Tap and go (meet) – Examining identity construction in queer partner-seeking virtual environments within Johannesburg
This dissertation examines gay/queer individuals’ use of Grindr in Johannesburg, South Africa, as a set of practices geared towards self-representation and identity formation on the platform.
The research is concerned with understanding whether these constructed virtual identities conform to, or depart from, the platform’s transnational gay identity, which foregrounds eroticism, self-commodification, (hyper)masculinity and visibility. For the African continent generally, and South Africa in particular, this remains an understudied area of research.
Study into this space is particularly important given the growing reach of internet technologies. Grindr was selected as a site of study on virtual gay/queer culture, given its pervasive reach and its capacity to suggest trends within the community – holding significant consequence for online self-presentation.
The research applies semiotic analysis to user profiles located within the City of Johannesburg, a major metropolitan city in South Africa. Added onto the analysis is user observations drawn from interviews of past and present users of the platform; this was with a view of gaining additional insight into the profile construction process from a user perspective.
- Loughborough University London