Film as medium for meaning making: A practical theological reflection

HTS Theological Studies 73 (4):1-6 (2017)
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Abstract

The reflection on film will be situated within the framework of popular culture and lived religion as recognised themes within the discipline of practical theology. It is argued that the perspective of viewers is of importance within the process of meaning-making. By focusing on the experience and meaning-making through the act of film-watching the emphasis is not so much on the message that the producer wishes to convey but rather on the experience that is created within the viewer. Experience is not viewed as only emotional, but rather that, at least, both the cognitive and emotional are key in the act of watching a film. It is therefore argued that this experience that is seldom reflected on by viewers could serve as a fruitful platform for meaning-making by the viewer. In a context where there seems to be a decline in institutionalised forms of religion, it is important to investigate emerging forms of religion. Furthermore, the turn to the self also makes people's experiences and practices in everyday life valuable resources for theological reflection. This reflection could provide a theoretical framework for especially empirical research on how film as specific form of media serves as a religious resource and plays a role in the construction of meaning and religious identity.

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