Religion, Advertising and Production of Meaning

Iulia Grad


An important part of the world we live in is represented by symbols, and mediated images and mass media are the main sources of the symbolic material used in the process of shaping the postmodern self. The cultural industry and the communication technology are growing rapidly and they capture important areas located until recently under the tutelage of traditional social institutions such as the family or the church. If we think of the contemporary society in terms of the weak theology proposed by John D. Caputo as a de-secularized space where the individual's need for the sacred is strongly revealed, the crucial role played by the media in the construction of the contemporary world becomes obvious. Certainly, within this vast territory represented by the media culture, advertising is one of the most relevant areas for analysis of the manner in which symbolic structures are reintegrated in contemporary society. Therefore, our paper focuses on advertising as an important force that creates symbolic meanings in the contemporary culture. Along with the symbolic content of advertising, a significant part in augmenting its cultural force is attributed to the way it succeeds to contain religious dimensions in its mechanisms.


advertising, religion, mass media, weak transcendence, weak theology, sacred, profane, symbol, myth, consumer culture

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