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Religion and the Internet: A microcosm for studying Internet trends and implications

TitleReligion and the Internet: A microcosm for studying Internet trends and implications
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsCampbell, HA
Journalnew media & society
Start Page680
KeywordsAuthority, community, Computer, Contemporary Religious Community, cyberspace, identity, internet, Mass media, network, New Media and Society, new media engagement, New Technology and Society, offline, Online, online communication, Online community, religion, religion and internet, Religion and the Internet, religiosity, religious engagement, religious identity, Religious Internet Communication, Religious Internet Communities, Ritual, sociability unbound, Sociology of religion, users’ participation, virtual community, virtual public sphere, “digital religion”, “Internet Studies”, “media and religion”, “media research”, “networked society”, “online identity”, “religion online”, “religious congregations”, “religious media research”, “religious practice online”

This article argues that paying close attention to key findings within the study of religion
and the Internet, a subfield of Internet Studies, can enhance our understanding and
discussion of the larger social and cultural shifts at work within networked society.
Through a critical overview of research on religion online, five central research areas
emerge related to social practices, online–offline connections, community, identity, and
authority online. It is also argued that observations about these themes not only point
to specific trends within religious practice online, but also mirror concerns and findings
within other areas of Internet Studies. Thus, studying religion on the Internet provides
an important microcosm for investigating Internet Studies’ contribution in a wide range
of contexts in our contemporary social world.