Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Judaism and the Internet

This next week we will be looking at Judaism and the internet by specifically looking at a study by Barzilai-Nahon & Barzilai. Cultured Technology: Internet and Religious Fundamentalism explores UltraOrthodox use and response to the internet. Within Judaism their has been much discussion about the use and effect of the internet, such as Is the internet kosher? and How does it effect religious culture? What does this article have to say about how the UO have responded to this new technology? What is the basis or support for their response?

Some Jewish groups have responded to the concerns about the secular nature of the internet by forbidding its use, while other have cultured the technology to create safe online spaces such as Jgog search engine which uses a filtering mechanism so some "unorthodox" words or searches to be blocked or re-defined or Kosher net which "provides the ideal, rabbinically endorsed, internet experience for ... anyone who wants or needs control over exposure to undesirable content during the internet experience". What does this teach us about religious culturing of new media?


Cindy said...

The second part of this article examines the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community through the four dimensions of hierarchy, patriarchy, discipline, and seclusion already explained. The spiritual authorities prohibited the use of the Internet (except where needed for work), but then realized the significant number of Jews who use it. The spiritual authorities have since modified the Jewish law to incorporate many exceptions for using the Internet for educational and economical purposes. Although the Orthodox web sites insist that they do not contribute to the patriarchal side of the religion, studies show that a significantly low percentage of women use the Internet when they would be the ones using it for education and work while the men are studying the Halacha. Since the Internet is seen as a distraction, religious authorities have determined to have tight supervision over the users, allowing the Internet to globalize their economy while permitting them to retain their culture.

bradyLARKINwright said...

“Cultured Technology: The Internet and Religious Fundamentalism” focuses on defining the four dimensions of tension: hierarchy, patriarchy, discipline, and seclusion. Fundamentalist cultures embrace the idea of “divine authority” and allow these elites to rule over their communities, using priori and posteriori censorship (restricting availability or taking action after a violation). The dimension of patriarchy brings up the issue of women’s’ role in these societies. Many women use the Internet as a medium to encourage others, or find support for themselves. In contrast, other women use it as a form of escape from the fundamentalist lifestyle. Discipline involves the preservation of the structure and originality of the religious texts, interpreted by the elites of the hierarchy. Seclusion is merely the belief that outside influences could taint the communities. Karine Barzilai-Nahon and Gad Barzilai discuss how religious fundamentalist communities usually resist modernity, specifically the Internet, but begin to adapt the Internet to fit into their own culture over time until it is acceptable in their culture using these four dimensions.