Henriquez-Mendoza, Juan Carlos. “The Belief System and the Pop-esoteric Wave”, Boston College, 2011. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3321.
This work inquires about the subjectivity construction individuals perform in our contemporary media culture. It examines the structure of believing that can be inferred from the narrative elaboration of beliefs exerted in social conversations when pop-media related to spirituality or transcendency are used as inputs for conversation. For this purpose, I investigate the consumption of three films that triggered for their audiences intense controversies that included topics belonging to the blurry crossroad where spirituality, science, and religion intersect: What The Bleep do We (k)now!? (USA 2004), The Da Vinci Code (USA 2006), and The Passion of the Christ (USA 2004). My approach departs from the sociology of spirituality perspective, and draws on some insights developed by ritual studies, sociology of religion, social psychoanalysis, consumer studies, and visual studies. Based on a multi-method strategy of inquiry, formal film analysis, focus and discussion groups, and interview data collected from the audience, this dissertation finds that the burgeoning of a media driven popular culture spirituality in Mexico is creating a wave of Pop-Esotericism. As a rational narrative with consumption and conversational drives, Pop-Esotericism is not only a resonant media-reference, but also constitutes a pre-text in the construction of ephemeral and collective conversational spaces wherein the belief system is engaged and refurnished. To give a full account on the pop-esoteric phenomenon and on overall contemporary belief systems, I propose a theoretical model aimed to uncover the dynamics and strategies we engage to articulate spirituality, identity, and reality in our current global media context.