CFP (May 15): ECREA Media and Religion TGW

Media and Religion – The Interplay of Profane and Sacred

The modernity product, from which mass media feeds, was built on axiom
of the political institutions’ laicization, education and culture.
Print media, television, radio, and recently online media define
themselves as institutions serving various public categories by
offering them information and entertainment (essential in profane
existence) and no access to the spiritual transfiguration (sacrality).

In a secular era, religion could only use the press as a medium to
transmit its messages; while the press used religion and its
institutions as subjects for news or reports, or as themes for
entertainment products. In many instances, mass media framed in
profane code religious events, and paid attention more to values like
dramatism, human interest, and conflict then to values related to
sacrality and its implications. The stereotype of media profanity
dominated thinking about journalistic discourse, even when not
connected to religion. The press was constantly accused of “dumbing
down” – the “sacred” values of politics, of civil society, of culture,
of social politics and so on.

However, the research from the past 20 years showed the multiple
interferences between media and religion. These interferences were
different than the ones between a support and content: mass media is
now understood as a cultural product that can involve itself in
ritual, mythological and religious dimensions. This awareness of the
symbolic dimension of media was not accompanied by a thorough study of
the relation between the founding categories of the two cultural
systems: does a media event, attracting a powerful ritualization of
media coverage, also involve a media content sacralization? Does the
call for religious archetypes covered by dramatic events also involve
a sacred perspective on those events and on their major actors? Does
the mytologization of the journalistic discourse bring along a sacred

The Bucarest workshop aims to become platform for debating the
relations between sacred and profane, as they are (inter)mediated by
the contemporary press. The participants are invited to address issues
such as religious phenomena mediatization; using religious archetypes
in media, advertising and public relations; online religion and media;
media rituals and media events; rituals of media consumption, media
revelations and religious/sacred secrets; median anthropology – from
the perspective of the sacred and profane categories.
The workshop is organized by the Media and Religion TWG of ECREA
(European Communication Research and Education Association), in
cooperation with the Doctoral School in Media Studies of Bucharest
University and the AFCOM (Association of Educators in Journalism and
Communication) and will be held in Bucarest (Romania) on October 11
and 12, 2013.

Important Deadlines:
a.      May 15 for abstracts (up to 500 words)
b.      June 30 for Scientific Committee confirmations
c.      September 15, 2013 for full papers

Please send your abstract to Docent, PhD. Johanna Sumiala University
of Helsinki (chair, and Media and religion TWG coordinator) at
johanna.sumiala[at]  and Professor Mihai Coman University of
Bucharest (vice-chair) at mcoman53[at]

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