Gay men, gaydar and the commodification of difference

LIGHT, Ben, FLETCHER, Gordon and ADAM, Alison (2008). Gay men, gaydar and the commodification of difference. Information Technology and People, 21 (3), 300-314.

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Link to published version:: 10.1108/09593840810896046

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate information communications technologies (ICT)-mediated inclusion and exclusion in terms of sexuality through a study of a commercial social networking web site for gay men.

Design/methodology/approach – The paper uses an approach based on technological inscription and the commodification of difference to study Gaydar, a commercial social networking site.

Findings – Through the activities, events and interactions offered by Gaydar, the study identifies a series of contrasting identity constructions and market segmentations that are constructed through the cyclic commodification of difference. These are fuelled by a particular series of meanings attached to gay male sexualities which serve to keep gay men positioned as a niche market.

Research limitations/implications – The research centres on the study of one, albeit widely used, web site with a very specific set of purposes. The study offers a model for future research on sexuality and ICTs.

Originality/value – This study places sexuality centre stage in an ICT-mediated environment and provides insights into the contemporary phenomenon of social networking. As a sexualised object, Gaydar presents a semiosis of politicised messages that question heteronormativity while simultaneously contributing to the definition of an increasingly globalised, commercialised and monolithic form of gay male sexuality defined against ICT.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Identification Number: 10.1108/09593840810896046
Depositing User: Rachel Finch
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2012 17:21
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2012 17:21
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6238

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