarding the further development of methodological approaches to studying processes of mediatization in relation to contestations over normative claims and pragmatic concerns regarding the role of media systems in our collective future.
Affect theory often overlooks decades of anthropological, feminist, queer, and postcolonial scholarship on emotion. I build on this extensive scholarship of emotion and use my online ethnography of a Facebook group that promotes the public visibility of Christianity as a springboard to build a conceptual framework of the politics of affect. I address three theoretical gaps: 1) the lack of distinction between different emotions, 2) how affect is often performed for someone, and 3) the varying intensities of emotion. I delve into the intricate ways in which emotions fuel identities, worldviews, and their contestations, and how fake news may come to be perceived as affectively factual. This article deepens our understanding of the role of affect in polemic and mediatized conflicts. The role of emotion in religious conflicts and identity politics is not simply analytically useful, but is, at times, the very fabric of which political ideas are made.
John-Kåre Vederhus and Magnhild Høie
Health policy organizations recommend that health professionals refer patients with a substance use disorder to addiction-related self-help groups. However, the most common groups, the 12-step groups (e.g., Narcotics Anonymous [NA]) have religious wording (e.g., God, Higher Power, prayer) in their program that may cause potential participants to be sceptical, especially in secular cultures. From seven interviews with seasoned members of NA in Norway, we explored how the Higher Power concept of NA’s 12-step program is understood, how the respondents relate to their Higher Power in daily life, and whether they describe it as helpful in their recovery. A cross-case thematic analysis with systematic text condensation was used to analyze the data. Even the highly integrated NA members recounted an initial problem with the Higher Power concept. Eventually, the respondents realized that it was up to them to define the nature of their Higher Power. The respondents also defined the concept in secular or pseudo-religious ways. They were pragmatic believers; from early on they practised the recommended spiritual principles in NA (e.g., honesty and altruism), and dogmatism was considered unnecessary. The respondents presented relating to their Higher Power as vital for recovery, as they found motivation and strength to cope with the everyday process of staying clean and to continue in a recovery process. The present study sheds light on how secular and/or pragmatic, pseudo-religious worldviews can function similarly to specific religious views by helping people cope with demanding life experiences. The openness in NA toward diverse worldviews facilitates mutual support between members in a recovery process, despite differences in religious or spiritual persuasions. Health professionals should help potential participants overcome initial scepticism towards 12-step groups in order to gain access to the abstinence-based support obtainable in these fellowships.