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Posts Tagged ‘religion’

‚Serious Gaming‘ or ‚Ludic Culture‘? – Preaching Islam to Videogame Generation

by Erik Munder

At the Summer School ‚How Virtual is Reality?‚ in Bremen 2010, Vit Sisler lectured on Islam respectively Muslims in video games in general; Islamic educational video games and video clips from the Arab world, Iran and the United States. His aim -as articulated in his abstract- was to show how private companies try to claim those new markets of Muslim youth while promoting (their idea of) Islamic moral and ethical values in video games and edutainment software. Another aspect of his lecture was the significance of video games and such as an important but still under-examined aspect of cultural life, not only in the Middle East. For this purpose he calls on Walter J. Ong’s concept of >secondary orality<, Ian Bogost’s >persuasive games> and also >neglected media< coined by Philipp Reichmuth and Stephan Werning.

Ong’s idea of >secondary orality< is about the parallels between primary oral cultures and secondary oral cultures like our own. Secondary oral cultures are actually primary literate cultures which became more and more oral and aural again by means of new electronic communication media. The fundamental empathetic and participatory nature of orality itself shapes “new” forms of communities which show great resemblance to communities of primary oral cultures in their social interactions.

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Researching the Everyday Mediatization of Religion

by Xabier Riezu Arregui


“Mediatized Worlds of Religion: Researching the Everyday Mediatization of Religion Empirically” was the title of the lecture on August 05. The professor Andreas Hepp of the University of Bremen talked to us about the importance of taking mediatization processes into account in our research projects. His lecture was aimed to provide us with the conceptual tools for that purpose. Hepp says there are two extreme positions with regard to the meaning of “mediatization”. The first one discusses mediatization as a “logic of the media”. According to this approach, there is one specific logic of the media, and what we can study is how actors and organizations accommodate to that logic. The second position on the contrary, contends that the society is shaped through a lot of acts of appropriation, interpretation, and resistance; not necessarily media related. Furthermore, the media-related pressures are too heterogeneous to be reduced to one media logic.

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Methods of Network Analysis – Exercises

23.09.2010 Kommentare aus

by Katharina Schubert


According to the summer school´s Book of Abstracts Dr. Martin Engelbrecht wanted to introduce the concept of „network analysis:

The internet has become a significant medium both for spiritual and religious discourses and for the networks that actually hold these discourses.Thanks to the options provided by the net even the scattered members of tiny and poorly structured groups, movements or even trends can organize themselves and their discourses much more effectively than ever before. This has a profound effect on the dynamics of social developments in the area of spirituality and religion.
(See also Martin Engelbrecht, Netzwerke religiöser Menschen, 2006)

So what is is all about it and what did we actually do?
After the introduction of the theory in the morning we started the exercise session after lunch. For this we divided into three smaller  groups to attend to the exercises Martin Engelbrecht gave us.

The task was: Try to produce a rough sketch of the networks involved in the discourses based on their respective positions in the discourse. Choose one of the discourses:

  1. “Keep your shirt on!” Or: Sex in Evangelicalism
  2. “Was Dino really a pet of Cain and Abel?” Or: Creationism vs. the Theory of Evolution
  3. “Can I have a Canadian as a slave?” Or: How to deal with the ‚Word of God‘

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How virtual are ghosts?

by Britta Rensing

As Jan couldn’get much out of the lecture on Sunday morning which was given to the group by Peter Bräunlein I will give a short report.

Asian ghost movies

In the perspective of the enlightenment the belief in spirits and ghosts is seen as being pure superstition. Adorno, who thought of superstition as an obstacle to enlightenment, claimed to get rid of it as to him “the disenchantment of the world means the extirpatation of animism” (Adorno/Horkheimer. Dialectic of Enlightenment. 2002, 2). So how is it possible that so many postmodern ‘enlightened’ people are increasingly taking stock in ghost movies, especially Asian ghost movies?
When in 1987 the film “A Chinese Ghost Story” was released, it had an enormous impact on the horror film genre. The story included demons and fights, was a mixture of eastern and fantasy, of martial arts and horror, set in ancient China. The historical model for this kind of movie, which from then on has made a lively public appearance can be seen in the 14th century Wuxia novel tradition dealing with adventure stories of knights and the supernatural. One example is the story of “The Marshes of Mount Liang”, which in East Asia was also trasmitted via cartoons and films. Wuxia films date back to the Hong Kong cinema of the 1920s (Shaw Brothers Studio) and got even more popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The Wuxia films in the Hongkong cinema combined thriller, horror and mystery elements, and were also successful in Europe and the United States.

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Religion in Virtual Worlds. A Historical Overview on a New Research Topic

by Nadine Gremmers

Our second “Summer School” day started with the lecture “Religion in Virtual Worlds. A Historical Overview on a New Research Topic.” by Kerstin Radde-Antweiler and Simone Heidbrink. The referents discussed the following points:

1. “Reality” versus “Virtuality”? How would the participants of the “Summer School” define these two terms and their relation to each other?

2. Virtual World: Conceptions and Definitions.

3. The history of various Virtual Worlds: An Overview of so called “Life Sims” and “MMORPGs”.

4. Case Studies and methods.

At the beginning of the lecture, participants should define “Reality” and “Virtuality”, which led to the following assumptions:

– “Reality” and “Virtuality” are interdependent, but exhibit different characteristics.

– “Reality” = “real life” – “Virtuality” pretends to be “real life” (was designated as main discourse).

– In “Reality” you have a limited mass of possibilities. In “Virtuality” you have an unlimited mass of possibilities.

– “Reality”: Perception with all senses possible – “Virtuality”: Perception only with some senses possible.

– “Reality” = experience of what is out here − “Virtuality” = representation of what is out here

– “Reality”: “Ownership” of a physical body − “Virtuality”: “Ownership” of an Avatar

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„Material Religion“ in „Virtual Worlds“?

by Simone Heidbrink

Impressions of the Summer School’s public lecture by David Morgan (July 31st, 2010)

At first glance it might seem contradictory to invite an expert on „Material Religion“ to teach at a summer school dedicated to the research on online matters. However, after the lecture of David Morgan, Professor of Religion and Art History at Duke University in Durham (USA) and renowned specialist of Religious Visual culture and Religion and Media, the audience agreed, it was NOT. But let’s start by reflecting on some of Morgan’s main topics and assumptions.

In order to be able to follow Morgan’s line of argument, one has to regard his view on the two basic terms of „belief“ and „materiality“. Obviously the term „belief“ with its inherent christocentric emphasis on cognition (in short terms: „THE word“) in opposite to other non-intellectual expressions of religion has been critizised and rightly so! However, Morgan propagates its use (MINUS its epistemological components) to indicate the different products of religious practise like icons, architecture, rituals, music etc. In that way, it is possible to coin the term to express the different forms of „materialized religion“ like sensations, things, places and performances as a matrix, where „religions happen“. „Belief is not primarily a structure of knowing or an epistemological rubric, but rather the condensation of practice experienced as feeling, sensation, moral obligation, historical momentum (custom), cultural connectedness, and the aesthetics of belonging. Religion is therefore a community of feeling structured immanently and transcendentally.“ (Quote taken from Morgan’s presentation slides.)

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„Ein Buch für alle, die sich nichts vormachen lassen“? Reaktionen zwischen Zustimmung, Skepsis und Ablehnung

02.08.2009 1 Kommentar

von Jörn Brunke und Sina Gogolok

Das Forschungsprojekt – Anders als geplant

Zur Erinnerung: Wir zogen aus, um im Rahmen der Lesung  des Ferkelbuches auf dem „Heidenspass-Festival“ der Gegenveranstaltung zum 32. DEKT in Bremen Reaktionen einzufangen und die Akzeptanz des Buches als atheistischen Erziehungsbeitrag auszuloten. Hierfür wollten wir außer der teilnehmenden Beobachtung fokussierte Interviews mit Kindern durchführen und mit der Kamera aufzeichnen.

Die ursprüngliche Forschungsfrage war, wie die Kinder selbst auf das kontrovers diskutierte Ferkelbuch reagieren bzw. ob es diese Zielgruppe überhaupt erreicht. Dieser Aspekt schien uns bei der Indizierungsdebatte zu kurz gekommen. Desweiteren erhofften wir uns Erkenntnisse über das atheistische Milieu, das ja derzeit dabei ist sich politisch zu organisieren.

Aber leider, wie schon von den Kollegen der Gruppe 1 berichtet, gab es kaum Besucher und noch weniger Kinder im Feld. Die einzige Gruppe von Kindern im Alter von ca. zwei bis fünf Jahren wurde bedauernswerterweise von wenig kooperativen Aufsichtspersonen überwacht, die trotz penetranter Bettelei ihre Schützlinge nicht in den Dienst der Wissenschaft stellen lassen wollten. So änderten wir das Vorgehen (und damit auch die Fragestellung) dahingehend, das wir mit unserem Ansichtsexemplar des Ferkelbuches jeden interviewten, der sich auf dem Festivalgelände fand und sich dazu bereit erklärte. So kamen sieben Interviews (drei davon Gruppeninterviews) zustande, wie in unserem zweiten Essay nachzulesen war.

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