By Gordon Lynch
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Additional resources for Between sacred and profane : researching religion and popular culture
But the good news is that we do not have to do so. Team research is something that many of us have become engaged in over the last couple of decades. By combining the efforts of four or five scholars, colleagues can pool their respective strengths, teaching one another a great deal while mounting a much more comprehensive approach to the study of a cultural phenomenon. In this framework, studying the production and reception along with the theology, iconography, history, musicology, or economics of a cultural practice becomes both possible and deeply insightful.
Media are far more than simply channels or mere instruments of communication. Consider the word’s actual singular form: ‘medium’. This older word can be used to refer to ‘a channel, method or system of communication, information or entertainment’ (Webster Third International Dictionary, 1971). This is a far broader definition and begins to reflect more accurately the different media people embrace, even if it doesn’t include the media-scapes that they inhabit. It will be valuable for the development of the field of media and religion to extend the narrow functional usage of the word media which primarily associates it with radio, film, television and the press, also to include more traditional media such as books, paintings and plays as well as newer media such as computers, the internet and mobile phones.
At the same time, it is necessary to recognize that interdisciplinarity is as problematic as it is alluring. How are students to be trained if not within the literature, methodology, and historiography of a discrete discipline? 26 BETWEEN SACRED AND PROFANE Should we dismantle traditional disciplines of study and training in order to fit investigation more directly to its object? I think that would be a mistake. Real scholarly study already adapts itself to its object. Rigorous preparation in the matrix of a single discipline is not at issue as long as scholars resist the temptation to presume that any phenomenon may be exhaustively located within the parameters of one discipline.
Between sacred and profane : researching religion and popular culture by Gordon Lynch