Kategorie: 'authority2011'

by Anne-Kathrin Gaida

At the workshop ‘Religious Authority between 0 and 1: Power and Authority in the Times of the Internet’ with Pauline Hope Cheong, Stef Aupers and Bettina Gräfin in Groningen, I was able to get some insights into reflections related to the concept of ‘authority’ which seem to be very interesting for the project I am currently working on, as it is about a group that seems to be constantly struggling with ‘authority’, ‘legitimacy’ and the boundaries and limitations of it. The group names itself OCG (Organische Christus Generation – ‘Organic Christ Generation’(loosely translated)) and is a religious community from Switzerland. In public discourse, this group is often placed within a debate about ‘sects’, both, from the media and from institutionalised religious experts, such as the relinfo.ch, a so-called ‘informational service’ of the evangelic church in Switzerland.

Central to this community is the person Ivo Sasek, the founder of the OCG, and his family. Ivo Sasek sees the world as a kind of holistic organism in which every human being has to fulfil his or her role to make the whole organism work. Centre of this global organism is God in the person of Jesus Christ. Basic principle of the OCG is the acceptance of God as the leader of mankind and to subordinate oneself completely to his will.

Artikel komplett lesen…

by Nils De Jong

According to Peter Knight, lecturer in American Studies at the University of Manchester, we live in a world which becomes increasingly determined by feelings of paranoia and suspicion. These paranoid feelings form a good breeding ground for theories of mass conspiracies, secret societies and malevolent evildoers that can be blamed for all the wrongs in the world. ‘Trust no one’ and ‘everything is connected’ are just a few slogans that fit the basic ideas of the vast amount of conspiracy theories and the people that research them and propagate them, mainly on the Internet.

Quantitatively speaking, the amount of websites dealing with conspiracy theories and related subjects is enormous. For the purpose of overview of conspiracy theories and related subjects (such as religion and spirituality, which seems in some branches of conspiracy culture inevitably intertwined with ‘secular’ conspiracy theories) my own master thesis research focuses on David Icke and his online community. David Icke can be considered as one of the biggest ‘conspiracy guru’s’ in Europe. According to Michael Barkun, Icke cleverly knows how to make a convincing mixture of conspiracy theories and New Age sentiments, which can be read in his book The Biggest Secret, in which he explores his theory of extraterrestrial beings from another dimension who are the ultimate rulers of the earth, and who prevent humans from spiritual growth. By doing this, Icke appeals to both New Age groups as well as conspiracy culture, but also radical right winged groups, environmentalists and Christian fundamentalists, each who have their own standpoints towards conspiracy theories but nevertheless join hands against the ‘evil forces’ in the world. Interestingly, his ‘online community’ is even more diverse, and Icke doesn’t seem to be the biggest authority there (within the forums he has only one subforum dedicated to him and his latest book). Of course, he is mentioned as an authority sometimes, but usually when conspiracy theories and related subjects are discussed authority seems to come from somewhere else. One of these authorities that can define a certain outcome are the sources to which the participants are pointing. In what follows, I would like to briefly discuss the relationship between authority and sources within conspiracy culture.

Artikel komplett lesen…

by Willemijn Wilgenhof

In the current debates in the Western media about ‘Islamic terrorism’, ‘Islamic fundamentalism’ and Islamism in general, the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the groups who is often portrait in a very unfair way. The Muslim Brotherhood is presented as extremist, radical, violent, hostile to the West, planning a world jihad, connected to al-Qaeda, and that are just a few examples. Aware of this unfair representation, sympathizers of the Brotherhood decided to create the website www.ikhwanophobia.com, to show the Western world who Muslim Brotherhood ‘really’ is.

In the United States, Muslims are often portrayed in a very stereotypical way. Take for example this political advertisement of Dan Fanelli for the U.S. elections of 2010 (which is an extreme example of ‘pro-racial-profiling’, as commented on the ikhwanophobia website):

In the advertisement, we see ‘a Middle Eastern-looking man playing a “terrorist.” In one scene, the actor is literally wearing a towel on his head and has a faux-bomb strapped to his body.’[1]

Artikel komplett lesen…