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Mediatizing Secular State

Media, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Poland


Damian Guzek

The book provides an empirically based analysis of changes on how various political and denominational actors seek to influence the Church and state relationship, as well as how we understand the idea of the secular state. A set of case studies shows how and why changes in the coverage of the secular state and Church-state relations have followed the dynamics of media logic. By establishing a grounded theory based on media content, legal regulations and political party programs in the years 1989–2015 as well as a current survey, the author throws new light on the theory of mediatization. The book demonstrates that the disseminated idea of the secular state is largely a result of the adaptation of both political and religious representatives to a dynamically changing media logic.

 "The book is the first study of this kind showing the Polish perspective. It is an interesting and important source of information for those who want to trace the media picture of relations between the Polish state and the institution of the Roman Catholic Church, representing the largest religious community in Poland."

Professor Dorota Piontek, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

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2 The notion of mediatization


The term mediatization sounds quite awkward in English. Mediatization, however, won the race among other competitive terms and enters into a growing research perspective based on the consequences of media action. Mediatization theorists, even though they do not take up a common position regarding what the concept is, assume that mediatization “has matured theoretically as well as empirically” (Hepp et al., 2015: 315). At the same time, they refute its alleged functioning as a conceptual bandwagon (Deacon & Stanyer, 2014). For this study, the framework of mediatization forms the analysis of the idea of a secular state but not from the perspective of mediation. Rather, we undertake an analysis of how the selective media relate to the idea of a secular state and the way it changed over the years.

2.1 Traditions of mediatization research

The development of mediatization research basically takes different directions, whose foundations were set by two earlier research trends. The first concerns the medium theory developed by theorists like Harold A. Inis (1964), Marshall McLuhan (1962, 1964), and Joshua Meyrowitz (Meyrowitz, 1994). It mainly focused on the influence of the media and technical aspects of the means of communication. The second trend, ecology of communication, relates to David Altheide and Robert Snow (1979, 1988) and concerns the formatting power of the media expressed in the media logic concept (Altheide, 1995). Current studies on mediatization research make it possible to distinguish three traditions which the theorizing of the concept of mediatization...

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