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Internet, Authority, and Religious Contact

Workshop


CERES-Palais, Raum "Ruhrpott" (4.13)

The current proliferation of media, especially digital media, has an impact on how religion is perceived, experienced, and negotiated. Scholars in the field of religion and media are increasingly interested in exploring aspects that are relevant to understand digital religion, such as religious authority. Some questions are central to understand various facets of contemporary religion: how does the Internet affect religious authority? Do digital media reproduce existing structures of authority, or do they challenge traditional authority?

In discussing religious authority and the Internet, this workshop aims at reflecting upon instances of religious contact. Existing academic works on media and authority, indeed, seldom explore how authority can kindle –or hinder –religious contact. The workshop will gather experts in religion and digital media from Europe and the U.S., who will explore the topic with case studies about Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. In particular, the presentations will analyze how digital media facilitate endorsement or rejection of religious authority in a given religious tradition, and how online-mediated negotiations of religious authority mutually influence different religious groups. By so doing, the workshop aims at adding complexity to the current understanding of authority and digital media, and discussing new methodological and theoretical perspective in the field of religion and media.

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