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Networked Holiness: New Media Entrepreneurship of Catholic Monastic Communities

Project description

How religions respond to online proselytisation

New forms of proselytisation emerged in South America and Africa over the past 30 years. New monastic communities of religious media managers (MCMMs) of different faiths have become significant factors in the global religious market and in established institutions, such as the Catholic Church. The EU-funded NHNME project will study the emergence of online video for proselytisation goals and the rising role of MCMMs in organised religious institutions. It will investigate how religious institutions shape the users’ world views and renegotiate authority worldwide. NHNME will focus on the online activities of Brazilian Catholic community Canção Nova using an innovative method that combines semiotic analysis of video with web content review and workplace ethnography.


In answer to the secularization and Islamization of Europe, traditionally perceived as the main stronghold of Christianity, Pentecostal and Charismatic groups from South America and Africa are today planning the re-evangelization of the “old continent”. Indeed, in the last three decades these regions have served as hubs for the development of new forms of proselytization based on new media and smart technologies. Leveraging new media expertise, new monastic communities of religious media managers (hereafter MCMMs) have become actors of primary importance in both established institutions, such as the Catholic Church, and the global religious market at large. The overall aim of the proposed research is to advance my career through the completion of the present research project, which examines the rise of the use of online video for proselytization purposes and the emergent role of MCMMs in organized religious institutions. From online sermons to ISIS beheadings, online video-sharing platforms are today a central arena in which MCMMs of different faiths compete for users' attention and attempt to disseminate their religious creeds. This raises the question: how do established religious institutions act to shape users' worldviews and renegotiate authority on a global level via online video-mediated communication? To investigate the ways that religious institutions construct users' experience and negotiate its meanings on new media platforms, the study focuses on the Canção Nova's online activities. Drawing upon the legacies of both Semiotics and Sociology of Religion, this study proposes an innovative socio-semiotic approach which combines semiotic analysis of video with web content analysis and workplace ethnography. This analytical method has been designed to enable the description of the new ways in which religious imagery is strategically constructed and disseminated through the Internet.


Net EU contribution
€ 270 327,36
CB2 1TN Cambridge
United Kingdom

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East of England East Anglia Cambridgeshire CC
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 270 327,36

Partners (1)