The Hogwarts Running Club and Sense of Community: A Netnography of a Virtual Community

Robin Lizzo, T. Liechty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leisure-based communities often provide spaces to develop sense of community among members. With the rapid advances in technology virtual communities are on the rise, yet research on virtual communities from a leisure perspective is limited. This study utilized Netnography to explore the meanings participants in a leisure-based virtual community attribute to their experiences of community. The Hogwarts Running Club, a Facebook-based virtual community, served as the study setting. Member posts were collected on pre-selected days over the course of six months. The dataset was open coded and then the coding framework was compared to the four core factors of Sense of Community Theory. The findings fit well within the four-factor model. Participants described a sense of belonging and connection to the community through social support, shared experiences (both positive and negative), discussing the Harry Potter books and films which provided shared symbols and terminology, and being “part of something bigger.”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-976
Number of pages18
JournalLeisure Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2022


  • Digital leisure
  • Netnography
  • leisure-based communities
  • social networks
  • virtual community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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