Shirdi Sai Baba Online : devotion in cyberspace.

Williams, David (2012) Shirdi Sai Baba Online : devotion in cyberspace. Masters thesis, University of Wales, Trinity St David.

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Abstract

Summary This brief study brings together two previously unrelated academic discourses in the field of the study of religion. Firstly, the scholarly work on Shirdi Sai Baba – an enigmatic, holy figure whose popularity has grown significantly throughout the twentieth century. The second discourse is that which examines the intersection between religion and the internet; studying if, how, and why this new global medium is used by religious believers, especially Hindus. Through a survey of online websites, utilizing a phenomenological approach to describe and interpret the content of these websites with a particular emphasis on where devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba communicate and express their devotion (bhakti) through the internet, a range of activity is explored. Alongside traditional websites, the use of social networking, online forums, collaborative blogs, websites devoted to online ritual, multimedia and live video feeds, are all examined. The study reveals that many of the significant aspects of religious life online discussed in the academic literature are clearly present in the Shirdi Sai Baba websites too – yet the previous typologies and categories formulated by those scholars are not wholly adequate to account for the diversity (and increasing interactivity) of how religion is expressed and experienced in cyberspace in the Shirdi Sai Baba movement. There are also novel uses of the internet for religious practice and as a medium to share information that have not featured in previous studies. There is evidence of both the continuation of ‘old media’ (such as images) online and also intriguing adaptations of existing practices that allow them to flourish in cyberspace. Yet there is also considerable caution about the perceived popularity of religion on the internet and the reality of how limited access to this new technology is for most Shirdi Sai Baba devotees.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Series: Carmarthen / Lampeter Dissertations;10412/283.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sri Sai Baba, 1836-1918, Religion and the internet, Religions, India
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 17:46
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2016 16:06
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/432

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