Asian Modernization and Mediatization of Religion
Religion has become a new focus of study in the investigation of current crises and social conflicts in the post-modern world. This study seeks to examine the role of religion in social change and to discover possible alternatives to social problems. East Asian countries have followed a different path of development from Western societies, which is illustrated by the close affinity between religion and modernization, in contrast to the assumptions of secularization theories. The strong role of religion in modernization promotes not only rapid economic development, but also social integration and a strong sense of cultural identity. Although East Asian development is often defined the model of Confucianism-led development, Christianity have been strongly involved in modernizing societies and restructuring social class in East Asia. In the complex nexus of social dynamics, social role of religion changes into another phase in the 21st century. South Korea is the particular focus of this study because Korea illustrates the dynamic influence of religion in social development, and the drastic changes in the role of religion in the public domain among East Asian countries. This new religious phase reflects a power shift from religious institutions to the media. Spiritual life becomes mediatized when institutionalized religion declines. The mediatization of religion in South Korea demonstrates the double-edged sword of this process, by modifying spirituality into the media logic and, at the same time, by reviving native beliefs and cultural integrity alternative to Western capitalist development.
Religion and Culture, Cultural Studies, Asian Development, Korean studies, Sociology of religion
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