Today a new trend is clearly discernable, that of ‘hyper-real religions’. These are innovative religions and spiritualities that mix elements of religious traditions with popular culture. If we imagine a spectrum of intensity of the merging of popular culture with religion, we might find, at one end, groups practicing Jediism appropriated from the Star Wars movies, Matrixism from the Matrix trilogy, and neo-pagan rites based on stories from The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series. At the other end of the spectrum, members of mainstream religions, such as Christianity can be influenced or inspired by, for example, The Da Vinci Code. Through various case studies, this book studies the on- and off-line religious/spiritual consumption of these narratives through a social scientific approach.
Adam Possamai, Ph.D in Sociology, La Trobe University, is Associate Professor at the University of Western Sydney, and President of the International Sociological Association's Research Committee on the sociology of religon. He has published extensively in the sociology of religion, sociological theory and the study of popular culture.
To me this kind of material offered in Handbook of Hyper-real Religions is totally fascinating, and I found insights glancing off almost every page about what religion, or atleast somefolk’s religion, might be becoming in the context of this and next year’s culture.Robert Ellwood, University of Southern California in: Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions’, vol. 17 no. 1 (2013)
Contributors include: Stef Aupers, Eileen Barker, Lauren Bernauer, Douglas E. Cowan, Carol M. Cusack, Markus Davidsen, Martin Geoffroy, Dick Houtman, Massimo Introvigne, Danielle Kirby, Joseph Laycock, Carly Machado, Debbie McCormick, John W. Morehead, Kamaludeen Mohamed Nasir, Alan Nixon, Krzysztof Olechnicki, Adam Possamai, Johan Roeland, Heinz Scheifinger, John Walliss, and Benjamin Zeller.
All those interested in the intersection of contemporary religion and popular culture, sociology of religion, postmodern religion and consumerism.