(Trans)national queers online: An analysis of LGBTQ websites in Poland and Turkey

Date: 23 February 2015

Venue: Promotiezaal van het Klooster van de Grauwzusters - Universiteit Antwerpen, Stadscampus - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 2:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Departement Communicatiewetenschappen, FPSW

PhD candidate: Lukasz Szulc

Principal investigator: Prof. dr. Alexander Dhoest & Prof. dr. Bart Eeckhout

Short description: PhD defense - Lukasz Szulc (Departement Communicatiewetenschappen)


The internet has generally been recognized as a particularly advantageous medium for LGBTQs, that is, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trans* people and/or queers. However, as I explain in this doctoral dissertation, LGBTQ internet studies remain dominated by US scholars working on US cases who tend to ignore or take for granted the contexts of their research, which results in the exaggeration of the role of the internet as ‘the’ medium of globalization in general, and LGBTQ globalization in particular. By contrast, in this research project I aim to provide a closer and more nuanced look at the intersections of LGBTQ sexualities, internet communication, the nation and nationalism. In the most general terms, I investigate what is left of the supposedly discarded nation and nationalism on the internet. Following Michael Billig’s (1995) concept of banal nationalism, I am primarily interested in the subtle, often unnoticed and taken-for-granted (re)productions of both individual nations and the world as a world of nations. The arguments put forward in this doctoral dissertation are based on a qualitative analysis of about 30 relatively popular LGBTQ websites in Poland and Turkey. I examine the websites’ homepages, hyperlinks and domain names to investigate how web content and web-specific technologies are put into work to (re)produce or challenge (particular) national discourses online. I additionally support my arguments with the analysis of user-generated content and e-mail interviews with the authors of LGBTQ websites. Taken together, the case studies presented here demonstrate that the nation and nationalism still do matter online. Even if nations are not always explicitly referred to or accentuated and the framework of the world as a world of nations is not always clearly apparent, my research shows that individual nations and the world as a world of nations continue to be (re)produced on LGBTQ websites in a more banal way. More broadly, I argue against the conceptualizations of the internet as borderless and deterritorialized and ‘the global gay’ (Altman 2001) as homogenous and Westernized.

Registration: please confrim your attendance before 09/02/2015 by sending an e-mail to lukasz.szulc@uantwerpen.be

Contact email: lukasz.szulc@uantwerpen.be