Blanton, “Appalachian Radio Prayers”

Blanton, Anderson. 2012. Appalachian Radio Prayers: the prosthesis of the Holy Ghost and the drive to tactility. In Radio Fields: Anthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century, edited by Lucas Bessire and Daniel Fisher, 215-232. New York: NYU Press.

Publisher’s Description of the Volume:

Radio is the most widespread electronic medium in the world today. As a form of technology that is both durable and relatively cheap, radio remains central to the everyday lives of billions of people around the globe. It is used as a call for prayer in Argentina and Appalachia, to organize political protest in Mexico and Libya, and for wartime communication in Iraq and Afghanistan. In urban centers it is played constantly in shopping malls, waiting rooms, and classrooms. Yet despite its omnipresence, it remains the media form least studied by anthropologists.
 
Radio Fields employs ethnographic methods to reveal the diverse domains in which radio is imagined, deployed, and understood. Drawing on research from six continents, the volume demonstrates how the particular capacities and practices of radio provide singular insight into diverse social worlds, ranging from aboriginal Australia to urban Zambia. Together, the contributors address how radio creates distinct possibilities for rethinking such fundamental concepts as culture, communication, community, and collective agency.

Togarasei “Mediating the Gospel”

Togarasei, Lovemore.  2012.  Mediating the Gospel: Pentecostal Christianity and Media Technology in Botswana and Zimbabwe.  Journal of Contemporary Religion.  27(2): 257-274.

Abstract: This article discusses how Pentecostal churches in Botswana and Zimbabwe have appropriated media technologies in their worship. It identifies which media technologies are used by the churches and considers how they are used, the theological justifications for this appropriation, and the effects of this appropriation on the Christian faith. Media technologies discussed include radio, television, the Internet, e-mail, mobile phones, and various print media. The article concludes that Pentecostal churches have fully embraced media technology, in contrast to churches like the African Independent Churches that consider such technologies as trivializing Christianity. The article argues that media technologies have allowed Pentecostal churches in Botswana and Zimbabwe to spread the gospel faster and wider. Possible negative effects of media technology appropriation, such as the commodification of the Christian religion, are also discussed.