When Religion Meets New Media
Routledge – 2008 – 222 pages
Series: Media, Religion and Culture
This lively book focuses on how different Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities engage with new media. Rather than simply reject or accept new media, religious communities negotiate complex relationships with these technologies in light of their history and beliefs. Heidi Campbell suggests a method for studying these processes she calls the "religious-social shaping of technology" and students are asked to consider four key areas: religious tradition and history; contemporary community values and priorities; negotiation and innovating technology in light of the community; communal discourses applied to justify use.
A wealth of examples such as the Christian e-vangelism movement, Modern Islamic discourses about computers and the rise of the Jewish kosher cell phone, demonstrate the dominant strategies which emerge for religious media users, as well as the unique motivations that guide specific groups.
'When Religion Meets New Media offers a most valuable contribution to the development of theoretical approaches in the study of religion and media, and will be a key text for future scholarship in the field. This text is strongly recommended for undergraduate, postgraduate and professional researchers interested in the changing forms of religion in contemporary society.' - Tim Hutchings, Umeå University, Sweden
'When Religion Meets New Media provides valuable new insights into thinking about the relationships between religion and new media technologies. Using informative case material, Heidi Campbell demonstrates the complex processes through which religious communities engage with, and justify their use of, new media. The book provides a useful framework for thinking about religious uses of media technologies that can be taken up across a wide range of contexts. Clearly-written, it will be of great value both to students and researchers in media studies and the study of religion.' – Gordon Lynch, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK
'This is an outstanding, highly readable book, a contribution as well as a challenge to the field of media, religion, and cultural studies and how the idea of belief--popular, particular, political--is changed by new media technology.' - Claire Badaracco, Communication Research Trends
Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Understanding Religious Communities Responses to Media 2. Religious Communities and the Internet 3. Considering How Religious Communities Construct Technology 4. History & Tradition: How History and Tradition Shape Religious Communities Approach to New Media 5. Core Values: How Community Values Construct a Basis for Responding to Technology 6. Negotiating with New Media: To Accept, Reject or Reconfigure? 7. Communal Discourse: How Religious Communities Talk about new Media 8. Studying the Religious Culturing of New Media: The Case of the Kosher Cell Phone 9. Conclusion
Heidi Campbell is Assistant Professor of Communication at Texas A&M University where she teaches and researches New Media, Popular Culture and Religion. Her work has appeared in New Media and Society, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Journal of Contemporary Religion and she is the author of Exploring Religious Community Online (Peter Lang, 2005).