Cover

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pp. 1-1

Half Title Page, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-7

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Media and popular culture make up one of the fastest-growing areas in the study of religion. An entire range of studies focuses on religion and how it is portrayed, and changed, by the media. These include work examining religion and film, religion and advertising, religion and TV, and religion and popular music.1 Individual TV shows, rock bands, and ...

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1. Celebrity Worship

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pp. 9-33

Michael Jackson was as contentious dead as he was in life. His death in Beverly Hills in 2009 was a news sensation. On the day he died, the search engine Google reacted to the sudden spike in activity as though to a virus attack as millions searched using the star’s name. At the same time, the social networking and microblogging service Twitter was reported to ...

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2. Representation

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pp. 35-56

The quick-witted TV host introduces his show with a topical gag: “Global Warming is now on all our minds. Even the stars have realised that they must make changes to their lifestyles. Madonna has promised that that she will now only fly to Africa once a year to buy a baby.”1 Cruel it may be, but it raises a smile and the audience laughs. The joke works because we know something about Madonna. ...

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3. Para-Religion

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pp. 57-86

Celebrity worship is a kind of religion, or at least it has religious elements. Discerning the religious in popular culture is challenging, not least because religion as a generalized theoretical construct is much disputed. There are competing and contrasting ideas about the very nature of religion. The religious aspects of celebrity culture seem to resonate ...

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4. What Kind of Gods?

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pp. 87-108

Celebrity culture is generated as a flow of images and stories in media representation. This representation is theological in nature, but it does not speak in a traditional way either about religion or about God. Christian thinking situates knowledge of God, or theology, in a narrative of relationship. John Calvin, for instance, begins his Institutes of the Christian Religion by ...

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5. Themes

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pp. 109-132

Meryl Streep has turned sixty. She has dominated the headlines, says the journalist Shane Watson. She has refused plastic surgery, she is now starring in a film in which her character has sex, and “she eats carbs all the time, knocks back the booze, wears her hair messy, and generally defies all the rules of making it as a modern woman, never mind a Hollywood star.”1 ...

Notes

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pp. 133-150

Bibliography

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pp. 151-159

Index

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pp. 161-163