In recent years, media theorists stress macroscopic relations between digital communications and religion, through the framing of mediatization theory. In these discussions, media is conceptualized as a social institution, which influences religious establishments and discourse. Mediatization scholars have emphasized the transmission of meanings and outreach to individuals, and the religious-social shaping of technology. Less attention has been devoted to the mediatization of the religious community and identity. Accordingly, we asked how members of bounded religious communities negotiate and perform their identity via public social media. This study focuses on public performances of the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, rhetorically and symbolically expressed in groups operating over WhatsApp, a mobile instant messaging and social media platform. While a systematic study of instant messaging has yet to be conducted on insular-religious communities, this study draws upon an extensive exploration of over 2000 posts and 20 interviews conducted between 2016–2019. The findings uncover how, through mediatization, members work towards reconstructing the holy community online, yet renegotiate enclave boundaries. The findings illuminate a democratizing impact of mediatization as growing masses of ultra-Orthodox participants are given a voice, restructure power relations and modify fundamentalist proclivities towards this-worldly activity, to influence society beyond the enclave’s online and offline boundaries.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Science in Israel. Nakhi Mishol-Shauli’s work is supported by the President of the State of Israel’s Scholarship for Research Excellence and Innovation.
This work was funded by the Ministry of Science in Israel (Grant Nr: 3-15724) and the President of the State of Israel?s Scholarship for Research Excellence and Innovation, allocated by Israel?s Estates Committee. Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank David Herbert for initiating this important volume and offering insightful suggestions. Further gratitude is expressed to the editorial staff, and to the four anonymous reviewers for their constructive feedback and helpful comments that helped sharpen the paper at hand. The authors would also like to thank Aref Badarne for his assistance in all stages of the manuscript?s preparations. This work was supported by the Ministry of Science in Israel. Nakhi Mishol-Shauli?s work is supported by the President of the State of Israel?s Scholarship for Research Excellence and Innovation.
Funding: This work was funded by the Ministry of Science in Israel (Grant Nr: 3-15724) and the President of the State of Israel’s Scholarship for Research Excellence and Innovation, allocated by Israel’s Estates Committee.
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Digital religion
- Social media
- Social networks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Religious studies