New Media and Religion

New Media and Cultural Application on Religion: A Case Study of Prophetic
Ministries in Botswana
 
The proposed study on “New Media and Cultural Application on Religion” in the
context of Botswana is based on three emerging facts: first, Botswana has witnessed a
spectacular growth of prophetic ministries in the past two decades; second, Botswana
is currently experiencing a new media revolution through the emerging use of social
networking platforms and applications of short message services (SMS); third, the
meeting of prophetic ministries and the use of emerging new media raises the
question of cultural production and cultural application on various aspects of the life
of Batswana. While these emerging facts appear closely related, little attention has
been paid to determine how they are actually linked.
 
This study aims at examining how new media play a crucial role in the religious
discourse and innovative approach of emerging prophetic ministries and the extent to
which cultural manifestations of prophetic ministries in Botswana resemble and
rediscover Tswana cultural practices that inform various religious practices within
these ministries. Two central questions will be the focus of this study: first, what roles
do new media play in accelerating religious discourses and innovative approaches
among the emerging prophetic ministries in Botswana? Second, to what extent and in
what ways do the religious practices of prophetic ministries in Botswana resemble and
rediscover prior Tswana cultural and religious practices? How do they provide
attached meanings that govern these ministries’ operation?
 
In order to respond to the above questions, empirical data will be collected through
multiple methods and analyzed in the light of “mediatization,” “social acceleration”
and “habitus” theories of social change. The study fieldwork will employ a site-
methodology which will consist of five related methods: documentary research,
content analysis of websites, Facebook pages and YouTube channels, participant
observation, structured interview and narrative interview.
 
Principal Investigator: Gabriel Faimau, Department of Sociology, University of
Botswana, Private Bag UB 00705, Gaborone, Botswana.
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