Digital divine : technology use by Indian spiritual sects

Meena, Azhagu and Bhatia, Varuni and Pal, Joyojeet (2020) Digital divine : technology use by Indian spiritual sects. In: ICTD2020: Information and Communication Technologies and Development, June, 2020, Guayaquil.

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Spirituality-based organizations in India, centered around a set of beliefs and practices, with a charismatic guru figure at their head, have embraced the information age enthusiastically, and have come to the fore as key players in the national narrative around social welfare and development in recent years. We conducted a qualitative study of four Hinduism-oriented Spirituality-based Organizations (SBOs) in India using interviews, on-site observations, and in-depth examination of their online outreach material to understand the ways in which technology impacts and advances their core functions. We examine five core ways which technology plays a critical role in these SBO - community-building, dissemination of core practices, self-fashioning, philanthropic outreach, and organizational growth – all of which inform these organizations’ influence in society beyond the confines of their adherents. We find that all these functions are enabled in different ways by digital technologies, which have organizational value in and of themselves, but also play an equally important role in helping extend these organizations’ public image as modern, innovative organizations aligned with broader aspirations of national development and social welfare.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors: Meena, Azhagu and Bhatia, Varuni and Pal, Joyojeet
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spirituality, India, SocialMedia, Technology, ICTD
Subjects: Computer science, information & general works
Azim Premji Foundation Structure > Azim Premji University > Computer science, information & general works
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Arts and Sciences
Full Text Status: Public
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