Online ultra-orthodox religious communities as a third space: A netnographic study

Sarit Okun, Galit Nimrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research applies a netnographic approach to explore the extent to which online communities function as a third space that supports a networked religion. Five months of observation at a leading online ultra-Orthodox Jewish forum revealed four chief characteristics: religious-secular discussion-the forum served as a platform for religious discourse as well as a sphere for discussing a wide range of subjects unrelated to religion; identity game-members constantly played two types of identity games: personal and group; intense activity-the forum was characterized by rather intense activity patterns; and a unique religious expressiveness-this was reflected in textual and visual representations and exhibited in online debates. Findings indicate that the forum offers its members a third space of digital religion that is hybrid in any possible sense and reinforces a lively networked religion. While it aims at enabling serious discussion of religious matters, it also serves members as a social sphere in which they can communicate about extrareligious issues; express their personalities, skills and opinions; and even play with their anonymous peers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2825-2841
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Judaism
  • Netnography
  • Networked religion
  • Online communities
  • Spirituality
  • Third space

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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