Rituals Online – Dynamic Processes Reflecting Individual Perspectives

Nadja Miczek

Abstract

Within the field of the new media, the Internet is recognised by a growing number of researchers both as source and tool for examining and analysing religions and religious activities. Today a wide range of religious rituals is crossing the border from the offline to the online realm. On personal homepages as well as on institutional websites (e.g. churches) one can find classical ritual texts, different descriptions of rituals and a lot of ritual prescripts, which together inform or guide the user in ritual behaviour. It becomes evident that by the change of media the rituals as well as the religions as a whole undergo certain processes of change, adaptation and innovation.
On webpages containing Rituals Online, a wide range of highly complex transfer and design processes take place which affect the planning and accomplishment of religiousness and religious performance on the Internet. Besides tracing the different patterns and structures of these processes, one also has to think about the new theoretical and methodological challenges the researchers in Religious and Ritual Studies are confronted with since the Internet offers a new and nearly boundless field and space for academic study.

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