Much speculation was raised in the 1990s, during the first decade of internet research, about the extent to which online platforms and digital culture might challenge traditional understandings of authority, especially in religious contexts. Digital Creatives and the Rethinking of Religious Authority explores the ways in which religiously-inspired digital media experts and influencers online challenge established religious leaders and those who seek to maintain institutional structures in a world where online and offline religious spaces are increasingly intertwined. In the twenty-first century, the question of how digital culture may be reshaping notions of whom or what constitutes authority is incredibly important. Questions asked include:
- Who truly holds religious power and influence in an age of digital media? Is it recognized religious leaders and institutions? Or religious digital innovators? Or digital media users?
- What sources, processes and/or structures can and should be considered authoritative online, and offline?
- Who or what is really in control of religious technological innovation?
This book reflects on how digital media simultaneously challenges and empowers new and traditional forms of religious authority. It is a gripping read for those with an interest in communication, culture studies, media studies, religion/religious studies, sociology of religion, computer-mediated communication, and internet/digital culture studies.
Heidi A. Campbell is a professor at the Department of Communication and an affiliate faculty in the Religious Studies Interdisciplinary Program at Texas A & M University, USA.
Chapter 1: Investigating Approaches to the Study of Authority
Chapter 2: Defining Religious Digital Creatives
Chapter 3: Christian Digital Creatives Performance of Authority: Media Making Narratives and a Technological Apologetic
Chapter 4: Digital Entrepreneurs: Internet Empowering Visionary Technology Influencers
Chapter 5: Digital Spokesperson: The Rise of Institutional Identity Curators
Chapter 6: Digital Strategists: Acting as Missional Media Negotiators
Chapter 7: How Christian Digital Creatives Understand and Perform Authority
Chapter 8: How Christian Digital Creatives Enact a Technological Apologetic
Conclusion: Rethinking Authority Through the Work of Religious Digital Creatives