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Borden, Anne L. 2000. "Beyond Accommodation: When Religion and Popular Culture Meet." Paper presented at Southern Sociological Society (SSS).
Abstract: Sociologists of religion theorize that, in the face of modern secularized society, religious organizations have two options: they may "resist" or they may "accommodate" to the surrounding culture (eg, see Berger, Peter, 1967). Traditionally, the concept of accommodation has implied that religious groups compete with secular society & are losing in the zero-sum game. Recent scholarship (eg, Smith, Christian, 1988) asks sociologists to move beyond this notion of accommodation & to recognize that religion can be both strong & modern. Religious groups can transform aspects of the secular world & may infuse popular culture with sacred meaning. Here, results of a case study based on fieldwork at a Protestant high school youth conference provides evidence of the resacralization of secular culture. TV shows, movies, & commercials are reinterpreted & used to convey religious messages. [Source: SA]

Dean, Kenda Creasy. 2000. "X-Files and Unknown Gods: The Search for Truth with Postmodern Adolescents." American Baptist Quarterly vol. 19, pp. 3-21.

Gardyn, Rebecca and John Fetto. 2000. "Somebody Say Amen!" American Demographics vol. 22, p. 72.
Abstract: Uncovers statistics concerning faith, religion and atheism. Percentage of United States (US) atheists or agnostics who are men; Percentage of US atheists or agnostics who pray to God weekly; Worldwide membership in major religions; Percentage of teens who use the Internet for religious or spiritual experiences. [Source: AS]

Hess, Mary E. 1999. "From Trucks Carrying Messages to Ritualized Identities: Implications for Religious Educators of the Postmodern Paradigm Shift in Media Studies." Religious Education vol. 94, pp. 273-288.
Abstract: Part of a special issue on the religious education of Generation X. Recent media studies scholarship suggests that the familiar view of media as a vehicle for moving messages is less descriptive than understanding media as a naturalized aspect of the cultural environment. When viewed through the metaphor of ritual, media communications become elements of a culture from and within which materials for forming and informing identities, relationships, and communities are drawn. Instead of being reliably produced and predictably consumed, mass media "texts" offer space for creative negotiation and even resistance between the writer of a given media "text," the receiver of that text, and the context in which the text is created and consumed. Within this paradigm, the religious educator's role is one of providing access to the symbolic, narrative, and sacramental resources of faith communities. [Source: EA]

Rawson, Katie Jean. 1999. "Evangelizing East Asian Students in the United States with Special Reference to Media Tools." D.Miss. Thesis, Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission.
Abstract: This dissertation explores issues involved in evangelizing and discipling East Asian students in the United States. Factors necessary for the production and use of media tools with this group are described. Chinese students from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, Japanese and Korean students are studied with special emphasis on the East Asian Generation X. Receptors are described from the perspectives of acculturation patterns and worldview change, attractions and obstacles to faith and conversion patterns. Needs of students at three points in the spiritual decision process are identified, and sixty-four media tools which might meet those needs are evaluated. The study concludes with guidelines for the production and use of media tools with these students. A literature review on acculturation and worldview change led to the hypotheses that these students have traditional (Confucian and shamanistic), modern and postmodern assumptions in their worldviews and that the primary social network in the United States is the major influence on worldview change. It was further hypothesized that these students are more similar to their American peers than previous generations of foreign students were. Thirty-six new converts and seekers were interviewed concerning attractions and obstacles to faith and conversion patterns. This data was supplemented by surveys of seventy-one students. The hypotheses introduced above were supported by interview and survey data. The strongest attractions to faith were Christian groups and individuals; obstacles included difficulty believing in God, other unanswered apologetics questions and failure to experience God. The most common conversion pattern was conversion to community before conversion to Christ; the second was crisis followed by commitment. A third pattern, reversion to a previous faith following failure to get results from God, was noted. It was observed that the needs of students preparing to return home are often not met sufficiently. Many of the media tools evaluated seemed to have been produced on the assumption of sameness rather than the assumption of difference; this made them inadequate for international students. It was recommended that evangelism and discipling be based in international communities with student leadership. Media tools could then be used to supplement relational evangelism. [Source: DA]

Clark, Schofield Lynn. 1998. "Identity, Discourse, and Media Audiences: A Critical Ethnography of the Role of Visual Media in Religious Identity Construction among United States Adolescents." Thesis, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Abstract: Employing a critical/cultural studies approach, this dissertation argues that identity-construction is best understood as the nexus of public discourses and individual subjectivities. To understand the role of media in identity-construction, this work analyzes both the themes of discourse that are available in mediated texts and echoed throughout the culture, and the various social, political, economic and other contexts that frame the individual adolescent's identity narratives and practices. The discourses of religion and their relation to the religious identity-construction of individual subjects provides the focus for the current analysis. The study employed ethnographic interviews with 70 adolescents and their parents, 5 in-depth case studies of adolescents, 3 'peer-led' discussion groups (some of the adolescents involved in case studies were trained to lead focus groups without the primary researcher present), and 3 focus groups with parents of teens. The dissertation argues that there are three distinctive elements of religious identity-construction among adolescents today. First is a flattening of religious symbols. Religious symbols are not necessarily seen by adolescents as authoritative and 'fixed' due to their reference to formal religious institutions but are rather approached as somewhat autonomous and, like other commodified symbols of the postmodern condition of late capitalism, they must be made useful. Second, analyzing the interpretive strategies teens brought to the popular television program Touched by an Angel, the dissertation finds that adolescents embrace a variety of publicly-available discourses of religion which are not solely attributable to race, class, gender, and religious affiliation. Thus the dissertation affirms the rise in personal autonomy or the privatization of religion and the subsequent importance of the mediated realm (as opposed to solely the realm of religious institutions) in determining religious identities. Third, while affirming Stuart Hall's interpretive taxonomy of dominant, negotiated, and oppositional readings, the dissertation demonstrates a fourth interpretive approach, a regeneration that draws upon a dominant or negotiated reading of a text and is based on a viewer's position with reference to the text, yet also subtly informs the individual's larger system of beliefs, thus resulting in a subtly changed belief system. [Source: PI]

Rendon-Botello, Adriana. 1998. "Sources of Influence on Moral Decisions Made by Adolescent Females Attending a Catholic High School." M.S.W. Thesis, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach.
Abstract: This exploratory-descriptive study examined the sources of influence on the moral decisions made by 69 adolescent females attending a Catholic high school. Results indicate that parents are the greatest influence upon the moral decisions made by these adolescents. Contrary to popular belief the impact of friends, media (TV and radio), or books do not carry the impact of parents. Additionally, the years of exposure to Catholic education did not affect the moral decisions of adolescent females regardless of the stance of the Catholic Church. The findings suggest that the greatest influence continues to come from the family regardless of what different influences an adolescent may be exposed to. Implications for social work practice and recommendations for future research are presented. [Source: DA]

Armstrong, Jack. 1996. "Ministry in a Mass Media Culture." Momentum vol. 27, pp. 27-28.
Abstract: Part of a special section on the theories and principles of Catholic education. Religious educators must take contemporary culture seriously if they are to be effective in their role. Society and culture are being molded by the stories told through electronic mass media, with the result that the church is no longer one of the primary storytellers for families and youth. Coordinators of youth ministry and directors of religious education should neither ignore the changes nor find ways to use every new piece of communications technology, instead, they should listen attentively and reflect. Suggestions on the changes that religious educators need to make in the way they approach their people and their culture are outlined. [Source: EA]

Pardun, Carol J. and Kathy B. McKee. 1995. "Strange Bedfellows: Symbols of Religion and Sexuality on Mtv." Youth and Society vol. 26, pp. 438-449.
Abstract: Uses content analysis to examine the use of religious & sexual imagery in rock music videos (N = 160) shown on the cable station MTV (Music Television) in Nov-Dec 1992 to determine how frequently such images were used, & were combined within the same video. Results reveal that religious imagery is present in videos in significant, nonrandom fashion. In addition, religious images were more likely to occur with, than without, sexual imagery. [Source: SA]

Romer, D. and S. Kim. 1995. "Health Interventions for African American and Latino Youth: The Potential Role of Mass Media." Health Education Quarterly vol. 22, pp. 172-189.
Abstract: Children in Latino and African American families are far more likely to live in urban, high-poverty settings that greatly increase risks to healthy development. During adolescence, these settings are particularly hazardous for their role in the social transmission of risk behavior. Community-wide health promotion using local mass media can counteract these influences by reaching preadolescents and adolescents, their parents, and other adults in urban communities with safe-behavior messages. These messages can be designed to make safer behavior more acceptable and normative in the community, to increase awareness of community resources for adolescents, and to reverse the stereotyping and disregard that characterize media content about impoverished communities. Evidence is reviewed that, despite their poverty status, African American and Latino communities have considerable social resources to which community-wide health promotion can appeal, including strong family bonds, religious attachment, and concern about the community. The influence of these resources is exemplified by relatively low rates of adolescent drug use. Health promotion conducted regularly through local mass media could be an effective strategy to improve the health of adolescents in urban communities. [Source: CI]

Gibson, Harry M. 1992. "The Influence of Television on Adolescents' Attitudes Towards Christianity." Journal of Empirical Theology pp. 18-30.

Arnett, Jeffrey. 1991. "Adolescents and Heavy Metal Music: From the Mouths of Metalheads." Youth and Society vol. 23, pp. 76-98.
Abstract: Interview data obtained from 35 adolescent males in Atlanta, Ga, who liked heavy metal music (HMM) were compared with similar data from their peers who did not like HMM. The pro-HMM respondents said they liked the music especially because of what they perceived as the musical talent & skill of the performers, & because of the lyrics, often deploring the condition of the world. Compared to their peers, the HMM likers reported going to more concerts & spending more money on recordings & other music-related products. Politically they were no different from their peers, but they tended to be less religious. In spite of the grim themes of the lyrics & the dark quality of the music none reported that listening to HMM made them unhappy or depressed; rather, many said they listened to it when they were angry, & it helped calm them & dissipate their anger. [Source: SA]

Greeson, L. E. 1991. "Recognition and Ratings of Television Music Videos - Age, Gender, and Sociocultural Effects." Journal of Applied Social Psychology vol. 21, pp. 1908-1920.
Abstract: High school, younger college, and older college subjects rated explicit, neutral, or Christian television music videos according to theme clarity/recognition and whether the respective videos were liked/disliked. Subjects of each age group were able to recognize the themes of each music-video category with a high degree of accuracy. Younger subjects and males were found to rate the music videos, especially those selected for explicitness, more favorably than older or female subjects. Sociocultural background factors were also found to be related to recognition and ratings of the television music videos. In particular, working class background subjects, subjects who watched music videos regularly, and those that seldom or never attended church rated the music videos, especially the explicit ones, more favorably than subjects from a college town background, subjects who seldom or never watched music videos, and subjects who regularly attended church. These findings were interpreted in terms of media-based social influence processes and reciprocal determinism. [Source: SC]

Schultze, Quentin J., et al. 1991. Dancing in the Dark: Youth, Popular Culture, and the Electronic Media. Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship, Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.

Dudley, Roger L. and C. Robert Laurent. 1989. "Alienation from Religion in Church-Related Adolescents." Sociological Analysis vol. 49, pp. 408-420.
Abstract: To explore alienation from religion among church-related adolescents, 390 high school students attending 3 youth conferences sponsored by Protestant judicatories were asked to complete the Youth Perceptual Inventory, which included a scale to measure religious alienation & 17 other scales to measure various independent variables. This sample did not appear to be highly alienated, but there was a wide range in alienation scores. Multiple regression suggests that religious alienation is highly related to the quality of teens' relationships with pastors & parents as well as to opportunities for church involvement, their own self-concepts, & the influence of peer groups & the media. All but one of the research hypotheses were supported by the findings, but pastoral & church influences ranked considerably higher than parent & home influences. [Source: SA]

Tucker, Larry A. 1987. "Television, Teenagers, and Health." Journal of Youth and Adolescence vol. 16, pp. 415-425.
Abstract: The effect of TV viewing on adolescents' health-related attitudes & practices & physical fitness level is investigated using data from questionnaires containing multiple assessment instruments completed by 406 white, Mc, high school Ms. Multiple discriminant analysis reveals that high levels of TV watching are significantly associated with poorer physical & emotional health, increased drug & alcohol use, & decreased church attendance, exercise, self-control, self-confidence, & Coll aspirations. Though the directionality of causality cannot be assumed, it is argued that since TV viewing is a passive pastime, the media has great power to shape attitudes & behaviors. At present, its messages largely promote antisocial norms & unhealthy lifestyles. Suggestions are proposed to help health professionals & other specialists develop & promote more healthy, constructive uses of TV. [Source: SA]

Short, Robert L. 1984. "Young Adults, the Popular Arts, and the Bible." Explor vol. 7, pp. 61-69.

Weigel, Russell H. and Richard Jessor. 1973. "Television and Adolescent Conventionality: An Exploratory Study." Public Opinion Quarterly vol. 37, pp. 76-90.
Abstract: The degree to which psychol'al involvement with TV is associated with conventional values, att's & behaviors among adolescent youth in the US was investigated in 2 independent questionnaire surveys (N=132 M & 144 F Coll students & 287 M & 400 F HSch students). The findings of both studies strongly suggest that involvement with TV is associated with a syndrome of conventionality. Findings were consistent for younger & older adolescents & for M's & F's at both age levels as well as for subsamples which differed markedly in several other respects. Data confirm the general hyp that higher involvement with TV is associated with higher value on academic recognition, greater intolerance of deviance, less soc criticism, greater SP conservatism stronger negative att's toward drugs, greater religiosity, & less reported involvement with marijuana use. The exploratory nature of the study is stressed & the possible influence of a complex of pre-existing S-cul conditions is suggested. Some other implications are also noted. [Source: SA]

National Study of Youth and Religion


The National Study of Youth and Religion, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., is under the direction of Dr. Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Lisa Pearce, Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.