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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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7 In search of the mediatization effect


By analyzing media contents, legal and party documents, we tried to show the mechanisms that mediatize the idea of a secular state. The last element of the communication process, meaning the content reception, was clearly missing in all of this. As it was pointed out, the mediatization effect cannot be identified with the media effect as such. The first mechanism points to a number of changes both in social institutions and among individual actors. From the perspective of the communication process, however, it also takes into account the mechanisms typical of the media effect. In this final chapter of the book, let’s search for traces of the mediatization effect in society.

7.1 Sources of knowledge about a secular state

In the methodological part, it was mentioned that the last element of this analysis on the mediatization of the secular-state idea and the Church-state relationship applies to audience reception. Indeed, the analyzed media belong to the basic and uninterrupted sources of information about the secular state and the joint exercises between the Church and state, but can we find links between their contents and the audience’s awareness? Let’s face this issue by analyzing the sources of social information about the secular state.

The simplest answer about where to locate these sources leads us to the media. In Matthew Engelke’s (2010) previously quoted essay, there even appears a suggestion that we view the social functioning of religion today mostly through the religion and media...

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