What kind of gender differences can be found in online communication? To what extent do these gender patterns confirm gender stereotypes? Do we need to get rid of a binary gender approach? And how can we operationalize non-binary approaches? These are the type of questions we deal with in the course. We explore and reflect on findings with respect to language and gender and link them to research into online communication and its prototypical characteristics.
Apart from that we also pay attention to age patterns (with a focus on adolescence) and the impact of social networks. Obviously, identity construction is an inevitable topic too.
The study of relevant literature (provided during the course) leads to a personal case study, that is monitored in the classes. Students are free to select a specific topic of their choice for their case study and to select a specific medium for their analyses (Twitter, Facebook (Messenger), WhatsApp, Instagram…). Finally, both verbal and non-verbal markers (emoji, GIF’s… and their socio-pragmatic meanings) can be object of study.