Mapping location-aware mobile dating practices in Sydney – 17 May

Photo of person holding phone

Please join us for this visiting scholar seminar on Friday 17 May at 2.00pm at QUT Kelvin Grove.

Love knows no bounds…except for postcodes and sexual racism: Mapping location-aware mobile dating practices in Sydney

Race matters within contemporary dating and partner seeking, where inequalities of intimacy are now entangled with Smartphone dating applications (apps) such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr. In theory, digitally-mediated dating promises possibilities for reconfiguring intimacies. In practice, what social encounters are being realised, and what boundaries between people remain and are reinforced?

To visualise mobile dating practices and mobilities across the city, dating app users were asked to indicate where they had been on dates, and where they would and would not use dating apps, on a map of metropolitan Sydney. The maps, and accompanying interviews, reveal how dating apps enable racism, sexism and class discrimination, and become entwined in long standing spatial inequalities within Sydney. The design of dating apps (including their simplistic, hypervisual and gamified user interfaces) interacts with widespread partner seeking discourses of having sexual ‘preferences’, and clouds the prevalence of sexual racism (and associated socio-economic discrimination) within society.

Jenna Condie is a Lecturer in Digital Research and Online Social Analysis at Western Sydney University. With psychology as a base, she researches cyber-urban living and what people and places are becoming with new technologies. At Western, Jenna co-leads Travel in the Digital Age (TinDA), an interdisciplinary group of researchers focused on travel, transport, technology, mobile lives and equitable mobilities. In 2018, Jenna co-edited ‘Doing Research In and On the Digital: Research Methods Across Fields of Inquiry’ (Routledge) and has published on new materialist and scholar-activist approaches to researching with responsibility.

All are welcome to this free event but registration is essential at the Eventbrite site.