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Navigating online selves: social, cultural, and material contexts of social media use by diasporic gay men

Dhoest, Alexander and Szulc, Lukasz (2016) Navigating online selves: social, cultural, and material contexts of social media use by diasporic gay men. Social Media + Society, 2 (4). ISSN 2056-3051

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Identification Number: 10.1177/2056305116672485


Social media not only create new opportunities but also pose new challenges for the ways people navigate their online selves. As noted by boyd, social media are characterized by unique dynamics such as collapsed contexts, implying that one’s distinct offline social worlds meet online. This creates particular challenges for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, at least those who find it crucial to maintain distinct contexts in which they disclose or conceal their gender and/or sexual selves. However, the existing scholarship on social media use by LGBTQs is predominantly anchored in English-language Western contexts and tends to lose sight of the cultural specificities of Internet use. Therefore, in this article, we build on the scholarship to further investigate the role of context for disclosing or concealing gender and/or sexual selves online. More specifically, we ask, “How do social, cultural, and material contexts affect the ways LGBTQs navigate their selves on social media?” To investigate this question, we analyze in-depth face-to-face interviews with gay men who themselves, or whose parents, migrated to Belgium. Because their migration background forces them to negotiate different social, cultural, and material contexts, our focus on diasporic gay men helps to bring out the issue of context in social media use.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors © CC BY-NC 3.0
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2018 11:46
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:26

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