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Spiritualising the internet: Uncovering discourse and narrative of religious internet usage

TitleSpiritualising the internet: Uncovering discourse and narrative of religious internet usage
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsCampbell, H
JournalOnline – Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet
Keywordsinternet, religion, technology, theory of religion online

Heidi Campbell deals with an important aspect of ”lived religion” and the Internet. In her contribution Spiritualising the Internet: Uncovering Discourses and Narratives of Religious Internet Usage, she focuses on how spiritual or religious worldviews shape the use and study of the Internet. Individuals and groups typically employ one of a range of conceptual models (such as the Internet as an information tool, identity workshop, common mental geography, social network or spiritual space) to frame their understanding of Internet technology and how it should be used. Narratives about the nature of this technology are often embedded within these discourses. Of particular interest to Campbell is the identification of narratives used to shape religious or spiritual Internet usage. Some of these can be described as offering a religious identity, support network, spiritual network or worship space. According to Campbell, religious narratives describe the religious group’s motivations and beliefs about acceptable use of technology in spiritual pursuits. They also highlight a process of negotiation and framing that is often undertaken in order to justify religious Internet usage. Campbell introduces Katz and Aakhus’s Apparageist theory of the social use of mobile technology, which provides one way to discuss this religious apologetic process related to the Internet. She is convinced that it also helps to uncover how technological selection can be linked to the spiritual worldviews to which individuals and/or groups ascribe.