Atmospheric Presence: Reflections on "Mediation" in the Anthropology of Religion and Technology
- Anthropological Quarterly
- George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research
- Volume 93, Number 1, Winter 2020
- pp. 1523-1553
- Additional Information
The recent media turn in the anthropology of religion has reinvigorated research about religion and technology by identifying these domains ontologically through the notion of mediation (religion-as-media). In this article, I unpack mediation and propose an alternative set of concepts to tackle this issue. They are theoretical tools that allow me to recognize the atmospheric quality of Christian charismatic faith and presence in Ghana. Charismatic atmospheres persistently dissolve the boundaries of discernible—organic and mechanical—mediators into the ecological medium while unleashing from it special affordances. I examine ethnographically what technology affords to three distinctive prayer methods and the atmospheres they engender: corporate revivals, meditation, and impartation. I conclude by arguing that religious atmospheres provide a specific solution to the question of immediacy or, as I prefer, transcendence, in material religion.