Communications and Cultural Analysis: A Religious View

Communications and Cultural Analysis: A Religious View

Communications and Cultural Analysis: A Religious View

Communications and Cultural Analysis: A Religious View

Synopsis

Contrasting values from the wider culture create dilemmas for those trying to follow a religious life, posits the author, in this new exploration of the way electronic communications--especially film and television--shape our world of meaning. Warren focuses on the actual process by which versions of reality are produced, drawing on Raymond William's idea of "signification," and illustrates how Paulo Freire's theory of cultural agency is put into practice when individuals decide to exercise some judgement and control over the kinds of cultural material they will accept or resist.

Excerpt

The initial studies for this book were done in 1984-85, during a sabbatical year. Having come to the conclusion that the most powerful educative channels had long since passed from the hands of those who called themselves educators, I decided to study the question of influences from its broadest angle, that of culture. My problem was where to begin. I had done some reading on culture, but none of it helped me answer my questions. It did not give me a fundamental way of thinking about culture that related it to the concrete situations of everyday life.

Possibly because of my background in the sociology of religion, I was drawn to Raymond Williams's writings on culture, which looked at culture more through a sociological lens than an anthropological one. Starting with Williams The Sociology of Culture, I worked my way backward and forward through his many writings. Williams answered many of my questions and opened me to a new way of thinking about reality. Still, for every question answered, new ones opened up. I found myself needing a more systematic way of applying the principles by which culture could be seen and questions answered. Could I work one out for myself? If I succeeded, would it then be possible to present this method in language accessible to others: secular educators, theologians, religious educators, religious practitioners? In my mind I kept coming back to a model for such a presentation of method, the simple one Joe Holland and Peter Henriot had outlined in their 1980 work, Social Analysis:
Linking Faith with Justice
. Their booklet gave a general but educated audience access to a rudimentary kind of social analysis.

And so this book began as a way of talking to myself, of pushing further against my own questions. One of the biggest problems I had in writing it . . .

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