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Mass Culture: Theological Engagement and Spiritual Practice

  • Course Dates: Mon 24 April 2023 to Thu 27 April 2023

This module considers the phenomenon of mass culture as that which approximates to the actual ‘lived culture’ of millions of people today.

The module will explore and discuss topics such as changing patterns of leisure and travel in today’s world as well as technological and media mediated culture which forms the backdrop to spirituality and ‘doing’ theology in our age. In this respect modern mass culture frequently mimics religious modes of orchestrating emotion and creating identity while at the same time seeking legitimization through a variety of grand narratives such as consumerism, globalization and advances in information technology.

Particular attention will be paid to various key elements of the mass media and issues to do with media literacy as well as the views of a variety of sociologists, anthropologists, social critics and theologians that seek to interpret the significance and importance of mass culture for contemporary religion and spirituality. This module eschews the standard way of understanding mass culture as that which is either different from, independent of, or over and against popular, folk or high culture, in favour of viewing mass culture as itself a hybrid form of what is often referred to as ‘late modernity.’ In other words the zeitgeist of our age.

Five places are set aside for auditors, those not enrolled on the degree programme.

What does it mean to participate as an auditor?


Teaching team Dr Karen O'Donnell is Programme Leader for postgraduate studies in Christian Spirituality at Sarum College. She is a feminist, ecumenical, practical theologian whose interdisciplinary research interests span theology, spirituality, and pedagogy; Dr Eleanor McLaughlin is Programme Leader for Theology, Imagination and Culture. and guest lecturers.
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