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Posts Tagged ‘religionswissenschaft’

The Impact and Role of Computer Games and New Media

by Katharina Weiss

In his lecture on Saturday, 08/07/10, Dr. Jeffrey Wimmer, researcher at the institute of media science and communication studies at Technische Universität Ilmenau with a focus on virtual worlds and digital games, provided an intensive insight in his collection of data and statistics done in 2006/07. A large amount of gamers and players of different agegroups and ranks had been surveyed concerning gaming practices and usage of virtual entertainment.

Jeffrey Wimmer’s presentation and research concentrated on online gaming as the MMORPG World of Warcraft – a fact, that already indicates one of the problems of researching computer games: although a mass phenomenon, scientific research proves as being extremely difficult, even limited. First of all the field of computer games is a huge one. For also casual and “simple” games as Virtual Chess or Solitaire are computer games – and these are also consumed by individuals which would not think of themselves as gamers or players, not even in the moment of playing Virtual Chess. A narrowing down of the object of investigation, as it is done by Jeffrey Wimmer’s project, which contains the gaming categories roleplaying, action, strategy and sports/racing, seems utterly expedient and necessary. To focus on social impact of computer games, Jeffrey Wimmer’s project also largely disregards privatly consumed single player and console games and centres on online games. To find out the disposition and constitution of their social relevance – and to provide scientific evidence of their “social impact” – the survey dealt with diverse categorising questions, which had been presented in statistics to the summerschool in Bremen during Jeffrey Wimmer’s lecture. Statistics concerning the disposition of gender and computer games as well as of agegroups and active playing time were, already with regards to content, considerably revealing relating to social relevance of computer games – for they actually were able to come up with surprising findings and conclusions.

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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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Learning and Doing Virtual Ethnography While You Are Winking in the fluid world of Second Life.

by Mohammad T. Abbasi Shavazi

We had the great opportunity to attend the Summer School „How virtual is Reality“ at the Jacobs University Bremen. One of the most interesting teaching units of the summer school was Ethnography in Fluid World by Gregory Price Grieve,  who is associate professor of Religious Studies and the Director of MERGE: A Network for Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is researching and teaching in the intersection of South Asian religions, New Media, and postmodern and pluralistic approaches to the study of religion. One of the apparent signs which indicate he is a ready to write ethnographer (one of the basic and important skills in ethnography) is that you can see a pencil behind his ear! often. Weiterlesen …

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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“Methods of Visual Culture”

22.09.2010 Kommentare aus

by Nelu Vasilica

David Morgan’s public lecture on material religion provided the base for the next day “Methods of the study of visual culture: the structure of the visual field” teaching unit. Structured into two main parts, theoretical and practical, the “Visual culture” lecture  emphasised the possible  approaches in interpreting images from various visual fields, but did not provide a step by step methodology in terms of image analysis.

The introduction of the theoretical part highlighted the importance of different viewers perspectives and the images referents, followed by a clear definition of a gaze and its role in visual culture. According to Morgan, a gaze represents “a visual field that configures presence and absence, visibility and invisibility, along horizontal and vertical axes mediated by an image or object.” With regards to the gaze applicability, the most  conclusive  description was depicted in the following affirmation: “A gaze makes some things visible (present) while rendering others invisible (absent).“(Morgan’s presentation slides). The introduction was followed by a gaze classification, encompassed  by images and  short explanations. Morgan presented eight gaze categories: reciprocal, unilateral, occlusive, fun, disinterested, liminal, communal and virtual. Reciprocal gazes are common in most religions which approve images in their rituals such as: Hinduism or Christianity. Nevertheless, unlike in the case of areciprocal gaze between two or more human beings, this reciprocal gaze based on religious icons is highly dependent on the supplicant. In the case of unilateral gazes it can be observed a sort of one way communication in which  the ratio powerful-less powerful is the core of this representation. It could be assumed this type of images have a similar meaning as the human consciousness, sometimes associated with the voice of God in humans. This assumption might be related to Morgan   affirmation(„I think I owe him something“) on the image depicting a child with a malformed mouth. The occlusive gaze combines the reciprocal and unilateral categories with the mentioning that  the image is perceived in the same manner by both, referent and viewer. In order to emphasise the occlusive gaze, Morgan presented a Lutheran visual representation of Christ crucifixion in which God and sinner are both satisfied.

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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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„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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