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Indonesian Religion as a Hybrid Media Space: Social Dramas in a Contested Realm

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image of Asiascape: Digital Asia

The popularity of social media in Indonesia, along with the rise of political Islam, is changing the ways in which people engage with religious matters in the country. In this article, we deploy post-Bourdieuan field theory to explore Indonesia’s religious domain as a ‘hybrid media space’ – a social space mediated by old and new media agents interacting to produce viralized forms of public communication. We undertake this exploration through three viral controversies, or ‘social dramas’, triggered by a perceived breach of the religious space’s order. All three dramas involved political Islamists in contention with various political actors, namely the Muslim senator Fahira Fahmi, the West Sumatran atheist Alexander Aan, and the then governor of Jakarta, ‘Ahok’. These examples shed light on the current state of Indonesia’s religious space and its multiple mediations, as well as taking field theory into new communicative and religious terrain.

Affiliations: 1: School of Media and CommunicationRMIT UniversityAustralia ; 2: Indonesian Consortium for Religious StudiesUniversitas Gadjah MadaIndonesia


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