Critics have faulted Grindr and similar "hookup apps" for commodifying social relations; instead of treating potential partners as "human beings," Grindr users are thought to treat each other as objects to be consumed and disposed of at whim. In other words, what ought to be a community or collective of users is instead a market. In this paper, I draw from the so-called "antisocial thesis" in queer theory to critique this valuing of communal and collective relations. I propose that the market-like relations established through apps like Grindr may in fact be politically desirable insofar as they thwart the desire to know, speak for, and act in the interest of others – a tendency that may appear altruistic but has annihilative ends. I also consider the implications of these market-like relations on the establishment and maintenance of identity.
Hookup Apps, Social Relations, Communities, Markets, Identity, Mediation, Queer Theory
Technologies in Knowledge Sharing
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Associate Professor, Sociology, Wesleyan University, United States