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Accepted Paper: Media Practices and Representations of Catholic Parishes in Italy  


Marco Rondonotti (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milano))
Elisa Farinacci (University of Bologna)
Pier Cesare Rivoltella (Università Cattolica del S. Cuore)
Eleonora Mazzotti

Paper short abstract:

The paper aims to shed light on the digital practices implemented by pastoral operators in the Italian context. The data collected reveal that technologies and digital media are perceived and used predominantly as tools to strengthen community ties and implement pastoral intervention at local level.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years, the Italian Church has increasingly shown interest for digital media (72nd General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference CEI, Rome 2018). In the attempt to address the need to implement their role and use in pastoral work, the italian Church has been trying to develop some guidelines to share with local parishes often encountering resistance and diffidence within the communities. Against this backdrop, a group of scholars* working for the Research Center in Media Education, Innovation and Technology (CREMIT) of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of MIlan analyzed the media practices of 1000 pastoral operators active in local parishes. In addition to the quantitative data collected, the team conducted an ethnographic investigation, which allows to identify five community typologies (waterproof, neophyte, empowered, festive and connected). These five typologies allow to profile the ways in which the communities interact with digital media: from those who interpreted them either as tools, environments or relationship activators for the members of the same parish. The emerging panorama reveals that media are not used so much in the implementation of the Church's missionary work, but as institutional tools of communication and organization of everyday life in the pursuit of strengthening the community's identity and boundaries.

*The research project was developed by Marco Rondonotti and implemented in collaboration with Alessandra Carenzio, Elisa Farinacci, Eleonora Mazzotti and Pier Cesare Rivoltella.

Panel P064
Ethnography of Sacred Communities: Shifting Horizons of Online Religiosity