(Trans)national queers online

An Analysis of LGBTQ Websites in Poland and Turkey

October 2010 - February 2015

 

Media, Policy & Culture

Department of Communication Studies

University of Antwerp

PhD JURY

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

The internet has generally been recognized as a particularly advantageous medium for LGBTQs, that is, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans* people and/or queers. However, as I explain in this doctoral dissertation, LGBTQ internet studies remain dominated by US scholars working on US cases who tend to ignore or take for granted the contexts of their research, which results in the exaggeration of the role of the internet as ‘the’ medium of globalization in general, and LGBTQ globalization in particular. By contrast, in this research project I aim to provide a closer and more nuanced look at the intersections of LGBTQ sexualities, internet communication, the nation and nationalism. In the most general terms, I investigate what is left of the supposedly discarded nation and nationalism on the internet. Following Michael Billig’s (1995) concept of banal nationalism, I am primarily interested in the subtle, often unnoticed and taken-for-granted (re)productions of both individual nations and the world as a world of nations. The arguments put forward in this doctoral dissertation are based on a qualitative analysis of about 30 relatively popular LGBTQ websites in Poland and Turkey. I examine the websites’ homepages, hyperlinks and domain names to investigate how web content and web-specific technologies are put into work to (re)produce or challenge (particular) national discourses online. I additionally support my arguments with the analysis of user-generated content and e-mail interviews with the authors of LGBTQ websites. Taken together, the case studies presented here demonstrate that the nation and nationalism still do matter online. Even if nations are not always explicitly referred to or accentuated and the framework of the world as a world of nations is not always clearly apparent, my research shows that individual nations and the world as a world of nations continue to be (re)produced on LGBTQ websites in a more banal way. More broadly, I argue against the conceptualizations of the internet as borderless and deterritorialized and ‘the global gay’ (Altman 2001) as homogenous and Westernized.

SEE ALSO my dissertation featured on the Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism Blog.

 

CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

    The Personal in the Academic

    Beyond the Personal

    The Insoluble Dilemma of Terminology

    Structure of the Dissertation

 

PART 1: THEORETICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK

 

1. LGBTQ MEDIA AND INTERNET STUDIES

    1.1 LGBTQ Media Studies

    1.2 LGBTQ Internet Studies

    1.3 The Geography of LGBTQ Internet Studies

 

2. LGBTQ SEXUALITIES AND (TRANS)NATIONALISM

    2.1 LGBTQ Sexualities and Nationalism

    2.2 LGBTQ Sexualities and Transnationalism

    2.3 (Trans)national LGBTQs and the Internet

 

3. METHODOLOGY

    3.1 Research Aim and Approach

    3.2 Methodological Nationalism and National Webs

    3.3 Sampling of Websites

    3.4 Description of Sample Websites

    3.5 Methods of Analysis

    3.6 Ethical Considerations

 

PART 2: EMPIRICAL CASE STUDIES

 

4. LGBTQ SEXUALITIES AND THE NATION IN POLAND AND TURKEY

 

5. FROM QUEER TO GAY TO QUEER.PL: THE NAMES WE DARE TO SPEAK  IN POLAND

    5.1 Introduction

    5.2 (Which) Language Matters

    5.3 The Names We Speak in Poland

    5.4 From Innastrona.pl to Queer.pl

    5.5 Offensive Connotations of Names

    5.6 Online and Offline (In)visibility

    5.7 Conclusion

 

6. DOMESTICATING THE NATION ONLINE: BANAL NATIONALISM ON LGBTQ WEBSITES IN POLAND AND TURKEY

    6.1 Introduction

    6.2 Queer Sexualities and the Nation

    6.3 Queer Sexualities and the Nation in Poland and Turkey

    6.4 Methods

    6.5 Mediation of Nationhood on LGBTQ Websites

    6.6 Coupling Queer Symbolism with National Symbolism

    6.7 Domesticating the Nation Online

    6.8 Conclusion

 

7. THE HYPERLINKED IDENTITIES OF LGBTQ WEBSITES: TOWARDS A QUALITATIVE HYPERLINK ANALYSIS

    7.1 Introduction

    7.2 Queers and the Functions of Hyperlinks

    7.3 Websites Sampling and Description

    7.4 Qualitative Hyperlink Analysis

    7.5 Lone Websites and Network Nodes

    7.6 The National and Post-national Identities of Websites

    7.7 Conclusion

 

8. BANAL NATIONALISM AND QUEERS ONLINE: ENFORCING AND RESISTING CULTURAL MEANINGS OF .TR

    8.1 Introduction

    8.2 Nation Building and National Identity in Turkey

    8.3 Queers and Turkish National Identity Online

    8.4 Domain Name System and Country-Code Top-Level Domains

    8.5 Methods

    8.6 Enforcing Cultural Meanings of .tr

    8.7 Resisting Cultural Meanings of .tr

    8.8. Conclusion

 

CONCLUSION

    Nations Matter

    Research Contributions

    Research Limitations

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© 2013 by Lukasz Szulc

Masthead: Photo of Stanisław Dróżdż's piece 'Między' (1977), taken by Lukasz Szulc in MOCAK