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Fatwas Online: New Patterns of Production and Consumption

Marcotte, Roxanne D. 2016.

Political Islam: Global Media and the Boundaries of Religious Identity,sous la dir. de Noha Mellor et Khalil Rinnawi, p. 231-245. Londres : Routledge.

Online religious authority remains a broad and still rather undefined concept. Yet, it remains an important characteristic of quite a few religious practices online. Needless to say, it has to contend with both the challenges the Internet poses, as an empowerment tool, to traditional authoritative religious figures or hierarchies, and the possibilities it paradoxically offers for the reinforcement or consolidation of control mechanisms and structures of religious authority. For some, the Internet fosters greater individualization, even leads to greater neglect of religious obligations, or worse, to a loss of religious belief, through what some view as a process of de-legitimation of religious authority. For others, however, new media opens up possibilities for the increased visibility of ‘new reformation’ discourses proposed by a number of contemporary Muslim intellectuals. For others, new communication technologies, local, national and transnational networks, globalization, and transnationalism accentuate ongoing processes of pluralization of religious authority, and the enduring politics of religious knowledge. Only a few studies have looked into the shifts or displacement of religious authority that occur in these novel digital environments.