Religion is living culture. It continues to play a role in shaping political ideologies, institutional practices, communities of interest, ways of life and social identities. Mediating Faiths brings together scholars working across a range of fields, including cultural studies, media, sociology, anthropology, cultural theory and religious studies, in order to facilitate greater understanding of recent transformations. Contributors illustrate how religion continues to be responsive to the very latest social and cultural developments in the environments in which it exists. They raise fundamental questions concerning new media and religious expression, religious youth cultures, the links between spirituality, personal development and consumer culture, and contemporary intersections of religion, identity and politics. Together the chapters demonstrate how belief in the superempirical is negotiated relative to secular concerns in the twenty-first century.
Michael Bailey is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Essex. He has held visiting fellowships at Goldsmiths, University of London, the ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (a collaboration between the Open University and the University of Manchester), the London School of Economics, Wolfson College and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge. Guy Redden teaches cultural studies at the University of Sydney. He has previously lectured at Prince of Songkla University, Thailand, the University of Queensland, Australia, where he earned his PhD, and Lincoln University in the UK. He has published widely about the commodification of religion and alternative cultures. His articles include 'The New Age: Towards a Market Model', Journal of Contemporary Religion, 20(2), 2005; and 'The New Agents: Personal Transfiguration and Radical Privatisation in New Age Self-Help', Journal of Consumer Culture 2(1), 2002. He is a former editor of M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture.
'This is a timely and essential study in to a subject so curiously neglected by the social sciences in recent years. To those of us used to dealing with the currency of religion in the public sphere this is fresh and challenging material. To those who are dozing along in the misconception that religion is an irritating irrelevance - here is your wake-up call'. Michael Wakelin, Director of the Cambridge Coexist Project and Former Head of Religion and Ethics at the BBC, UK 'This is an impressive orchestra of Perspectives... there is sufficient breadth and depth in the volume to make this a valuable commentary for scholars of religion in the contemporary world... Redden and Bailey have still produced a big and rich cake. Readers will find plenty of material to consume, and inwardly digest.' Church Times 'This book is invaluable for those interested in the intersection between media, religion, and culture in the twenty-first century. Significantly, Mediating Faiths argues that mediation is part of religion (49) and that religious communication and experience has always been mediated (7). ...The contributors to this book have highlighted how mediated faith and religious belief needs to be interpreted through its place in socio-historical formations, not against universalist benchmarks that themselves prove to be creations of very particular histories (7). Scholars and students from different disciplines will benefit greatly from this insightful contribution and will hopefully engage with a wider understanding of how religion and faith are being mediated in everyday life.' Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture '... this is an interesting volume that contains some useful insights into what is undoubtedly a significant field of enquiry...' Modern Believing