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A Space set Apart?: Young People Exploring the Sacred on the Internet
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology. religionssociologi.
2005 (English)In: Implications of the Sacred in (Post)Modern Media, Nordicom, Göteborg , 2005, 274- p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Can the Internet function as a new kind of ‘transitional space’ for individuals seeking to construct meaning in an increasingly complex late modern society? In this chapter I have discussed whether some key features that underpin such anticipations in previous research can be applied to a popular Swedish web community “the Site”. The features that I chose to focus on were the Internet site as a space set apart from conditions that structure ‘normal’ life for young people in terms of restrictions of time and rules given by for example school and religious institutions in their local community. I also focused on how the ambiguity of social interaction in online interaction would open up new possibilities to destabilize and rethink social positions and conventions in “normal” life. The findings of my study show that we need a more critical and nuanced discussion of the anticipation that online interaction, due to its differences in cues for presenting and interpreting identity, can become a space for envisioning and perhaps enacting things in ways that challenge understandings of the sacred as mediated by conventional religious narratives. An Internet site, in order to function as a sacred space where young people can explore issues of ultimate meaning, must include possibilities to ‘restructure’ identities and ideas encountered in life outside the Internet, but also to ‘reintegrate’ the complexities and ambiguities of this life, in a structure of meaning and relevance to the individual. We need to study different kinds of Internet sites, and we also need to specify further what aspects of the online context that can contribute to establish an Internet site as such a space. Also, this chapter shows that we may benefit from approaching these experiences not only as set apart from ‘normal’ time and rules, but also as integrated in the everyday life of different groups of people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nordicom, Göteborg , 2005. 274- p.
National Category
Religious Studies Media and Communications Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-19596ISBN: 91-89471-34-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-19596DiVA: diva2:47368
Available from: 2006-11-30 Created: 2006-11-30

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