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The Sanctification of Star Wars: From Fans to Followers

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Chapter Summary

Communication technologies are a vital conduit for religious groups to provide information to, and develop relationships with, their followers. Religious organisations and individual clergy are increasingly utilising digital technology to enhance, diversify and simplify the practices of their faith. While Catholicism and other traditional religions have benefited in many ways from their use of communication technologies, the broad appeal and easy access these technologies provide has also paved the way for the emergence of sects and new religious movements (NRMs). Advances in communications technology have afforded potential members of NRMs the means to connect and cultivate their ideas. This chapter describes how over a period of more than three decades, fans of the Star Wars series of films harnessed emerging communications technologies to form a religious community and how technology, conversely, almost led to the demise of the nascent religion.

Keywords:communication technologies; fans; followers; nascent religion; new religious movements (NRMs); Star Wars

10.1163/9789004226944_010
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