This week in class we are looking at understandings of religious authority within digital culture. We discussed Bruce Lincoln’s approach to authority, which he defines as an “effect of a posited, perceived or institutionally ascribed asymmetry between speaker and audience that permits certain speakers to command not just the attention but the confidence, respect, and trust of their audience,- or an important proviso- to make audiences act as if this were so.” (Lincoln, 1994, p. 4) This draws us to look at how religious authority is created through distinctive relationships between religious leaders and community members. This authoritative relationship is based on the leader’s ability to cultivate and maintain trust and respect with their congregation or community, which provides them with a platform for influence.
In this week’s blog you are being asked to reflect on how your collection of memes speaks to issues of religious authority. In other words you are being asked to consider how the specific religious issues/actors/community you are studying are presented and in what ways religious authority are being undermined or affirmed through your sample.
Please respond to the following questions;
In light of Aguilar et.al’s work describe in detail which Internet meme GENRES AND religion FRAMES are evidenced in your sample?
What specific religious issues/actors/community are being undermined or affirmed? What does this tell us about how the authority of this religious group is being interpreted? (Provide concrete evidence to support these claims)
How might aspects of religious authority discussed in this week’s readings and in the class lecture, inform the way someone would read your collection religious internet memes or understand the influence their messages may have within digital culture?