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Introduction: Religious Authority: Ascribing Meaning to a Theoretical Term

In: Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture
Authors:
Kerstin Radde-Antweiler University of Bremen, radde@uni-bremen.de

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and
Hannah Grünenthal University of Bremen, gruenenthal@uni-bremen.de

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Critical voices in the press argue that with digital media religious authority is weakened or endangered. Moreover, not only the press, but also academic researchers are convinced that the way the construction of religious authority is changing is crucial because it is the base and the backbone of religious organizations and their structures and function. However, there is by no means consensus on the definition of the term authority. Not only religious actors, but researchers as well ascribe different meanings to academic terms such as authority. Therefore, we have to ask critically what actually authority is. In other words, what meaning is ascribed to the concept or term author by the different researchers in their respective disciplines? Based on these reflections, the aim of this report is to analyze how the term authority is 'filled' with meaning in the academic discourse.

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