Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

Light and dark: geosocial cruising and Korean-Confucian relationality  
Matthew McGuire (Cambridge)

Paper short abstract:

I explore how Korean men understand geosocial applications as a space of all-consuming social connection and exposure, and compare their experiences online to their interaction in the socially invisible world of saunas, arguing that geosociality reintegrates men into everyday Korean relationality.

Paper long abstract:

In digital anthropology generally, and in studies of geosociality specifically, scholars are starting to (re)question the relationship between the offline and online. The structures and marketing principles of applications like Grindr suggest their purpose is to easily convert conversations with an expanded body of strangers into 'real world' sexual encounters. Rightly, scholars have suggested that this 'transformation' relies heavily on factors such as race, age, physique and the visibility of 'face pics', where the suggestion is that the materiality of bodies defines success in a competitive ecosystem of ideal types.

I argue that for many Korean men geosocial applications are more material and exposing than physical spaces used for cruising and casual sex. Geosocial spaces are not a space away from the problems of exposure, but enter men into a world of unfettered and all-consuming social connection. Saunas and 'sleeping rooms' provide places that are marginal to Korean-Confucian relational ethics, in their status as dark and socially invisible worlds that can be easily compartmentalised from both identity and the flow of everyday life. By contrast, geosociality is a cause for anxiety because it asks for commitment to visibility in a new kind of public, one where the physicality of the body needs to be proven and securing sex requires both emotional labour and a sacrifice of anonymity. I explore how Korean men responded to this imposing 'lightness' in trying to recreate the world of the sauna online, failing often in their intentions.

Panel P135
Public and private redrawn: geosocial sex and the offline [ENQA]
  Session 1