Mediation and immediacy

Sensational forms, semiotic ideologies and the question of the medium

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Birgit Meyer Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Free University
De Boelelaan 1081
1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Taking as a starting point the paradox that immediacy is not prior to, but rather a product of mediation, this article argues that the negotiation of newly available media technologies is key to the transformation of religion. Invoked to authorise sensations of spiritual powers as immediate and real, media are prone to ‘disappear’ or become ‘hyper‐apparent’ in the act of mediation. I argue that a view of media as intrinsic to religion requires a fundamental critique of approaches of both religion and media that posit an opposition between media and immediacy.

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