Digital Intimacies and the Construction of Social Capital in a Heteronormative Society: A Study of Dating App Users in Indonesia


  • Ratna Noviani Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
  • Rinta Arina Manasikana Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
  • Debora Dayu Ajeng Anggrahita Universitas Gadjah Mada



Dating Apps, Digital Intimacies, Heteronormativity, Homosexual User, Social Capital



 Dating apps are digital platforms that mediate meaningful relationships and facilitate digital intimacies. This study examines the construction of social capital by dating app users in Indonesia. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s and Robert D. Putnam’s concepts of social capital as well as the virtual ethnography method, this study focuses on how heterosexual and homosexual users of dating apps in heteronormative Indonesia manage to build digital intimacies and accumulate social capital. This study shows that dating app users in Indonesia assemble social capital through networked individualism and automated connectivity. The results demonstrate that dating app users exploit digital intimacies as resources to expand their networks, which enables them to gain certain benefits. Additionally, homosexual users build digital intimacies to gain a sense of acceptance and belonging in digital space. They show more efforts towards being inclusive and active in accumulating and exchanging social capital than their heterosexual counterparts.

Author Biographies

Ratna Noviani, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia

Dr. Ratna Noviani is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the Study Program of Media and Cultural Studies of the Graduate School of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. Her academic focus lies on media and politics of representation, gender and media, and promotional culture and consumerism. 

Rinta Arina Manasikana, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia

Rinta Arina Manasikana, M.A., is a graduate of the Study Program of Media and Cultural Studies at the Graduate School of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. Her interests include digital media, popular culture, and film studies.

Debora Dayu Ajeng Anggrahita, Universitas Gadjah Mada

Debora Dayu Ajeng Anggrahita is a master’s student at the Study Program of Media and Cultural Studies at the Graduate School of Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia. She conducts research on the issues of queer, media, gender, and sexuality. She works as a freelance writer. 


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