Liam Michael O’Hare

Thesis title:

Doing identity with desire: Japanese men’s masculinities on a men-only dating app.


Liam’s project examines how Japanese men construct their identities in the text of their profiles on a popular dating app for men. This online data, combined with linguistic interviews conducted with app users, allows an exploration of how broader sociocultural discourses influence the construction of online identities.
In digital spaces, it has been shown that many men wish to appear sexually appealing to other men while also rejecting identity categories typically associated with same-sex attraction (Birnholtz et al. 2014; Blackwell et al. 2015, Ward 2007, 2008; VanderStouwe 2017 ). Liam is interested in how this tension between (often negative) conceptions of non-normative gender and sexual identities on the societal level in Japan are negotiated by individuals, and linking this to previous work in Japanese sociolinguistics (Abe, 2006; Maree, 2008; McGloin 1990 for examples). This is achieved by combining qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse identity construction in discourse, and through the manipulation of specific Japanese linguistics resources such as strategic choice of register, script, and discourse marking among others.

First supervisor:

Erez Levon 


7 – Linguistics, Media & Culture