“No Geek Girls”: Boundary-Work and Gendered Identity in the Israeli Geek Community

Hadas Gur-Ze'ev, Neta Kligler-Vilenchik


Boundary-work theory describes the discursive efforts of groups to limit access to membership and collective symbolic capital. In this article, we explore the gendered nature of boundary-work within an online community of Geeks—a subcultural identity that has been culturally and historically constructed as male dominated. Employing in-depth interviews and qualitative content analysis of posts on the Israeli Facebook group The Geekery, we examine how different voices negotiate the Geek identity. We identify 3 distinct spaces of struggle within which these negotiations occur: the group’s collective identity, the self-identity of members, and the group’s identifying of “others.” In each space, we find a similar struggle between voices protecting the male-hegemonic identity and voices attempting to challenge the status quo. By identifying the emancipatory potential of boundary-work, the research thus contributes to a wider understanding of the relationship between digital technologies and gendered power relations.


participatory culture, fan communities, boundary-work, geeks, gender

Full Text: