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The Church of the Cult of the Individual By Eric W.

Rothenbuhler
Terms and Definitions within the article: 1. The religion of modern society - Durkheim1 proposed that this is the media which takes the form as the church of the cult of the individual. 2. The Person / The Self - Goffman2,3 showed that it is the sacred object of the cult of the individual. It is a symbolic entity that can be known only through communicative processes. 3. Communication - is the location of the church of the cult of the individual. 4. The media - provide the religious education of the cult of the individual. 5. The cult of the individual - is a legitimate religious practice and a necessary characteristic of modern society. This is one of the most intriguing ideas of Durkheims. 6. The new religion - would express the unity of individual, society and sacred principles and would engage in periodic gatherings and other ritual forms for the expression, promulgation and reinforcement of its principles. 7. The religion of the individual - is a social institution like all known religions. It is society which assigns us this ideal as the sole common end which is today capable o providing a focus for humankinds wills.4 8. The media system - of consumer culture and of celebrity has grown as a church of the cult of the individual. The media functions as an adjunct to this system, providing the religious education necessary to good performance of the cult. 9. The television - functions like religion for many people. This somehow proves that the media system is a necessary working part of a real religion. 10. Consumer culture - draws attention to the existence of moralities of consumption. These moralities of consumption exist because consumption is symbolic behavior that articulates self and social order.
1

Emile Durkheim (1994). Individualism and the intellectuals (S. Lukes & J. Lukes, Trans.). In W.S.F. Pickering (Ed.), Durkheim on religion (pp.59-73). Atlanta, GA: Scholar Press. (Original work published in 1898) 2 E. Goffman (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Anchor Books. 3 E. Goffman (1967). Interaction ritual: Essay on face-to-face behavior. New York: Anchor Books. 4 Idem Durkheim (1994).

11. This church - exists in communication and not in organization of material bodies and resources, its structure and processes must exist in discourse, text, and artifact, its structures must be semiotic and its processes hermeneutic. 12. The media content - Goffman5 concluded that much of the media content functions as a form of hyper-ritualization in which the normal rules of personal presentation are exaggerated, the normal rules of personal stereotypes are more so, the distribution of types tends to extremes and so on. 13. Two modalities of the self - presentation and reputation. Media presentations with known actors mix the two, as how news coverage that combines presentation and reportage. 14. Religion in modernity - is a specialized, institutional sphere. It is likely for the media functioning as a church of the cult of the individual to remain a hypothesis. 15. The self - is the holy object of the society earned by the medium of the individual. It can only exist in communicative interactions and therefore, its churches must be communicative structures.

E. Goffman (1976). Gender advertisements. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.