The Postmodern Sacred: Popular Culture Spirituality in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy Genres

By Auger, Emily E. | Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, Summer 2014 | Go to article overview

The Postmodern Sacred: Popular Culture Spirituality in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy Genres


Auger, Emily E., Journal of Religion and Popular Culture


McAvan, Emily. The Postmodern Sacred: Popular Culture Spirituality in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy Genres. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012. 194 pp. $40.00 (USD. paperback) ISBN: 978-0-7864-6388-6. Ebook ISBN: 978-0-7864-9282-4

The premise of Emily McAvan's dissertation-based book, The Postmodern Sacred: Popular Culture Spirituality in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy Genres, is elementary to many studies of popular culture: popular culture both represents and contributes to the ongoing formulation and reformulation of cultural values and beliefs. More unique is her focus on the theme of New Age religion and spirituality as it is expressed in particular films, television shows, and novels. McAvan cites Oprah's consumerist approach to the New Age and references the commodification of many aspects of religion, but she evidently coined "the postmodern sacred" as a substitute for "popular culture spirituality" to embrace her favoured theorists of the postmodern. These theorists, all introduced in chapters one, two, and three, include Baudrillard, Derrida, Jameson, and Lyotard, who are associated with the concepts of hyperreality, the transcendental signified, pastiche, and the collapse of metanarrative respectively. She regards her cited texts as examples, or as incorporating examples, of these concepts, and the concepts as characteristics of the postmodern sacred.

Of the profane, she argues that computer-generated imagery has "collapsed" the distinction between it and its traditional opposite, the sacred (70), such that monsters and deities are easily converted from one into the other (78). In addition, although almost all of her texts are chosen from the descriptively unproblematic (at least in this study) genres of fantasy, fantastic horror, and science fiction, she prefers to call them "unreal" fiction. She takes care to establish her view of the relationship between these genres and the literature produced by Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals: "The science fiction/fantasy text produced for entertainment and the evangelical text produced for proselytizing are very much two sides of the same coin. The first is made for profane purposes and stages disavowed belief in an overtly fictional way, while the latter states overt belief in a disavowed fictional way" (3). The coinage of "unreal" fiction is not about the relationship between science fiction and Christian fundamentalist literature, however, but is instead intended to emphasize the connection between familiar types of popular fiction and the use of "unreal" computer-generated characters and contexts, and, further, the manner in which these latter effects may variously represent and fulfill the New Age emphasis on personal experience as the basis for all true spirituality--for both filmic characters and flesh-and-blood viewers.

The elements and entities that create that experience vary with the films, television shows, and novels under discussion. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Postmodern Sacred: Popular Culture Spirituality in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy Genres
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.