Original Research - Special Collection: Yolanda Dreyer Festschrift

Tweeting dignity: A practical theological reflection on Twitter’s normative function

Jan Albert Van den Berg
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 4 | a4626 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i4.4626 | © 2017 Jan Albert Van den Berg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2017 | Published: 10 August 2017

About the author(s)

Jan Albert Van den Berg, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, South Africa


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Abstract

Social media makes an important contribution to a rapidly changing world in which various domains of meaning are described anew. The evolving nature and dynamic character of social media therefore provides for a rich praxis terrain with which to interact from a practical theological orientation. More specifically associated with the theme of this contribution, the social media sphere also provides an excellent space not only to rethink but also to reenact expressions of dignity in society. The research is facilitated from a practical theological orientation, with particular focus on a normative dimension as embodied in aspects of dignity. Through the use of an interdisciplinary approach and methodology, some contours of dignity specifically associated with South African politics as well as the so-called Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015 in Paris expressed on the social media platform, Twitter, are described and discussed. From this empirical analysis, description and discussion, a practical theological reflection is offered in which aspects of dignity associated with a normativity function are described. Some practical theological perspectives contributing to future relevant tweeting on dignity are also formulated and provided in conclusion.

Keywords

Social media; practical theology; dignity speech; interdisciplinary; politics; Twitter; normativity; empirical research

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