Online religion in a transnational context. Representing and practicing Jainism in diasporic communities

Online religie in een transnationale context. Representatie en beleving van jainisme in diasporagemeenschappen
Start - End 
2015 - 2018 (ongoing)
Department(s) 
Department of Languages and Cultures
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Abstract

This research looks into the role and impact of the Internet in reproducing and adapting religion in transnational contexts, through a case study of a South Asian religious tradition, namely Jainism, and its representations and practice in Jain communities outside India.

We will first explore in what ways the Internet is used to share information about religion and to discuss and develop new philosophical and religious ideas and how it can play a role in religious rituals, for example through websites offering online worship. We will map out the websites and other web-based sources on Jainism, and see how they are structured and connected to each other. For a selection of these websites, we will also address what they proclaim and for whom they are made, as well as analyze how Jainism is represented and/or adapted within them.

Secondly, we will conduct interviews with makers and users of Jain websites, inquiring about online experience, their motivation for participating online, their religious views and so on. What is propagated on the Internet does not necessarily reflect actual use or hold true for Jainism or the diaspora as a whole; e.g. the fact that online offerings are possible, doesn't mean that this practice is common. We need to take into account the motivations of those who build and host these sites, as well as those who make use of them. Combining these approaches we will gain full insight in online Jainism and its workings in the diaspora every day.

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