Gay men, Gaydar and the commodification of difference

Light, Ben, Fletcher, Gordon, & Adam, Alison (2008) Gay men, Gaydar and the commodification of difference. Information Technology & People, 21(3), pp. 300-314.

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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

Impact and interest:

24 citations in Scopus
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Full-text downloads:

365 since deposited on 22 Jul 2013
80 in the past twelve months

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ID Code: 61488
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Sexuality, Homosexuals, Men, Social networks, Internet
DOI: 10.1108/09593840810896046
ISSN: 0959-3845
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > CULTURAL STUDIES (200200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright Statement: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here ( Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2013 00:05
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2014 23:58

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