Theoretical and methodological discussions concerning the habitus of anticipated attraction in online dating

Tobias KAMELSKI (Presenter)

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


The behaviour, motivations, and rationalizations of Tinder users to participate in online dating constitute popular research objects in disciplines like media science, psychology, and sociology alike. A vast majority of the existing studies concentrate on reception analyses and the reconstructions of motives (the why), while the actual practices of self-presentation in modern, picture-based online dating (the how) remain widely neglected. As such, there is a significant research gap concerning Tinder as a discursive space in which Tinder users anticipate attraction through performative image practices and thus perpetually reproduce themselves as subjects in and of cultural orders of knowledge. By introducing the theoretical concept of the "habitus of anticipated attraction", this article provides theoretical conceptualizations of (to-)Tinder as a form of asynchronous impression management, digital discursive space, and conjunctive sphere of experience. Based on the praxeological sociology of knowledge and the documentary method by Karl Mannheim and Ralf Bohnsack, this paper further introduces an interpretative (abductive), mixed-method research design that combines the interpretation of profile pictures and semi-structured interviews to reconstruct the habitus that structures the image practices of anticipated attraction on Tinder. In this context, the paper further discusses the ethical requirements that such a research design demands concerning the sampling, usage, and presentation of data.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2022
EventHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference: Health and Wellbeing in (Post-) Pandemic Times - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
Duration: 3 Dec 20223 Dec 2022
Conference number: 23


ConferenceHong Kong Sociological Association 23rd Annual Conference
CityHong Kong
OtherAs an unprecedented public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has become the focal concern of sociologists around the world. Globally, there have been over six hundred million confirmed cases, including over six million of deaths. Over the past few years, we have experienced the tremendous impacts brought by the pandemic on various domains of life. Apart from infected and death cases, we have seen a surge of mental health issues, suicides, domestic violence, as well as plummeting economic growth and escalating unemployment and poverty rates. Whether to embrace the “new normal” by easing public health and social distancing measures is a contentious issue as much among world leaders as ordinary citizens. From a sociological perspective, most impacts brought by the pandemic are believed to be structural and long lasting. As not everyone has equal access to vaccines, personal protective equipment, healthcare and other resources, health and social inequalities are expected to be worsening. There are also concerns about the lack of affordable childcare and technological equipment for attending online classes during pandemic times, which would have lingering effects on education, digital, and social inequalities across generations.

Against this background, this conference aims to address the pressing issues of health and wellbeing in pandemic and post-pandemic times from a sociological perspective. It provides a platform for scholars, students, and other stakeholders to discuss the implications of the pandemic for health and social inequalities among other issues. On that basis, participants will explore practical and policy responses to enhance health and wellbeing in the (post-)pandemic condition.
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