Is the mediatization of the Orthodoxy possible?
Keywords:mediatization of religion, Russian Orthodoxy 2.0, Orthodox media communications, mediatization theories, mediatization of monasticism
With the total mediatization coming to all spheres of modern societies, social scientists are faced with an uneasy task to revise the existing theories and approaches. For domestic and foreign sociology of religion this means that the old secularization paradigm should undergo extensive revision. Institutionalized media dimension of traditional religions poorly fits within rigid boundaries of secularization theories considering any innovations in the religious system as its deconsecration or hollowing-out. Mediatized worlds of traditional religions which ease their access to public social spaces can hardly be placed in this environment. This can be illustrated by an incident with Hieromonk Fotiy which went completely unnoticed in 2015 (Hieromonk Fotiy won the Golos (Voice) TV Show and started touring). The Russian Orthodoxy in the Web 2.0 era with various forms of church mass media, media holdings, websites of Moscow Patriarchate and synodal departments, parishes and churches, Orthodox search engine, Vkontakte, Facebook, Instagram profiles of priests and monks, Orthodox radio and satellite channels broadcasting, Youtube vlogging and documentaries equally dwells beyond sociological reflection. Meanwhile, certain correlations of offline and online dimensions of the modern Orthodoxy construct new identities, communities, models of national patriotism, procedures for censorship and control over the Russian media and online communities. The article aims to analyze mediatization of the Russian Orthodoxy being part of its long-term reinstitutionalization. The author uses mediatization concepts proposed by Friedrich Krotz, Andreas Hepp and Nick Couldry. These theories help to examine the existing Orthodox media worlds and the Hieromonk Fotiy case as markers of certain stages in the Russian Orthodoxy reinstitutionalization.
Acknowledgments. The study was financed by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project no. 19-011-00871 “Social media as a factor of transformation of the modern Russian Orthodoxy”).