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Religion, popular culture and social media: the construction of a religious leader image on Facebook

Artigo - Internet e Religião
Ioana Alexandra Coman, Mihai Coman

Abstract

Despite the emergence of religions on Internet and the importance of social media, research dedicated to religious leaders’ construction of symbolic image on social media, is hard to find. Starting from the 2013 Applebee’s social media crisis, which was triggered by a pastor, the present study investigates the frames and themes Facebook users employed in order to give meaning to the crisis, attribute responsibility, and more importantly, define the role of a religious leader in daily life. This study shows the existence on social media of an active religious literate public, a public clearly troubled in their religious faith and convictions by the nonChristian behavior of the pastor. This shows that in a post-secular society the religious imaginary is not only a “canopy” inherited and kept because of convenience, but a cultural frame of signification the real and a vector of dialogue in a (online) micro and macro public sphere.

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