Religious-Social Shaping of Technology Approach to Internet Use by an Urban Islamic Group in Indonesia

Bintan Humeira, Billy Sarwono


The perspective of religious groups about the internet in general can be arranged into two dichotomous categories, first, religious groups see the internet as something that must be rejected because it is identical with modernity that tends to be secular; second, is the opposite, that internet technology can be accepted by religious groups to support their various religious goals. Through the Religious-Social Shaping of Technology approach, this article observes that religious groups use and negotiate with technology for their religious purposes. This study applies a qualitative approach with in-depth interviews with administrators and members of religious groups. Based on the use of the internet by the Majelis Rasulullah, an urban Islamic group in Indonesia, this article discovers that the principles and values of group beliefs, as well as the group's goals and discourse about the internet influence the group's decision to accept the internet as part of group activities. In addition, this article also shows that internet use by religious groups has succeeded in changing group communication between group leaders and members from predominantly one-way and very limited into an interactive one. In addition, through internet use, the group has succeeded in building an online transaction system, showing that religious groups are no longer merely a religious discussion forum, but also a business entity. This article significantly enriches the study of internet use by religious groups in the Indonesian context.


Keywords: Technology, Internet, religious, group, religious-social shaping of technology.

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