Rethinking Media, Religion, and Culture


Stewart M. Hoover & Knut Lundby

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    This book grows out of a conference titled “Media-Religion-Culture” held at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, in May of 1993. At Uppsala were participants from France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Great Britain, and the United States. This meeting led to the formation of the “Uppsala Group,” an international network of academics founded both to encourage and to carry out research at the intersection of media studies, religious studies, and cultural studies.

    None of the papers from Uppsala survives here in its original form. Contributions were added to the volume after the 1994 conferences of the International Association for Mass Communication Research (IAMCR) in Seoul, South Korea, and the International Communication Association (ICA) in Sydney, Australia, where additional seminars on this theme were held. Several contributions here also represent input from the international public conference on Media, Religion, and Culture held at the University of Colorado at Boulder, United States, in January 1996.

    The foundation of all of these activities was a major research effort on Media-Religion-Culture hosted by the Department of Theology, University of Uppsala, chaired by Sigbert Axelson. Participating in this project were Hilde Arntsen and Knut Lundby from the University of Oslo, Kerstin Skog-Östlin from the University of Stockholm, and Ove Gustafsson, Alf Linderman, Thorleif Pettersson, and the late Jan-Arvid Hellström from the University of Uppsala. Alf Linderman also organized the original Uppsala conference, which was directly based in this research project.

    Another important environment for these joint research efforts is the University of Colorado at Boulder, where Stewart M. Hoover and Lynn Schofield Clark shared responsibility for the Boulder conference on Media, Religion, and Culture.

    As editors of this book, we want to thank all of these colleagues and also recognize that there are others who have contributed to this effort. We would especially like to extend our appreciation to Robert A. White (who with Michael Traber edits the Communication and Human Values series) for his scholarly encouragement throughout the work on this volume. At Sage Publications we have had special support from Sophy Craze, Renée Piernot, and Margaret Seawell. Hilde Arntsen helped with formulation and translation of important sections of the book. Judy Jensen, Diane Willian, and Giulia Rossi also deserve recognition.

    Finally, we would like to thank our families for their support during this project.

    Stewart M.Hoover
  • About the Contributors

    Bobby C. Alexander is Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of Televangelism Reconsidered: Ritual in the Search for Human Community and of Victor Turner Revisited: Ritual as Social Change.

    Chris Arthur is currently Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Lampeter. Among his publications are In the Hall of Mirrors and Biting the Bullet. He is editor of Religion and the Media: An Introductory Reader.

    Claire Hoertz Badaracco is Associate Professor of Communication at Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her research areas are politics and religion, public opinion, and leadership studies.

    Gabriel Bar-Haim is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the Tel-Aviv College of Management, Israel. His research areas are social theory, sociology of culture, and the anthropology of religion.

    Clifford G. Christians is Research Professor of Communications and Director of the Institute for Communication Research at the University of Illinois. He has published widely in the areas of philosophy of communication and media ethics.

    Lynn Schofield Clark is a doctoral candidate at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado. Her current research focuses on identity-construction, media, and religion among adolescents and “generation X.”

    Gregor Goethals is Professor Emerita at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her academic interests are art history and the philosphy of religion. She is the author of The TV Ritual: Worship at the Video Altar and The Electronic Golden Calf: Images and the Making of Meaning. She now has a studio in Sonoma, California, and is Art Director for the Multimedia Translations Program of the American Bible Society.

    Stewart M. Hoover is Professor of Media Studies and Professor Adjoint of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has researched and written widely on media, religion, and culture. He is the author of Mass Media Religion: Social Sources of the Electronic Church and coeditor of Religious Television: Controversies and Conclusions.

    Peter G. Horsfield is Dean of the Uniting Church Theological Hall and Lecturer in Practical Theology at the United Faculty of Theology in Melbourne, Australia. Among his publications are Religious Television: The American Experience and Taming the Television: A Parents' Guide to Children and Television.

    Alf Linderman is a research fellow at Uppsala University. He has conducted research on religious television in the United States and Sweden, and on meaning construction and media reception. He is currently involved in research projects focused on cultural indicators in newspapers, on religion in television, and on television audiences' construction of meaning.

    Knut Lundby is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Oslo, Norway. Besides his recent work in the area of media, meaning, and social ritual, he has researched and published on issues of communication and community, particularly focused on studies in Southern Africa.

    Jesús Martín-Barbero is former Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences, University del Valle, Cali, Colombia, and the past president of the Latin American Association of Communication Research. His previous books include Communication, Culture and Hegemony, and Communication: Discourse and Power.

    Graham Murdock is reader in the Sociology of Culture at Loughborough University. He has written widely on the sociology and political economy of culture and communications and on cultural theory, and his work has been translated into over a dozen languages. He is currently completing books on broadcasting and on modernity.

    Janice Peck is on the faculty of the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is the author of The Gods of Televangelism: Religious Television and the Historical Crisis of Meaning. Her writing on religious television and on television talk shows has also appeared in Journal of Communication Inquiry, Communication Theory, and Cultural Critique.

    Arnold Shepperson is a researcher in the Centre for Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. He has published on semiotics, communication, and visual anthropology. He was formerly an electrician and draftsman in the South African mining industry, an experience on which his continuing interest in cross-cultural encounters in economic and civil affairs is based.

    Keyan G. Tomaselli is Director and Professor in the Centre for Cultural and Media Studies, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. He is editor of Critical Arts: A Journal for Cultural Studies, and author of The Cinema of Apartheid.

    Robert A. White is Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Communication at the Gregorian University in Rome and Professor of Communication Ethics and Communication Theory. He is former Research Director of the Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture in London and founding editor with Michael Traber of the “Communication and Human Values” series published by Sage. He is the editor of the “Communication, Culture, and Theology” series published by Sheed and Ward.

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