The church of baseball, the fetish of Coca-Cola and the potlatch of rock 'n roll: theoretical models for the study of religion in American popular culture

SOURCE: Religion and American culture: a reader
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2003
TITLE AUTHOR(S): D.Chidester
SOURCE EDITOR(S): D.G.Hackett
KEYWORDS: CULTURE, RELIGION, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 3040
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/7766

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Abstract

Isn't religion part of American popular culture? Do we find it only in churches, synagogues. Mosques, and temples or is it also present in our daily lives? What if we were tot take seriously seemingly casual assertions that baseball operates like a church, Coca-Cola is a sacred object, or that the pop song "Louie, Louie" offers us religious meaning? In recent years scholars have turned to the analysis of religion in American culture it help us understand on only the character of religion but the ways in which the very term "religion" is continually redefined applied and extended in cultural discourses and practices. Through this attempt to account for religion's role in popular American culture, academic models of religion are undergoing revision and their application expanded. In this essay, the author explores popular accounts of baseball, Coca-Cola, and rock 'n roll as representing three different theoretical models - church, fetish and potlatch - for analyzing religion in American popular culture. He shows us how each of these three models help us see the degree to which baseball, Coca-Cola and rock 'n rill might be seen as manifestations of religion,. Through his analysis, religion is revealed not only as an intellectual concept but also as a figure of speech whose meaning is continually subject to metaphorical play.