Gender, Religion and New Media: Attitudes and Behaviors Related to the Internet Among Ultra-Orthodox Women Employed in Computerized Environments

Rivka Neriya-Ben Shahar, Azi Lev-On


We analyze patterns of rejection and adoption of new technology in a closed and conservative community through the study of ultra-Orthodox Jewish women working in computerized environments, and their perceptions and uses of the Internet. These women stand in the intersection between orthodoxy and modernity. Their workplaces are populated by ultra-Orthodox women and adjusted for their needs, but the companies that employ them are (mostly) owned by seculars, they work with computers, and (occasionally) the workplaces even have Internet access.

We study if and how the conceptions of new technologies among women in a conservative community serve to demarcate, construct and reassure the borders of the community. The research questions are: How do these ultra-Orthodox women perceive the place of the Internet within their community and personal lives? With whom do they create online ties? And are there correlations between socioeconomic and sociodemographic variables and women's perceptions of the place and functioning of the Internet in the ultra-Orthodox community and their lives?

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