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Pushing boundaries and blurring categories in digital media and religion research

TitlePushing boundaries and blurring categories in digital media and religion research
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsPeterson, KM
JournalSociology Compass

As religious identity and spiritual practices transform and expand in the digital media moment, this article advocates for more critical scholarship on media and religion that examines the complex ways that individuals make meaning in the digital age. First, I present an overview of foundational media and religion theories that analyze the interactions between these ever‐changing fields, such as the culturalist tradition, mediatization theory, and the social shaping of technology approach. Furthermore, this essay highlights insightful research trends that blur distinctions between media spaces and complicate definitions of religion. Finally, a discussion of gaps in the scholarship will justify an argument for more theories centered in international contexts, as well as analysis of the relationships between media technologies, aesthetics, affect, identity and religious expression. These emerging approaches provide more in‐depth discussions of how the fast‐changing and ever‐complex digital culture is deeply connected to the evolving nature of religion and human existence.