Digital Spirits in Religion and Media: Possession and Performance, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Digital Spirits in Religion and Media

Possession and Performance, 1st Edition

By Alvin Eng Hui Lim


222 pages | 39 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780815393320
pub: 2018-09-03
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351188876
pub: 2018-09-13
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In many contemporary and popular forms of religious practice, digital technology and the spiritual are inseparable. Ranging from streaming broadcasts of spiritual possessions to screenings of mass prayer conferences in stadiums, spirits and divinities now have new forms in which they can materialise. By offering the notion of ‘digital spirits’, this book critically attends to the intersections of digital media and spiritual beings. It also puts forward a new performative perspective on how they interact.

Taking cues from the work of Stewart Hoover and Heidi Campbell, among others, the book begins with an outline of the current debates around religion, performance and digital media. It then moves on to examine how mediality and religion, where embodied practices are carried out alongside virtual practices, work together in contemporary Asia. These case studies focus on lived religious practices in combination with various forms of media, and so help demonstrate that digital technology in particular reveals the layered processes of spirituality in practice.

Gods and divinities have always relied on media to manifest, and this book is a fascinating exploration of how digital media has continued that tradition and taken it in new directions. As such, it will be of great interest to scholars of religious studies, digital media and performance studies.

Table of Contents

1 Digital Spirits in Religion and Media

2 Medium’s Medium: Table Talks of a Medium to a Spirit Medium

3 Corporeal Gods: Performing Excess, Country and Corporeality in a Pharmaceutical Theatre

4 Cybernetic Deities: The Taoist Technology of the Nine Emperor GodsFestival in Singapore

5 Digital Spirits—An Interpretation of Spirit Possession: A Case Study on Ku Witaya and Sia Chan Hong

6 Christian Interfaces: Protestant Technology and Pastoral Media

7 #ECCESS: Access Through Excess

About the Author

Alvin Eng Hui Lim is currently Assistant Professor with the Theatre Studies programme at the National University of Singapore. He is also Deputy Director and Technology and Online Editor (Mandarin) of the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A|S|I|A,); and Editor of Theatre Makers Asia archive. He has published on Singapore theatre, religious practices, and digital archiving. He is also a member of the "After Performance" working group, which explores experimental modes of writing on performance and co-authorship.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Religion, Media and Culture

This series of Routledge monographs provides both new and established scholars the opportunity to publish original research in Religion, Media and Culture. The series includes a wide range of investigations of media in relation to religious practice and belief in any historical period or geographical domain. Media examined in this series include everyday objects such as statues, dolls, and photographs; visual media such as wood cuts, icons or illuminated manuscripts; and newer media such as radio, film, television, and Internet. Volumes go beyond focusing on how messages are delivered to passive audiences, and contribute to an evolving paradigm of understanding creative audiences for whom media are an integral part of lived religion. Studies draw on a variety of methods for their investigations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion