Anderson Jon W.
Muslim Networks, Muslim Selves in Cyberspace: Islam in the Post-Modern Public Sphere
This paper examines how Muslim presences have emerged on the Internet and the role of religion - specifically, Islam - in this sphere. The paper looks beyond demographic expansion to its more social characteristics. Three stages or phases of this emergence may be identified: much as technological adepts were followed by officializing strategies, those in turn have been overtaken and surpassed in using the Internet by activist but distinctly moderate Islam, for which the Internet seems peculiarly congenial. This suggests a more complex dynamic than expanding the public sphere by the addition of new voices and new media, or relocating boundaries between the public and the private. Instead, the emerging public sphere is being shaped by a dialectic of network and identity processes advanced by information technologies like the Internet that feature the capacities of moderate professional sectors, which both produce and consume Islam on the Internet.