Culture, Technology and Religion in Society SophiaEuropa
Centre for Social and Family Research, Department of Applied Arts
Waterford Institute of Technology
From a broad and multidisciplinary perspective, this group starts with the hypothesis that technology has transformed the culture of communication, meaning, and specifically time and space themselves. The core group meets once per month for member presentations and roundtable discussion and takes part in a joint symposium with other thematically focused SophiaEuropa groups. Maintaining that the speed and diversity of digital communication has in effect constructed a world based on virtual reality, rather than real community, leaders of the group argue that technology has paradoxically succeeded in distancing people rather than connecting them. The group will address the issue of advanced and accessible technology, the replacement of the connectedness with one of individualism, and the attending speed of computer-mediated communication as a major component in the erosion of the authority and impact of education, media and religion on the individual. Conversely, they will endeavor to identify those aspects of technology that offer opportunity to connect, support, and give new meaning to religion, society and community. The group will reflect on questions such as how time and space have changed through technological advancements; how lives are becoming less communal and more isolated; how concepts of sin and confession have been affected through the use of the Internet; how migration and the importation faith is changing the culture of Irish society and how technology may connect and create a community of understanding and religious respect; and how (impersonal) technology (such as text messaging and email contact) can create a supportive, healing and forgiving container. Research and deliberations will be promoted through local, regional, national, and international links with community and industrial interests, other interested SophiaEuropa members and research academies. Waterford Institute of Technology provides matching funds.