Stempfhuber, Martin & Michael Liegl. (2016). Intimacy mobilized: Hook-up practices in the location-based social network Grindr. Österreichische Zeitschrift Für Soziologie, 41(1), 51-70.
Stempfhuber and Liegel examine Grindr practices as a renegotiation of the sociology of intimacies, seeing Grindr practices as remediating, instead of alienating, intimacy: further, they articulate the uses of Grindr as augmented space, wayfinding, place making/writing, and mapping.
Keywords: Grindr, human geography, mapping, mobility, place, sociology, space, technology
“It seems as though the sociology of intimacy is lagging behind technological advances which have long instantiated new regimes of mobility and have instigated a process of renegotiation of what it means to ‘be with’ someone else or be co-present. Taking issue with the humanistic, body-centric, and romanticist notion that intimacy becomes alienated when technologically mediated—something which is still lingering in the sociology of intimacy—we suggest that it is time to ask how the (im)mobilities (Büscher and Urry 2009) of ‘hook-up’ practices are being reconfigured by a ubiquitous use of mobile digital media” (p. 52).
“The very use of the plural in the designation of a sociology of mobilities, on the other hand, points to the mobility of the category of mobility itself; it is also a metaphor for the contested identity of categories that are touched by it. The study of mobilities, then, is concerned both with physical mobility and informational mobility” (p. 53).
“Mobile apps such as Grindr even have the engagement with one’s physical surroundings explicitly at their core. By identifying addressable interlocutors in physical proximity, such apps help to mediate the interaction constraints of urban public space, but in thus populating the vicinity they also serve as a place-making (or place-writing) device. Grindr uses location information as a resource for hooking up, but location, as we will see, can shift from a resource to the topic of the practice” (p. 57)