Mobile Lovers: Affordances, Spaces and Narrativization among Dating App Users in Berlin
Dating apps offer, or impose, depending on their context of use, a series of affordances. As a platform or medium, they open up or constrain certain social actions and practices. These affordances, and the technological devices they rely upon, exist through the relation between users and their environment. Technologies are socialised and integrated into the everyday lives of research participants. As an ethnographic enquiry into 20-33-year-old dating app users in Berlin, the thesis seeks to explore the interplay between affordances, spaces and narrativization in the practices and rituals permeating Berlin’s dating culture.
Berlin has a particular brand, or reputation, often characterised as a place where “anything goes” and one which continuously reinvents itself. In many ways it is the ideal space for dating culture to flourish, with over half the population classified as single. Engaging with research participants against the canvas of this imagined environment, the thesis identifies how dating apps form a tool in the experiential narrativization of users’ romantic lives in the city, as well as highlighting ways in which users navigate an environment of affordances across various dating platforms and city spaces.