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Media, religion and the marketplace in the information economy: evidence from Singapore

TitleMedia, religion and the marketplace in the information economy: evidence from Singapore
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsPoon, J, Huang, S, Cheong, PH
JournalEnvironment and Planning
Start Page1969
KeywordsBuddhism, Computer, Contemporary Religious Community, cyberspace, digital media, hybridization, information economy, internet, Mass media, network, New Media and Society, new media engagement, New Technology and Society, online communication, Online community, Protestantism, religion, religion and internet, Religion and the Internet, religiosity, religious engagement, religious identity, Religious Internet Communication, Religious Internet Communities, Singapore, sociability unbound, Sociology of religion, users’ participation, virtual community, virtual public sphere, “digital religion”, “Internet Studies”, “media and religion”, “media research”, “networked society”, “online identity”, “religion online”, “religious congregations”, “religious media research”, “religious practice online”

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 commodifi cation
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