Journal Article

May the Force of the Operating System be with You: Macintosh Devotion as Implicit Religion

Pui-Yan Lam

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 62, issue 2, pages 243-262
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712458
May the Force of the Operating System be with You: Macintosh Devotion as Implicit Religion

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The purpose of this study is to consider the devotion of Macintosh computer enthusiasts as a case of implicit religion. Data was collected from two primary sources: twelve in-depth face-to-face interviews, and letters to the editor from MacAddict magazine. In addition, supplementary information was obtained from pro-Macintosh Web sites and magazines. Following Nesti (1997), Macintosh devotion was analyzed along four lines: (1) the search for meaning, (2) social forms, (3) the hidden message of the metaphor, and (4) the case of the voyage. I found that Mac devotees used the Macintosh as a “reflective medium” to discover meanings in the midst of changing computer technology. As an implicit religion, Macintosh devotion is based on the sacralization of the bond between people and computers. Its followers envision an utopian future in which humans and technology work together in harmony. Furthermore, the Mac enthusiasts adopted from both Eastern and Western religions a social form that emphasized personal spirituality as well as communal experience. The faith of Mac devotees is reflected and strengthened by their efforts in promoting their computer of choice.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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