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Religion and Media III: Social Media and the Internet

B102
Session Chair: N.N. | Thursday, August 27, 9-11 a.m. | Venue

Laurens de Rooij

The effect of media on Muslim identity construction and their public and private practices

Everyday media practices of Muslims in England affect the constructions of their identities as they locate themselves in their local and global environment. This paper will discuss how media consumption is linked to the construction and expression of diasporic Islamic identities. This paper will explore further links to media usage influencing religious identity construction and the conceptualisation of religious identities in light of cosmopolitanism and in a global society. The effect of media narratives regarding Islam from a number of sources consist of among others blame, trust, curiosity, prejudice and persecution and is used by various communities to construct their identity and define their place and role in society. The existing protocols of media and public space of a given context characterise the kinds of experiences communities are exposed to, as well as dictating their participation when transitions take place across geographic areas and in many cases across cultural borders.

Ekaterina Grishaeva

New Ecclesiological Heresies Emerging in Cyberspace: A Case of Vladimir Golishev's Community in Russian Blogosphere

Political and economic scandals around Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) are not the subjects of free discussions in Russian official mass media, but actively covered in the cyber space. As a result a heretical community spontaneously formed in LiveJournal. The definition of heresy and the rhetoric of discussion are formed by so called “opinion leader” – Vladimir Golishev. Golishev’s doctrine has much in common with the Lutheran theology, but in a greater degree emphasizes the personal spirituality; at the same time political meanings evidently prevail over theological. Golishev’s heresy is a model of Christianity which is simple to understand and perform. On the one hand, Golishev’s on-line heresy well-matched corresponds with patchwork religiosity in off-line Russian society; on the other hand, its simplicity is strongly connected with the features of the cyber space. Golishev’s theological ideas does not require an intellectual effort of readers and do not take a lot of time.

Moshe Yitzhaki

Religious Communities Reaction to Threats of New Media: A Case Study of the Jewish Ultra-Orthodox Community in Israel

Generally speaking, the Jewish population world-wide includes two distinct religious groups: modern orthodox and ultra-orthodox. Large communities of them live in Israel and abroad. Although ultra-orthodox society may seem monolithic, it actually comprises several subgroups with different customs and varying degrees of openness to the modern world. Nonetheless, these groups have much in common and are characterized by strict adherence to Jewish law and emphasis on family life and personal modesty. Justly claiming that content-wise no media is value-free, their spiritual leaders insist on exposure only to media and literature consistent with their values and lifestyle. Seeking to avoid consumption of 'secular' media, including television and internet, which are considered as a serious spiritual threat, they have successfully developed their own sub-cultural media and recreation activities, entirely separated from the mainstream. This resulted in an enormous ongoing demand for books and magazines, as well as in a successful conservation of their religious tradition, among both adults and youngsters.

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