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Title: On-and-offline community spaces : Brighton's lesbian and gay internet
Author: Bassett, Elizabeth H.
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis presents research into the development and deployment of web sites and email facilities by members ofthe Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Brighton, UK. It contributes to an understanding of localised and specific Internet use, asking in what ways Internet technologies are impacting community practices. The scope of the research is restricted to this localised study in order to facilitate an understanding of the relationships between actions and artefacts made in online spaces, and their counterparts in offline, localised space. An approach is taken that gives equal weighting to the analysis of social practices and structures in the offline LGBT community and to the nascent online practices. The thesis proposes four interconnected hypotheses relating to patterns of Internet usage and the relationship these bear to existing communication practices. Findings are presented from four studies. These approach the field of study from different vantage points, combining quantitative and qualitative data. The studies are linked through common considerations of three key aspects of LGBT community life: the notion of community; deployments of space; and identity politics. The research finds the LGBT community under study structured by complex interpersonal identifications and group hierarchies. Particular spaces in the city offer possibilities for actions that counter hegemonic norms. The Internet is conjectured as another possible site of resistance and an entry point to the community. Four studies present an overview of the community's Internet use, exploring the content of a selection of web sites, and the construction of a website by a social group. The majority of non-commercial, LGBT community websites in Brighton are found to be underused, and at risk of becoming unrepresentative of the extent of LGBT culture in the city. The level of Internet use by members of the LGBT community in Brighton is. however, high, with users seeking information and social contact via nationally based websites and through email.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available