Television

Authored by: Elijah Siegler

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.ch3

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Abstract

In a book about the golden age of television, where the author, the topic, the series, and the episode being discussed are not particularly religious, Brett Martin (2013: 277) described an episode of Breaking Bad (AMC, 2008–13) as “one more holy object in the communal sacrament that, thanks to the gods of business, technology, and creativity, TV has become in the early twenty-first century.” What is going on here? Clearly the connection between television and religion is more than an academic one; popular literature is actually ahead of scholarly literature in that regard, and until recently, the study of religion and the study of television made uneasy bedfellows. Television studies, as part of the study of mass communication, has been most influenced by empirical sociology and psychology, as “media scholars looked largely to the social sciences instead of to the humanities for their theories, concepts, and methods” (Schultze 1990: 8); religion as a category of analysis has largely been ignored.

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