The Religious Dimensions of Popular Culture: Experiencing the Sacred in the World of Comic-Con
This paper builds on The Elementary Forms, and other scholars, to explore how particular leisure activities can involve ritualistic behavior that evokes the sacred and, therefore, shares important similarities (or elementary forms) with traditional religion. Specifically, I propose a study to investigate how, and to what degree, fans of popular culture can experience variations of the sacred. While contending explanations may view fan devotion as a deviant obsession, the result of intensive commodification, or simply a form of mindless entertainment, I hypothesize that the more dedicated or devoted a fan is to a particular pop cultural form, the more their expressions and activities are endowed with sacred meaning. Ideally, data gathering will involve systematic surveys of various types of fans at prominent pop-culture conventions in the United States, such as ComicCon.