Date of this Version
This essay looks at media as part of an ordered system of bodily gestures, or rituals, that hold enduring groups together. Enduring groups are those for which members may be persuaded to lay down their lives. They include, but are not limited to, nation-states, ethnicities, and sectarian faiths. In contemporary mass media, nation-states are the most visible enduring groups. By mass media, I mean the complex of national print and electronic outlets that share a similar agenda of stories on a periodic schedule. Ritual is a more complex term. By ritual in the largest sense, I mean memory-inducing behavior that has the effect of preserving whatever things or ideas are indispensable to the group. On the presumption that all important things in society are ritualized, this definition deliberately encompasses a large range of events.
Date Posted: 07 March 2008