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Discursive Legitimation of a Controversial Technology: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Women in Israel and the Internet

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The introduction of the internet to ultra-Orthodox Jewish society has presented an acute dilemma. While seen as a potential carrier of secular values and officially banned, the internet also presents significant socio-economic opportunities for a community in which women are often the sole providers. This research focuses on the discursive strategies ultra-Orthodox women internet users employ to legitimate their use of this controversial technology. A glaring disparity was observed between these women's actual, subversive technology-related practices and the rhetorical construction of the same practices, which attempted to portray them as congruent with community values. We suggest that when investigating the domestication of new technologies, examining technology-related discourse may be no less important than the more common to date focus on practice.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania,

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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