Aesthetic Formations: Media, Religion, and the Senses by Birgit Meyer

By Birgit Meyer

The imperative subject matter of this quantity is the incorporation of newly available mass media into practices of spiritual mediation in numerous settings, together with Pentecostal-charismatic church buildings and Islamic pursuits, and using non secular types and pictures within the sphere of radio and cinema. in accordance with a long term cooperation, the individuals research the function of faith and media within the emergence and sustenance of latest ‘aesthetic formations’ that attract the physique and the senses, and generate new types of binding and moods of belonging in our time.

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The religion that we practice is an African religion, it’s essence is African. We are Brazilians, but we have a religion of Yorubá origin. African” (Mãe Stella, in Pretto and Serpa 2002, 33). “Purity” also means calling a halt to the blurring of boundaries between Candomblé as “religion” and Candomblé as popular culture. ” She repeatedly fulminated against the profanation of sacred symbols from Candomblé in the field of entertainment, commerce, and carnival.

Let us be free, let us fight against what humbles us and disrespects us, against that which only accepts us if we dress in the clothes they gave us to wear. (Mãe Stella, in Campos 2003, back cover) While this critique concerns society at large, Mãe Stella’s fiercest critiques are directed toward terreiros and Candomblé practitioners who stray from the aforementioned “purity of propositions and rituals”: There are those who dress up in the garments of the orixá, who improvise, merely “give it a go” (dá um jeitinho), who use garçons to serve fancy drinks, offer candle light dinners while the Candomblé is taking place and watch on video the latest celebration in honour of the orixás.

In this Introduction I have sought to reveal myriad connections and resonances between the ten chapters, and to draw out my perspective on the relation between aesthetic formations, religious mediations, sensational forms and styles of binding. While this perspective has been generated by digesting all the research taking place under the auspices of our research program, it should be pointed out that the authors themselves do not necessarily employ exactly the same conceptual terms. Engaging in common research together need not, and indeed should not, imply that everything is placed in the same framework.

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