Materiality, Authority, and Digital Religion: The Case of a Neo-Pagan Forum
Keywords:digital culture, digital religion, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, authority, materiality, media, Internet
The study of material culture increasingly pays attention to digital religion, but there are certain aspects, such as religious authority, that remain under-researched. Some questions are still open for inquiry: What can a material approach contribute to the understanding of religious authority in digital venues? How can authority be materially displayed on the Internet? This article shows how religious authority is affected by material practices connected with digital media use through the qualitative analysis of a Neo-Pagan forum, The Celtic Connection. Neo-Pagans tend to hold a non-traditional notion of authority, accord great importance to material practices, and extensively use the Internet. The analysis of the forum suggests that Neo-Pagans use digital venues to look for informal sources of authority and strategies to embed materiality in online narratives. The article claims that it is important to develop new frameworks to analyze non-traditional authority figures and new definitions of media that include both physical objects and communication technologies.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Giulia Evolvi
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