Avatar fandom as nature-religious expression?
Keywords:nature religions, religion and popular culture, religion and film,
AbstractThe article investigates spiritual trends in the fandom around the movie Avatar; in particular whether nature, represented by the "goddess" Eywa, is seen as sacred by fans and if so, if this may influence fans' environmental practices. I have used the popular net-based fan forums avatar-forums.com and naviblue.com, because these sites show a broad, non-specialized interest in the movie. The result of the investigation shows a weight on pantheistic or animistic interpretations of nature. The practices springing from this view include meditation in nature to enhance awareness as well as daily practices like recycling, vegetarianism and an ecological lifestyle. Radical environmental initiatives are few, but exists on an ideological level, but more importantly there has been a production of manifestos aimed at politicians. A comparison to already established fandoms indicates that a development in the direction of more communal and face-to-face fan activities may be on the way.
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