Abstract - The Information Society 25(5)

The Internet Highway and Religious Communities: Mapping and Contesting Spaces in Religion-Online

Pauline Hope Cheong, Jessie P.H. Poon, Shirlena Huang, and Irene Casas

We examine ‘religion-online’, an underrepresented area of research in new media, communication, and geography, with a multi-level study of the online representation and (re)-presentation of Protestant Christian organizations in Singapore, which has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the world and also believers affiliated with all the major world religions. We first critically discuss and empirically examine how online technologies are employed for religious community building in novel and diverse ways. Then we investigate the role religious leaders play through their mental representations of the spatial practices and scales through which their religious communities are imagined and practiced online. We show how churches use the multimodality of the Internet to assemble multiple forms of visible data and maps to extend geographic sensibilities of sacred space and create new social practices of communication.


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