Kisser T. The Russian Germans: religion online
T. Kisser - Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences St. Petersburg, Russian Federation ORCID: 0000-0001-9246-2787
ABSTRACT. The article deals with the influence of the Internet on the world religions and the new virtual forms of religious practices (cyber-religion). The subject of this article relates to the basic needs category, however, it requires a particularly delicate treatment, since it involves a religion, which throughout its entire history developed its own specific norms and canons, and today has to adapt to the new rules of web-communication. Cyber religion has become particularly attractive during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the subsequent worldwide isolation. One of its effects was the final victory of the digital culture over the analogue version. The global public religious life moved to the television and radio broadcasts, and, most of all, to the Internet platforms. To get a closer look at the impact of the pandemic on cyber-religion, we will focus on the ethnic community of the Russian Germans the members of which mostly belong to the three main denominations of Christianity — Protestantism (Lutheran church), Catholicism and, to a lesser extent, Russian Orthodoxy. The authors have been monitoring the Russian Germans’ Lutheran and Catholic communities by means of the “online involved observation” technique and the participation in the WhatsApp groups for a six months period. Additional sources for the study were the web-interviews of the religious communities’ leaders, the church members, the subscribers of social networks, WhatsАpp and Telegram messengers. The study of the Russian Germans has demonstrated a growth of religious activity in online media. The people unable to attend the real-life church services shifted their attention to the online services. In addition, there was a surge of online requests for prayer as a consequence of restrictions limiting the opportunities to pray in church. The traditional religious holidays also suffered a transformation under the effect of the circumstances and acquired new online forms. It is quite possible that the practice of online holidays will be maintained in future, and the cyber religion will become even more popular.
УДК 0 04.9:39
KEYWORDS: cyber-religion, virtual religiosity, online service, pandemic, Lutherans, Catholics, Russian Germans
- Brasher B. Give Me That Online Religion. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2001. 208 p. (In English).
- Cheong P. H., Poon J. P., Huang Sh., Casas I. The Internet Highway and Religious Communities: Mapping and Contesting Spaces in Religion-Online. The Information Society, 2009, no. 25:5, pp. 291–302. (In English).
- Dawson L. L. Researching Religion in Cyberspace: Issues and Strategies. Religion on the Internet: Prospects and Promises. Amsterdam, London, New York: Elsevier Science, 2000, pp. 25–54. (In English).
- Dawson Lorne L. The mediation of religious experience in cyberspace. Religion and cyberspace. New York: Routledge, 2005, pp. 15–34. (In English).
- Giddens A. Modernity and Self-Identity. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1991. 256 p. (In English).
- Golovnev A. V., Belorussova S. Yu., Kisser T. S. [Web ethnography and cyber-ethnicity]. Ural’skij istoricheskij vestnik [Ural historical journal], 2018, no. 1 (58), pp. 100–108. (In Russian).
- Grishaeva E. I., Shumkova V. A. [Self-presentation of Orthodox communities on the Vkontakte social network. Theoretical foundations of the research]. Sociologiya religii v obshchestve pozdnego moderna [Sociology of religion in the society of late modernity], 2019, vol. 8, pp. 35–40. (In Russian).
- Grishaeva E. I., Busygin A. G. [Internet in an Orthodox parish: peculiarities of interaction]. Nauchnyj rezul’tat. Sociologiya i upravlenie [Scientific result. Sociology and management], 2020, no. 1 (6). Рp. 3–15. (In Russian).
- Minchenko T. P. [Freedom of conscience and new technologies in the post-secular world]. Izvestiya Tomskogo politekhnicheskogo universiteta [Bulletin of the Tomsk Polytechnic University], 2012, vol. 321, no. 6, pp. 147–151. (In Russian).
- Prytina D. A. [Cyber religion: problems of interpretation]. Religiovedenie [Religious Studies], 2008, no. 4, рр. 104–117. (In Russian).
- Prytina D. A. [The problem of interpreting cyber religion: foreign experience]. Kiber-religiya: nauka kak faktor religioznyh transformacij [Cyber religion: science as a factor in religious transformations]. Blagoveshchensk, 2012, pp. 69–89. (In Russian).
- Helland Ch. Online Religion as Lived Religion. Methodological Issues in the Study of Religious Participation on the Internet. Online — Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet Volume 01.1: Special Issue on Theory and Methodology, 2005, pp. 16–26. (In English).
- Helland Ch. Surfing for Salvation. Religion, 2002, no. 32, pp. 293–303. (In English).
- Højsgaard Morten T. On the cutting edge between the virtual and the real. Religion and cyberspace. New York: Routledge, 2005, pp. 50–62. (In English).
- Holeton R. Composing Cyberspace: Identity, Community, and Knowledge in the Electronic Age. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998. 450 p. (In English).
- Karaflogka A. Religious Discourse and Cyberspace. Religion, 2002, no. 32, pp. 279–291. (In English).
- Lövheim M. Intersecting Identities: Young People, Religion, and Interaction on the Internet: PhD. Thesis. Uppsala: Uppsala University, Department of Theology, 2004a. (In English).
- Lövheim M. Young People, Religious Identity, and the Internet. Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet. New York: Routledge, 2004b, pp. 59–74. (In English).
- McGillion C. Web of Disbelief: Religion Has Staked a Big Claim in Cyberspace, but Has It Done a Faustian deal? Sydney Morning Herald, 23 December. Retrieved from the World Religion News Service, 22 December 2000. (In English).
- Slevin J. The Internet and Society. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000. 266 p. (In English).
- Turkle S. Life on the Screen. Identity in the Age of the Internet. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. 347 p. (In English).