In recent years, social media has emerged as a powerful tool for religious communities to foster connections, exchange beliefs, and challenge established hierarchical structures. This study delves into the transformative impact of religious networks on social media, unraveling their potential to challenge conventional top-down authority structures within the Iskenderpasha congregation in Turkey. By adopting the Network Society theory proposed by Castells, the study investigates the phenomenon of horizontal flows among lay members through in-depth interviews conducted with two distinct groups of congregants, aged between 18-30 and 40-65. Through qualitative analysis of the interviews, the paper uncovers how younger congregants, aged 18-30, actively utilize online platforms to engage in dialogue, share interpretations, and challenge traditional dogmas. In contrast, the older group, aged 40-65, demonstrates more mixed responses, indicating a generational divide in embracing digital religiosity. Understanding the dynamics of religious networks on social media sheds light on the changing nature of religious authority and its implications for contemporary religious communities. As such, this research contributes to the broader discourse on the role of social media in reshaping religious practices and community dynamics within the Iskenderpasha congregation in Turkey.
PresentersNisa Nur Celiktas
Student, Global Media and Digital Cultures, SOAS, University of London, Northumberland, United Kingdom
Islam, Social Media, Congregation, Online Platforms, Religious Authority
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