Thou Shalt Kill . . . Carefully: Secular Religion, the Immanent Frame, and Showtime’s Dexter

  • Author(s): Matthew Pittman
  • When: 2015-11
  • Where: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
  • This article uses the television series Dexter as a space to explore the practice of religion in a secular society. Employing critical discourse analysis, which focuses on the causal relationships between discursive practices or texts and sociocultural processes, we situate the habitual killing activity of protagonist Dexter Morgan in what Charles Taylor calls the “immanent frame.” By using the concepts of ritual provided by anthropologists Roy A. Rappaport and Victor Turner, Dexter demonstrates how individuals in a secular society can create a belief system without appealing to traditional transcendent beings or ideals. We conclude with implications for modern religious practice.

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