Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflecting on the Implications of Constructing Religious Identity Online

This week  (March 19-23) we scheduled to explore issues related to how religious identity is perceived and performed online. This week's chapter by Mia Lovheim discusses identity in how it relates to the processes by which individuals develops the ability to grasp meaning about the situations of everyday life and their relationship to those events. The chapter also discussed how perceptions regarding how identity is constitute have changed over time from identity being seeing as an in-born or static construct to something we are socialized into to the post-modern notion of identity being fluid and fragmented.When discussing how identity is perceived and enacted online it is important to carefully consider a number of issues including how issues of anonymity and disembodiment online can lead to both opportunities for deception as well as increased freedom of experimentation with the presentation of one's identity. Lovheim also discusses how the nature of online participatory culture creates new complexities for identifying and living out the "authentic self" on the Internet.

After reading this chapter you will note that  two core questions are raised by the author:

- Does digital media strengthen or weaken individual's ability to construct or perform their religious identity?

-Does one's online religious identity have to be connected to a specific offline religious tradition or group to be seen as truly "authentic"?

For this week's blogging you should select one of these question to respond to in their blogs and reflect on a concrete example on religious engagement online (as demonstrated in a specific online forum, website or  discussion platform) to help illustrated your argument and supports your claims.

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