Definitions

What is the subject matter of “religion and popular culture”?

Authored by: John C. Lyden

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415638661
eBook ISBN: 9781315724478
Adobe ISBN: 9781317531067

10.4324/9781315724478.ch1

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Abstract

If a companion volume on a subject exists, one might presume that the editors have a pretty good idea of what the subject matter of that field is, and how it is best defined. The defining characteristics of any academic discipline or subject matter will, of course, be open to constant discussion as those involved with it continually revise their understandings of both its methodology and what properly constitutes its object. But for many fields of study, there is at least enough of a history of its study, or a semblance of orthodoxy about how to approach its study, that some degree of consensus exists about the field’s definition which can serve as a starting point for discussion. The subject matter of the study of religion, for example, has become a topic of considerable debate in recent years, but it has been around long enough that these debates can take place in the comfort of established departments in elite universities. The study of religion and popular culture, on the other hand, has not established a solid foothold in the halls of academia, perhaps because it is too recent in origin, or because it appears to lack the coherence and discernment required for inclusion.

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