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ThingsReligion and the Question of Materiality$
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Dick Houtman and Birgit Meyer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823239450

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.001.0001

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Enchantment, Inc.: Online Gaming Between Spiritual Experience and Commodity Fetishism

Enchantment, Inc.: Online Gaming Between Spiritual Experience and Commodity Fetishism

Chapter:
(p.339) Enchantment, Inc.: Online Gaming Between Spiritual Experience and Commodity Fetishism
Source:
Things
Author(s):

Stef Aupers

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823239450.003.0020

This chapter discusses the popular genre of online computer games rooted in the “fantasy” genre (Tolkien in particular) and exemplified by World of Warcraft. His analysis, as we have seen, leads to a critique of Weber's theory of the “disenchantment of the world,” according to which religious belief increasingly evaporates as a viable option, so that enchantment is progressively relegated to the realm of fiction (the worlds of poetry, literature, television, and, more recently, computer games). Now that a massive epistemological shift has taken place from “religious belief” to “spiritual experience,” it is argued, this theory no longer holds: these computer games open up opportunities for spiritual engagement with fantasy fiction that go well beyond Coleridge's notion of a “willing suspension of disbelief.”

Keywords:   Online computer games, Fantasy, Tolkien, World of Warcraft, “Willing suspension of disbelief” (Coleridge), Max Weber, Disenchantment, Enchantment, Religious belief, Spiritual experience

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