The write match: women's rhetorosociality in online dating Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Morgan, Stephanie Shawn
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • In writing studies, when we discuss sexuality in digital environments, we often focus on less-than-conventional arenas such as sex chat environments, pornography sites, or role-playing platforms. These studies often point out how users harness digital rhetoric to transcend their off-line experiences. In contrast, this study, through content analysis and qualitative research guided by actor-network-theory, this dissertation explores women's experience with online dating and demonstrates the interconnectedness of the biosocial and technosocial realms to posit a rhetorosocial realm that acts on human and nonhuman components of a network, and is acted on in turn. In Chapter 1, Researching, I discuss the qualitative methods I used to gather intelligence on how the women who participated in my study used online dating and outline my central concern with the interaction between the rhetorosocial, technosocial and biosocial realms . In Chapter 2, Representing, I explore how the technosociality of the online dating site eHarmony polices user experiences by enforcing rhetorosocial constraints that privilege scientific expertise and romantic master narratives to convert single people into stabilized married couples; I also explore how users resist this policing. Chapter 3, Reading, discusses how users' off-line rhetorosocial expectations and desires are modified and enacted in the technosociality of online dating, with implications for how we understand material expressions of class and sexuality in biosociality. In Chapter 4, Writing, I mine users' self-representations through online dating profiles to demonstrate the operation of rhetorosocial constructions of sexual embodiment and gendered power in technosociality. In Chapter 5, Reflecting, I return to actor-network-theory to frame the rhetorosocial as a factish, real in its fabrication. In the coda, Responding, I transcribe a group discussion amongst women who use online dating so they may speak back to my conclusions.
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  • ... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
  • Anderson, Daniel
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  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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