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Digital Religion, Social Media and Culture

Perspectives, Practices and Futures


Pauline Hope Cheong, Peter Fischer-Nielsen, Stefan Gelfgren and Charles Ess

This anthology – the first of its kind in eight years – collects some of the best and most current research and reflection on the complex interactions between religion and computer-mediated communication (CMC). The contributions cohere around the central question: how will core religious understandings of identity, community and authority shape and be (re)shaped by the communicative possibilities of Web 2.0? The authors gathered here address these questions in three distinct ways: through contemporary empirical research on how diverse traditions across the globe seek to take up the technologies and affordances of contemporary CMC; through investigations that place these contemporary developments in larger historical and theological contexts; and through careful reflection on the theoretical dimensions of research on religion and CMC. In their introductory and concluding essays, the editors uncover and articulate the larger intersections and patterns suggested by individual chapters, including trajectories for future research.
Contents: Pauline Hope Cheong/Charles Ess: Introduction: Religion 2.0? Relational and Hybridizing Pathways in Religion, Social Media, and Culture – Knut Lundby: Dreams of Church in Cyberspace – Bernie Hogan/Barry Wellman: The Immanent Internet Redux – Bala A. Musa/Ibrahim M. Ahmadu: New Media, Wikifaith and Church Brandversation: A Media Ecology Perspective – Heidi Campbell: How Religious Communities Negotiate New Media Religiously – Jørgen Straarup: When Pinocchio Goes to Church: Exploring an Avatar Religion – Peter Fischer-Nielsen: Pastors on the Internet: Online Responses to Secularization – Lorenzo Cantoni/Emanuele Rapetti/Stefano Tardini/Sara Vannini/Daniel Arasa: PICTURE: The Adoption of ICT by Catholic Priests – Mark D. Johns: Voting «Present»: Religious Organizational Groups on Facebook – Stine Lomborg/Charles Ess: «Keeping the Line Open and Warm»: An Activist Danish Church and Its Presence on Facebook – Pauline Hope Cheong: Twitter of Faith: Understanding Social Media Networking and Microblogging Rituals as Religious Practices – Tim Hutchings: Creating Church Online: Networks and Collectives in Contemporary Christianity – Stefan Gelfgren: «Let There Be Digital Networks and God Will Provide Growth?» Comparing Aims and Hopes of 19th-Century and Post-Millennial Christianity – Peter Horsfield: «A Moderate Diversity of Books?» The Challenge of New Media to the Practice of Christian Theology – Sam Han: Clocks and Computers: The Doctrine of Imago Dei, Technologies, and Humanism – Lynne M. Baab: Toward a Theology of the Internet: Place, Relationship, and Sin – Peter Fischer-Nielsen/Stefan Gelfgren: Conclusion: Religion in a Digital Age: Future Developments and Research Directions.