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Beyond the Classic: Lady Gaga and Theology in the Wild Public Sphere

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There is a rich vein of theology running through much popular culture as exemplified by the artistic output of Lady Gaga, a discussion of which lies at the heart of this article. Such theological engagement with popular culture, it is argued, is an important task for public theology because this is a locus in which theology is already present in the public sphere. This suggests an approach to public theology that moves beyond David Tracy’s notion of the ‘classic’ in the context of hypermodernity. The case for this new agenda is presented in a twofold structure. Firstly, the theopolitical significance of Lady Gaga’s pop art is established. Secondly, a way of conceiving the ‘publicness’ of theological engagement with popular culture is articulated in dialogue with Habermas’ conception of the wild public sphere.

Affiliations: 1: University of Chichester


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