Original Research - Special Collection: Yolanda Dreyer Festschrift

Film as medium for meaning making: A practical theological reflection

Anita L. Cloete
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 4 | a4753 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i4.4753 | © 2017 Anita L. Cloete | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 August 2017 | Published: 29 September 2017

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Anita L. Cloete, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

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The reflection on film will be situated within the framework of popular culture and livedreligion as recognised themes within the discipline of practical theology. It is argued that theperspective of viewers is of importance within the process of meaning-making. By focusing onthe experience and meaning-making through the act of film-watching the emphasis is not somuch on the message that the producer wishes to convey but rather on the experience that iscreated within the viewer. Experience is not viewed as only emotional, but rather that, at least,both the cognitive and emotional are key in the act of watching a film. It is therefore arguedthat this experience that is seldom reflected on by viewers could serve as a fruitful platform formeaning-making by the viewer. In a context where there seems to be a decline in institutionalisedforms of religion, it is important to investigate emerging forms of religion. Furthermore, theturn to the self also makes people’s experiences and practices in everyday life valuableresources for theological reflection. This reflection could provide a theoretical framework forespecially empirical research on how film as specific form of media serves as a religiousresource and plays a role in the construction of meaning and religious identity.


Film; popular culture; lived religion; practical theology; religion


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