Rendezvous Via Skype?
Investigating Virtually Mediated Long-Distance Relationships in Modern Times Using Skype As an Example
Understanding Skype as constituted social space (Simmel), certain structural conditions, can be defined that shape the love communication between two actors in a distinct way. In order to investigate the structural characteristics as well as the specific designing requirements of Skype, and the role the medium takes in the stabilization and communication of love, the presentation will draw upon findings from five qualitative interviews. Through a phenomenological approach the medium Skype and the through it negotiated love-experiences by the actors will be reconstructed, demonstrating that the practice of skyping functions as a stabilizing ritual (Turner/Illlouz), which requires and constitutes specific “requirements of elasticity” in order to establish proximity over distance.
Before this background, Illouz theory of increasing commodiciation and rationalization of love relations (especially through the internet) can be (re-)discussed. Thus, this presentation not only contributes to a sociological conceptualization of virtual media, but also a sociology of space, culture, love and social inequeality (including gender).