Chapter 3 Jehovah Online: Magazines in the New Media Landscape of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Switzerland and Germany

In: Protestant Periodicals in Transition
Author:
Andrea Rota
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Abstract

The Watch Tower Society, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ main legal organization, is among the most important religious publishers worldwide. Its most famous publication, The Watchtower is the most widely circulated magazine of all time, closely followed by the Society’s other flagship magazine, Awake! Since the 1880s, the Watch Tower print publications have been an essential instrument of Jehovah’s Witnesses missionary work, allowing them to spread their message to the seven continents. At the same time, however, they also constitute a cornerstone of the movement’s internal organization. This chapter presents the evolving modes of production, distribution, and fruition of these magazines in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the transition to digital media in the second decade of the twenty-first century, marked by the introduction of a new multimedia webpage and of several applications for smartphones and tablets. Drawing on empirical materials collected in Germany and Switzerland, it discusses how the Watch Tower Society progressively “domesticated” new technologies to fit the organizations’ goals and morals, and how the introduction of such technologies impacted missionary work, the liturgical order of congregation meetings, as well as the individual and collective media habits of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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Protestant Periodicals in Transition

From the Twentieth Century to the Digital Age

Series:  Studies in Periodical Cultures, Volume: 4

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