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Practical Spiritualities in a Media Age

We live in a media age where technologies become the sites and sources of our practices and beliefs, including those deeper values that guide decisions about how we should live. Practical Spiritualities in a Media Age explores how and why media become the site and source of spiritual expressions that address the mundane or everydayness of our lives. Including international case studies and essays from leading scholars such as Stewart Hoover and Graham Harvey, the book examines the ways and the places in which people have employed media and information technologies to weave spiritual meaning throughout the demands and pastimes of their lives. Topics range from food and sex to spiritual tourism. In doing so, the volume takes up a call from Paul Heelas' seminal work, Spiritualities of Life, to provide more examples, more richness and more depth to the variety of spiritual practices that exist in late modernity. Providing critical, scholarly explorations of the complexities and contradictions of late-modern spiritual practices, Practical Spiritualities in a Media Age is a must-read for anyone working in the intersection of media, religion or spirituality, and culture.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Webs We Spin: Relational, Mediated, Spiritual. By Curtis Coats, Ph.D., (Millsaps College) and Monica Emerich, Ph.D. (Groundwork Research and Communications; University of Colorado) 2. Mediated Babywearing as Aesthetic Orthodoxy. By Florence I. Pasche Guignard, Ph.D. (University of Toronto) 3. Spirituality at Work: Servant Leadership in the Western Workplace. By RuthAnn Ritter and Jeffrey Mahan, Ph.D. (Iliff School of Theology) 4. "Helping Glastonbury To Come into its Own": Practical Spirituality, Materiality, and Community Cohesion in Glastonbury. By Marion Bowman, Ph.D. (The Open University) 5. Hula Hoop Spiritualities: Social Media, Embodied Experience, and Communities of Practice. By Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand, Ph.D. (Middle Tennessee State University) and Martha Smith Roberts (University of California, Santa Barbara) 6. "Another Way": Modernist Artists, Media, and the Desire for Spiritual Community. By Jeremy Garber, Ph.D. (Iliff School of Theology) 7. "Dancing Our Prayers": Material Culture and Practical Spiritualities of the Jam Band Scene. By Lucas F. Johnston, Ph.D. (Wake Forest University, Department of Religion and Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability) 8. The Spirit of Place: Identity and Media in Relation to Cornwall. By Garry Tregidga, Ph.D. (Institute of Cornish Studies, University of Exeter) 9. Spiritual Narratives and The Icarus Project: Disidentification and Rhetoric of Liberation. By Liz Barr (University of Wisconsin) 10. Strategic Confession: Pragmatic Religion and Spirituality in the PostSecret Community. By Rachel Liberman, Ph.D. (University of Denver) and Stewart M. Hoover, Ph.D. (University of Colorado) 11. A Constructed Category: Baby Boomers Navigating Aging through Spirituality and the Media. By Anne Maija Huffman, Ph.D. (Sofia University) 12. Food, Sex, and Spirituality. By Graham Harvey, Ph.D. (The Open University) Bibliography Index

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An exploration of the intersection of religion, spirituality and media in everyday life, where technologies become the sites and sources of belief practices.

About the Author

Curtis Coats is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, and Co-director of Film Studies at Millsaps College, USA. He is co-author with Stewart M. Hoover of the forthcoming book, Does God Make the Man? Media, Religion, and the Crisis of Masculinity. Monica M. Emerich is president of Groundwork Communications & Research, based in the USA, and an instructor in the Sustainable Practices Program, University of Colorado-Boulder, USA. Her previous publications include The Gospel of Sustainability: Media, Market, and LOHAS (2011; 2014) and Media, Spiritualities and Social Change (2010) with Stewart Hoover.


Being spiritual in a media age need not mean disengaging from the relational world of places and people to pursue a rarified interior life. The thoughtfully written and theoretically rich essays in this collection uncover surprising ways in which relationships shape and are shaped by spiritual expressions in ordinary and unexpected spaces. This fascinating excursion through the contemporary spiritual landscape shows us that sacred meanings permeate and are created by the things we wear and buy, how we play, eat, work and find each other online. -- Sarah M. Pike, Professor of Comparative Religion, California State University, Chico, USA, and author of New Age and Neopagan Religions in America (2006)

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