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Mediatisation of Catholicism in Croatia: A Networked Religion?

TitleMediatisation of Catholicism in Croatia: A Networked Religion?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPavić, Z, Kurbanović, F, Levak, T
JournalRevija za sociologiju
KeywordsCatholicism, Croatia, mediatisation, networked religion, religion

This paper deals with the topic of mediatisation of religion. It is seen as a process wherein the structural logic and communicative characteristics of the media play a significant role in religious communication, thus exerting an influence on the success of the transmission of such messages and on religion as a whole. Consequently, it is argued that contemporary social transformations of religion cannot be properly analysed and understood without the acknowledgement of the increasing mediatisation of religion and its effects. Having in mind the overarching importance of the Internet as a communication platform, the authors investigated whether the Internet presence of Catholicism in Croatia can be identified as a networked religion with its main components (networked communities, storied identities, shifting authority, convergent practice and multisite reality). Media content analysis using a sample (N = 200) of various categories of Catholic websites and Facebook pages was employed. Even though noteworthy differences were found between the sites affiliated, semi-affiliated and non-affiliated with the Catholic Church in Croatia, as well as between such websites and Facebook pages, the findings suggest that in the case of Catholicism in Croatia, Internet religious communication bears close connections to the offline world, does not challenge formal religious authorities, nor does it lead to new interpretations of religious doctrines and texts. The authors concluded that the Internet presence of Catholicism in Croatia leads to the re-affirmation and deepening of the existing forms of religion in the new media environments.