Religion, Media, and Joint Commitment
Jehovah’s Witnesses as a ‘Plural Subject’
Drawing on the example of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in this contribution I will explore the role of media in the production of religious commitment. I will argue that, while providing important insights into the relationship between media interpretation and media use, the popular concept of ‘religious-social shaping of technology’ (Campbell) risks producing an excessively uniform picture of an interpretive community. To outline a more dynamic conception of religious communities, I will introduce a theoretical framework derived from the emerging philosophical fields of collective intentionality and social ontology. In particular, I will draw on the philosopher Margaret Gilbert’s work on ‘joint intentions’ and sketch a frame for the analysis of Jehovah’s Witnesses, in their relationship with media and the Watch Tower Society, as parties in a ‘plural subject’.