Promising Images of Love: Religion, Norms, and the Mediatisation of Weddings

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (24 April 2024) | Viewed by 3735

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Dipartimento di studi umanistici, Università di Macerata, 62100 Macerata, MC, Italy
Interests: religion; media; gender; media ethics

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany
Interests: religion; gender; clothing; music

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to contribute to this Special Issue titled “Promising Images of Love: Religion, Norms, and the Mediatisation of Weddings”, which focuses on weddings and their diverse representions, performances, and meanings in historical and contemporary perspectives. Weddings are understood as rites de passage (van Gennep, 2019) that are performed in religious traditions and many cultures of the past and in the present. The religious significance of rites of passage is manifested by symbolically transforming the social status of the individuals (the wedding couple), enabling them to transcend the everyday world. Thereby, a general order of existence (family, gender, status) is expressed and reconfigured (Geertz, 1993, 90). The actual wedding rituals are as diverse as each cultural–religious context; they adapt to them, and change over the course of time. At the same time, some traditional elements are also passed on.

The focus of this Special Issue “Promising Images of Love” is the ways in which weddings mediate values that are often highly normative in reference to specific religious traditions. Norms in this context are understood as guidelines to act by, which express specific values and justify normative acts. Values and norms in wedding practices are numerous, complex, and interlinked on several levels, notably social, political, cultural, historical, and economic.

This Special Issue invites authors to scrutinize how wedding practices enclose and reshape different religious norms and values as well as stereotypes with the intent to highlight the performativity of their mediatisation. Mediatisation in the current approach is understood as the interaction between culture, including religion and the media, in a broad sense that comprises all kinds of artefacts of material and visual culture such as images, films, fashion, and architecture. Mediatisation describes the interaction of these two areas and how they adapt to and transform one other.

The following questions are central to the Special Issue’s focus: 

  • How can we approach weddings on a theoretical level as a rite de passage?
  • Which norms and values form the basis of historical and contemporary wedding practices and representations?
  • How is gender constructed in wedding practices understood as religious?
  • Which social, political, cultural, and economic norms and values are expressed in religious wedding representations and practices? How do they change adapt and transform over time?
  • How do wedding specialists and political–economic factors influence the performative dimensions of the rite de passage?
  • What does the future of religious weddings look like?


Geertz, Clifford. Religion as Cultural System, in The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. London: Fontana Press, 1993.

van Gennep, Arnold. The Rites of Passage. Second edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Ingraham, Chrys. White Weddings Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Lebe, Reinhard. Ein Königreich als Mitgift: Heiratspolitik in der Geschichte. Bd. 30792. Dtv. München: DtTaschenbuch-Verl, 2000.

 Schäffler, Hilde. Ritual als Dienstleistung: die Praxis professioneller Hochzeitsplanung. Berlin: Reimer, 2012.

Williams, Lucy. Global Marriage: Cross-Border Marriage Migration in Global Context. Migration, Minorities & Citizenship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Witte, John. The Western Case for Monogamy over Polygamy. Cambridge Studies in Law and Christianity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Dr. Marie-Therese Mäder
Dr. Anna-Katharina Höpflinger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • weddings
  • religions
  • values
  • norms
  • mediatisation
  • tradition
  • transformation

Published Papers (1 paper)

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24 pages, 4434 KiB  
Six Rites of Allied Harmony: Changes in Ancient Chinese Wedding Ceremonies under the Influence of Confucianism
by Yu Wu and Zhidiankui Xu
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1528; - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 3324
Ancient Chinese wedding ceremonies served as the solemn rituals for witnessing and establishing marriage, primarily aimed at forging kinship ties between two families and fulfilling the obligations of ancestral worship and lineage continuation. Within the Confucian tradition, the family and the state have [...] Read more.
Ancient Chinese wedding ceremonies served as the solemn rituals for witnessing and establishing marriage, primarily aimed at forging kinship ties between two families and fulfilling the obligations of ancestral worship and lineage continuation. Within the Confucian tradition, the family and the state have always been interconnected, and ancient Chinese weddings, dating back to the Zhou dynasty, have maintained the fundamental order of both the family and society. This article primarily explores the influence of Confucianism on ancient Chinese wedding rituals and customs, as well as the historical evolution of wedding ceremonies throughout different dynasties. According to Confucian principles, the main procedures of the wedding ceremony included six rituals: “Nacai” (proposal ceremony), “Wenming” (name inquiry), “Naji” (betrothal gift ceremony), “Nazheng” (gifts for the selection of the auspicious day), “Qingqi” (asking for a wedding date), and “Qinying” (wedding procession). These six rituals were collectively known as the “Six Rites”. This study found that, during the Qin and Han dynasties and the Tang and Song dynasties, there were two important stages of reform of wedding ceremonies under the influence of Confucianism. The “Six Rites” were streamlined and merged into the “Three Rites”, gradually becoming more secular. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the interaction between Confucianism and the wedding ceremony weakened until the Republic of China period, when traditional constraints were broken. It is evident that the “Six Rites” have continued to serve as the template of traditional Chinese weddings and have been the important basis for subsequent wedding customs. Full article
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