Cyber Behavior and Religious Practice on the Internet

Cyber Behavior and Religious Practice on the Internet

Heidi Campbell (Texas A&M University, USA) and Louise Connelly (University of Edinburgh, Scotland)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0315-8.ch037
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Cyber behavior and religious practices on the Internet have grown in popularity and acceptability over the past decade. Consequently, a number of religious traditions and individuals frequently use the Internet, while also negotiating between the offline and online world. The study of religious use of the Internet is contextualized within a number of phases and trends, which emerged as early as the 1980s and came to prominence in the 1990s with the study of religious rituals and behaviors online. Over the last fifteen years, the examination of religion online has moved from descriptive analysis toward more in-depth questioning as well as addressing some of the methodological challenges of studying religion online. The future direction and next phase in the study of religious cyber behavior includes targeting a number of areas yet to be analyzed thoroughly and in doing so, providing a more holistic understanding of cyber religious behavior.
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1. The Study Of Religion And The Internet

The academic study of religion on the internet has become an interdisciplinary endeavor, including scholars from the fields of religious studies, cultural studies, sociology, psychology, media studies and others. In the last ten years, there has been an increase in the number of researchers focusing attention on how the internet is being utilized for spiritual and religious practice. This focus and interdisciplinary approach is reflected in a growing scholarly discussion. Since 2000, three prominent collections have been published, indicating an increase in the potential implications and significance of religion on the internet.

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