Informed consent in the field of language and sexuality
The case of online dating research
In order to understand how sexual and romantic relations are established and negotiated in discourse, the field of language and sexuality is dependent upon empirical data from naturally occurring spontaneous interaction. However, detailed discussions of research methods are lacking in the field. In this article, I explore ways of accessing intimate spontaneous data in a heterosexual online dating context. Through interactional analysis of three types of online dating interaction, I examine the multi-faceted context for securing informed consent while at the same time preserving participants’ intimacy. I argue that institutionalized informed consent procedures may undercut participant agency and expose symbolic violence towards their carefully built interactional framework. The analysis demonstrates participants’ ability to negotiate ethical issues and to turn such issues into a contribution to the ongoing flirtatious interaction. As a result, I suggest a method that integrates participants’ interactional expertise in the consent-gaining process.
Keywords: informed consent, participant agency, online dating, ethics, flirtation, intimacy
Published online: 30 March 2015
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Cited by 2 other publications
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