Religion and New Media: The Main Approaches to the Study


Media Practices of Russian Speaking Orthodox Jews: Women’s Groups and Rabbis’ Blogs on Facebook and Instagram

The article focuses on the media practices of the Russian‑speaking Orthodox Jews seeking patterns of observance relevant to secular modernity. The author applied the conceptual framework of “communicative figurations” for describing the process of everyday Torah observances in post‑Soviet countries, Israel, the USA, and West‑ ern Europe. The empirical research of media repertoires revealed that the members in the post‑Soviet Orthodox communities use Facebook and Instagram platforms to maintain closed women groups and rabbis’ blogs focused on observance.

Holy Selfie in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy: A Comparative Analysis of a New Visual Canon

Analyzing the visual content from Instagram, the article address‑ es the phenomenon of “holy selfie” as a way of expressing religious identity used by Orthodox and Catholic adepts. Selfie as a technique of online self‑presentation allows believers to report about their connections to sacred places, persons, events and objects. Despite the dis‑ approval of Orthodox and Catholic priests, taking a selfie is a way to consolidate religious communities around offline religious experience.

Mediatization of Pastoral Care in the Russian Orthodox Church: Reasons Behind “Ask the Priest” Websites

Drawing upon a few “ask the priest” websites, this article studies the mediatization of pastoral care in the Russian Orthodox Church. The study is based upon the theory of mediatized worlds in the framework of social constructivism. Various forms of communication between the priest and the audience are analyzed, as well as the reasons why both sides choose the online communication.

How Religion Becomes Visible: Old Believers’ Communities in Social Media

The article discusses how Old Believers create the space of a new visibility of their religion in social media. The author analyzes online and offline practices as complementing each other, examining Facebook pages of those communities and settlements in which field anthropological studies were previously conducted (the North‑ Western Black Sea region).

Mediation of Religious Meaning and Emerging Religious Sensibilities

This text presents theoretical premises of how to study the reception of media content by the religious audience. The author looks first at how media and mass communication scholarship developed along with the emergence of the media sphere as a technological and social phenomenon. One of the results of these developments is that, with‑ in the multiplicity of sources available, specifically religious channels and services, and channels and services that can accommodate religious and spiritual interests and uses, are increasingly possible and available.

Considering the Religious-Social Shaping of Technology

The following text is a chapter from the book When Religion Meets New Media. The aim of the book is to develop a systematic exploration of how religious communities engage with a variety of new media technologies. This chapter provides a background to the guiding methodology of the book — the “religious social shaping of technology” approach.

The Communicative Figurations of Mediatized Worlds: Mediatization Research in Times of the “Mediation of Everything”

When various media in their entirety mark how we articulate our social worlds, we need an approach of mediatization research that reflects this transmediality. To develop such an approach, the article first discusses the “institutionalist” and “social‑constructivist” traditions of mediatization research. Both traditions concur in their understanding of mediatization as being a concept to capture the interrelation between the change of media and communication on the one hand, and the change of culture and society on the other hand.

Mediatisation of Religion: A Critical Appraisal

Media as a context for shaping religion in modern society has generally been overlooked in the mainstream sociology of religion. This article discusses the relevance of the thesis of a mediatisation of religion presented by Stig Hjarvard for studying religious transformation in a modern, Western society.

Three Forms of Mediatized Religion: Changing the Public Face of Religion

The text is a translation of the chapter by Stig Hjarvard from the edited volume “Media and Religion: The Nordic Perspectives”. Hjarvard develops a typology of the mediatized religion: (1) “religious media”, (2) “journalism on religion”, and (3) “banal religion”. While the first type corresponds in part to organized religion and may serve to project religious narratives into the public realm, the other two forms are driven primarily by various media considerations.

Middle-Range Theories in Religion and Media Studies: Mediation, Mediatization and RSST

The article explores three seminal approaches to the study of religion and media: mediatization theory, mediation theory, and religious‑social shaping of technology (RSST). The overview gives a comparative analysis of these approaches considering the relation between the genesis and conceptual frame of each approach and the scope and boundaries of its application. Firstly, we focus on the difference in the conceptualization of the relation of media and religion.