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Facebook as a Site for Inter-religious Encounters: A Case Study from Finland

TitleFacebook as a Site for Inter-religious Encounters: A Case Study from Finland
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsIllman, R, Sjö, S
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion

The aim of this article is to analyse the social networking site Facebook as a possible platform for inter-religious dialogue. Building on a case study—an attack on a Buddhist temple in Turku, Finland, and the consequent interaction that took place online immediately following the attack—the article investigates the strengths and limitations of social networking sites such as Facebook for encountering and connecting with religious others. The ethnographic material—consisting of both Internet material and interviews with concerned parties—is discussed in close connection with current research on religion, social media, and discussions online. Themes that are highlighted include stereotypes and superficiality as assumed aspects of online conversations, the role of power in dialogue—both offline and online, and symbolic communicative actions and social networking sites.