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Gay men, Gaydar and the commodification of difference

Light, B, Fletcher, G and Adam, AE 2008, 'Gay men, Gaydar and the commodification of difference' , Information Technology and People, 21 (3) , pp. 300-314.

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    Abstract

    Purpose To investigate ICT mediated inclusion and exclusion in terms of sexuality through a study of a commercial social networking website 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, we identify a series of contrasting identity constructions and market segmentations which 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, website 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 sexualized object, Gaydar presents a semiosis of politicized messages that question heteronormativity while simultaneously contributing to the definition of an increasingly globalized, commercialized and monolithic form of gay male sexuality defined against ICT.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Sexuality; Homosexuals; Men; Social networks; Internet
    Themes: Subjects / Themes > H Social Sciences
    Subjects / Themes > T Technology
    Subjects outside of the University Themes
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Business & Law > Salford Business School > Centre for Digital Business
    Journal or Publication Title: Information Technology and People
    Publisher: Emerald
    Refereed: Yes
    ISSN: 0959-3845
    Funders: Non funded research
    Depositing User: Gordon Fletcher
    Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2009 16:22
    Last Modified: 15 Jan 2014 15:15
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    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/2254

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