Understanding the Relationship between Religion Online and Offline in a Networked Society

Campbell, Heidi A.
March 2012
Journal of the American Academy of Religion;Mar2012, Vol. 80 Issue 1, p64
Academic Journal
This article suggests that religious practice online, rather than simply transforming religion, highlights shifts occurring within broader Western culture. The concept of “networked religion” is introduced as a way to encapsulate how religion functions online and suggests that online religion exemplifies several key social and cultural changes at work in religion in general society. Networked religion is defined by five key traits—networked community, storied identities, shifting authority, convergent practice, and a multisite reality—that highlight central research topics and questions explored within the study of religion and the internet. Studying religion on the internet provides insights not only into the common attributes of religious practice online, but helps explain current trends within the practice of religion and even social interactions in networked society.


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