Turkish liminal sexualities: A case study of social transformations beyond the ‘real’ and the ‘virtual’

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Islamic sexuality
Online sexuality
Online sexual discourse

This thesis examines the formation of a social liminal metacognitive layer of sexuality situated between the ‘real’ of the physical world and the ‘virtual’ within cyber and internet culture of the Republic of Turkey. The case study focuses on the dimensions of sexuality defined as the interaction between sexuality and (1) Islam as a socio-cultural system; (2) online technologies - specifically the Internet – as a mediating environment of liberated sexual discourse; and (3) private practices of sexual acts. I argue that the internet as a communication medium has stimulated the development of a liminal layer of sexual representation that differs significantly from sexuality articulated in socio-cultural domain of physical reality within Turkey. This case study utilizes critical discourse analysis as a qualitative interpretative method to investigate sexual narratives shared on Turkish sexual confession cyberspaces. It focuses on the differences in representational patterns of sexuality. The analysis provides evidence for the existence of emerging liminal social understandings of sexuality. Sexuality as a socio-cultural form represented within Muslim Turkey is a phenomenon not yet well understood, and therefore demands further investigation. Previous research in this field has focused mainly on sexuality as articulated in physical social environments. In contrast, this study examines Islamic sexuality from a perspective of ‘medium specificity’, offering new insight into this field.

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Thecla Schiphorst
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.