Mediation or mediatisation: The history of media in the study of religion
Several different accounts of 'mediatisation' and 'mediation' circulate in the literature of media studies. This paper begins with a parsing of them, considering their conceptual distinctions and similarities. The argument developed here is for a general theory of mediation and a more particular view of mediatisation. Although developing a critical assessment of a prevailing notion of mediatisation, the paper does not dismiss it, but regards it as exhibiting a limited usefulness. In order to make its case, the paper relies on the case study of Evangelical ephemeral print in Britain circa 1800, examining the production and circulation of tracts in order to show that arguments for mediatisation need to be strongly qualified by historical evidence. Greater reliance on historical precedents will strengthen studies of mediatisation by chastening the often exorbitant and ahistorical claims made for it. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
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