Main Theme

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.

Pilgrimage as a Path to Faith: An Essay on a Social Construction of Religiosity

The article is devoted to pilgrimage and represents an anthropological interview with the researcher’s comments. The interview was recorded on April 2019, in Elista, at the religious community of the Temple “Golden Abode of Shakyamuni Buddha”. The narrative shows how a pilgrimage to India is perceived by Kalmykia’s believers as a means of coping with life’s hurdles and of searching for its new meaning.

The “White Faith” Movement in the Mountain Altai: Tibetan Buddhism, Mongolia, and the Oirot Prophecy, 1880s–1920sThis paper explores the influence of Tibetan Buddhism on the development

of Ak-Jang (White Faith or Burkhanism), an ethno-religious movement that sprang up in the Mountain Altai in the early twentieth century. It is emphasized that a large part of the “White Faith” pantheon and spiritual practices originated from Tibetan Buddhism that was coming from Mongolia. The article is particularly focused on the links between the messianism of the White Faith and ethno-religious messianic movement Amursana that developed in Western Mongolia from 1910 to 1923.

«There Will Not Be a Dignified Life Without a Flock of Sheep»: Negotiating Religion in the Context of Socially Engaged Buddhism in Buryatia

The article looks at the Social Flock (sotsial’naia otara) project whereby the sangha gives sheep to laypeople and other locals as a kind of socially engaged Buddhism in Buryatia. It places the Social Flock project into a broader context of moral economy in the region, where through various acts of help, support and other kinds of giving the sangha establishes itself as a “pillar” of society. The article also critically discusses the very concept of socially engaged Buddhism.

Mongolian Buddhism in the Twenty-First Century: Under Construction

The article considers Buddhism in modern Mongolia in the context of the world of Tibetan Buddhism. The peculiarity of Buddhism in modern Mongolia lies in the simultaneous coexistence of different models and interpretations of Buddhism. The “socialist” model is the result of the transformations during the period of the People’s Republic of Mongolia: Buddhism is seen as a part of the cultural and national heritage, and the Hambo-lama is recognized as head of the Sangha.

Buddhist Revival and Buddhist Community Construction in Contemporary Buryatia

The current development of Buddhism in Buryatia is often characterized by the term “revival”. The leadership of Buriat Buddhists, Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheev and his circle, played the central role in the ideological construction of this revived tradition. The activities of the “Buddhist Traditional Sangha of Russia” (BTSR) are not limited to the religious sphere and cover a variety of aspects of the socio-political and economic life of Buryatia. BTSR is often opposed by other Buddhist organizations and groups.