Media, religion and the marketplace in the information economy: evidence from Singapore
In this paper we suggest that the exchange of communication in a mediatized environment is transforming the nature of transactions in the religious marketplace. In this economy of religious informational exchanges, digitalization facilitates a process of mediatization that converts religious performance into forms suitable for commodification and commoditization. The intersection of digital media, religion, and the marketplace is demonstrated in the context of mega Protestant and Buddhist organizations in Singapore. We show how these large organizations embed media relations in their sacred spaces through a process of hybridization. In turn, hybrid spaces are converted into material outputs that may be readily transacted in real and virtual spaces. Hybridization attends to a postmodern audience and consumers who value experience and sensorial stimulations. It integrates retail, entertainment, and the aesthetics into a space of ascetic performance that is digitally transportable. Digital transactional spaces thrive on the abundance of information, and information multiplies when communication is unfettered by the absence of proprietary safeguards. The religious marketplace may therefore be understood as a medially driven performance space where points of interaction are digitally convertible for further reproduction, reconsumption, and redistribution in media form. Keywords: information economy, digital media, religion, hybridization, Singapore, Buddhism, Protestantism
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