In light of the exponential growth of data in the global Internet of Things, this chapter provides an overview of datafication and advances three key points related to the development of big data and religion, with implications for religious storytelling and journalism. First, although data has recently surfaced as a prominent term and asset, the impulses to archive, categorize and assess based on data has historical parallels. Historical examples of religious datafication provide striking illustrations of its functionalist operations and power dynamics. Second, new technologies have facilitated new forms of datafication, constituted by innovative practices in varied contexts. Beyond abstract visions of a datafied society, it is significant to examine how data related to religion is being produced, shared and archived on local and global scales. Third, religious datafication is complex, requiring attention to interpretation and context of digital corpora as data processing algorithms are relational and contingent. This chapter proposes that in spite of its celestial affiliations, religious data is not pure. The emerging contours of bigger data sets and flows contribute insights into the dialectics of digital religion, as they intertwine with emergent tensions in the contested areas of religious identity, authority and community.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)