Chapter

Dreams of the autonomous and reflexive self: the religious significance of contemporary lifestyle media

Gordon Lynch

in Religion, spirituality and the social sciences

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420411
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303190 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420411.003.0006
Dreams of the autonomous and reflexive self: the religious significance of contemporary lifestyle media

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Lifestyle media, with its early origins in popular manuals of etiquette and household management, seeks to explore options and to offer advice in areas of everyday living. In addition to exploring options and giving advice on aspects of everyday life, lifestyle media has also ventured into the sphere of religion. Examples of the intersection of lifestyle media with religion are the works of Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes which produced lifestyle literature from a Christian perspective. This chapter focuses on mainstream commercial lifestyle media in the UK that explores issues of lifestyle concern without any explicitly religious or spiritual frame of reference. A central concern in this chapter is how ‘secular’ contemporary lifestyle media can be seen as an example of what Thomas Luckmann has referred to as the ‘invisible religion’ of the late modern society. The chapter begins with a discussion on how ‘lifestyle’ has become a significant area of concern within late modernity and suggests that the notion of ‘lifestyle’ is a helpful concept for clarifying Luckmann's notion of individual pursuit of meaning, value, and identity. The chapter then goes on to examine how the content of British lifestyle television programmes offers guidance on matters of lifestyle choice from the perspective of some specific ideological positions and discursive formations. The chapter ends by discussing the implications of this so-called invisible religion to the study of religion and the sacred in contemporary culture.

Keywords: lifestyle media; television; contemporary culture; identity; lifestyle; invisible religion

Chapter.  7044 words. 

Subjects: Sociology of Religion

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