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Understanding Theology and Popular Culture


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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables.


1 What is “Popular Culture”?.

2 Why Should Theologians and Scholars of Religion Study Popular Culture?.

3 Machines, TVs, and Shopping: The Shape of Everyday Life in Contemporary Western Society.

4 Can Popular Culture Be Bad For Your Health?.

5 Developing a Theological Approach to the Study of Popular Culture.

6 An Author-Focused Approach to Studying Popular Culture: Eminem and the Redemption Of Violence.

7 Text-Based Approaches To Studying Popular Culture: “Homer The Heretic” and Civil Religion.

8 An Ethnographic Approach to Studying Popular Culture: The Religious Significance of Club Culture.

9 Taking Steps Towards A Theological Aesthetics of Popular Culture.




About the Author

Gordon Lynch is Lecturer in Practical Theology at the University of Birmingham. His previous publications include After Religion: “Generation X” and the Search for Meaning (2002). He has also created the Theology and Popular Culture Gateway which is one of the first academic Internet gateways for the study of theology and contemporary culture.


“This presumes some level of bricolage, but I think it is safe to say this seems normal in the modern West. As Lynch argues, in so far as theology is concerned with “issues of truth, goodness, evil, suffering, redemption, and beauty” ( 37) then it becomes clear that popular culture, as it is engaged with similar themes, is an important field of investigation for theologians, and thus for anyone interested in the study of religions.”  (International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 2012) “It offers an engaging and well-informed synthesis of contemporary theological reflection in the context of today’s popular culture … An excellent volume that will serve the discussion of theology and popular culture well.”
Jeff Keuss, Northwest Graduate School "Lynch has written an excellent introduction for dialogue between theology and popular culture. . . This book is useful in undergraduate or graduate courses in religion and popular culture, media studies or individuals interest in critical reflection on theology and popular culture."
Religious Studies Review

  "What is 'popular' about popular culture? What is the relationship between religion and popular culture? Why would a theologian, or anyone involved in the study of religion, give attention to popular culture? The work of theologians and others related to popular culture often begs such questions. Lynch's book is important in that it puts such questions in perspective. This book clarifies the exchange between religion and popular culture and what scholars have made of the interconnections. Understanding Theology and Popular Culture is an intriguing and insightful study. I highly recommend it."
Anthony B. Pinn, Rice University "This is an excellent introduction to the field of cultural studies as a whole, as well as providing a clear map of the ways in which theology and religious studies have sought to engage with popular culture."
Third Way “Lynch’s discussion of the definitions of popular culture provides an excellent introduction to the topic, and his rationale for theology joining other academic disciplines in the serious study of popular is convincing… Informed throughout by a wide reading in the literature of popular culture, this book deserves careful consideration for any course focusing on the understanding of theology and popular culture.”
Choice "Those of us who have plunged deeply (and boldly, if somewhat unpreparedly) into the murky interdisciplinary waters of studying theology and popular culture will no doubt be grateful to have Gordon Lynch as a lifeguard, throwing us a lifeline of method and theory for which we were desparately searching."
Gaye Williams Ortiz, Augusta State University, Journal of Contemporary Religion "Understanding Theology and Popular Culture is a well-structured volume which competently deals with the work of a wide range of theologians, philosophers and cultural researchers. This will, therefore, be an extremely valuable book for students and other readers."
Crucible, July-Sept 2006

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