chapter  1
Why study religion off campus?
Pages 13

This chapter demonstrates that networked, online, virtual and cyber media help us to understand religion as an 'everyday' activity in the modern world, an activity which critiques notions of sacred and profane, religious action and everyday action. One important issue to be clear about at the start is the scholarly conversation regarding 'religion online' and 'online religion'. One significant source of information for many students is Wikipedia, the world's largest online encyclopaedia. An oft-demonised website, Wikipedia is the community-edited project founded by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. It now boasts over 30 million entries in nearly 290 languages, of which around 2 per cent, or 600,000 articles, are written on religion and religions. Participating in fieldwork without the field may be a relatively new approach to studying religious communities, but we would do well to remember that many of the ethical issues surrounding traditional fieldwork also apply to this new methodology.