Faculty and student research on Navigating Campus Hookup Culture

Current research examples of the college hookup scene consistently show it to be heavily gendered and heteronormative. In spite of the extensive research on hookup culture, there is limited data on how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students navigate hookups on college campuses.

Senior Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies major Sope Kahn, along with faculty members Dr. Ellen Lamont and Dr. Teresa Roach from the Department of Sociology, published a paper titled “Navigating Campus Hookup Culture: LGBTQ Students and College Hookups.” The study  indicates that while LGBTQ students are actively working to remake hookup culture, and in some ways are succeeding, barriers to a more mindful hookup culture remain, even among those who explicitly seek new ways to pursue sexual relationships.

“Students need to be able to see the range of experiences out there and they also need to see themselves reflected in the coursework they do. This article also demonstrates some of the ways LGBTQ people are challenging heterosexual hook-up culture, providing students with the tools to imagine more ethical hookup practices, something I hope will spill over to their everyday lives,” said Ellen Lamont.

Drawing on interviews with 24 LGBTQ college students, this research investigated how LGBTQ college students negotiate the hookup scene on college campuses. Based on this sample, LGBTQ students are sharply critical of dominant hookup culture and aim to challenge heteronormative practices by deconstructing normative patterns of behavior, emphasizing communication and consent and queering standards of pleasure.

During this study, undergraduate student, Kahn, was able to utilize grant related funding from the Department of Sociology and the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund to support this research. By participating in this study as a research assistant, Kahn was able to learn much more about the research process than what can be obtained in the classroom.

“I learned about the complexity of conducting research, and the amount of time it takes to come to a final publishing. It was amazing to have the experience of working on all the steps building up to the final paper: helping with research outreach, helping develop interview questions, coding interviews and helping write the data,” said Kahn.

Initially endowed by a generous gift from Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to transform the undergraduate and graduate experience and support faculty teaching, research and engagement.

“The SAFE grant provided me with my first opportunity to work on research with a student and provided that student with hands on research experience that they can now take with them as they pursue entry into graduate school after Appalachian. Sope Kahn was instrumental to our work on this project,” stated Lamont.

To learn more about the SAFE fund, visit https://cas.appstate.edu/faculty-staff/student-and-faculty-excellence-safe-fund


About the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies
The Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies offers degrees in global studies, interdisciplinary studies, and gender, women’s and sexuality studies. The department is also home to Watauga Residential College, an interdisciplinary, alternative general education program. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement in cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at https://cgg.appstate.edu.

About the Department of Sociology
The Department of Sociology offers a Bachelor of Arts and six Bachelor of Science concentrations (applied research methods; criminology; deviance and law; families and intimate relationships; gerontology; social inequalities; and individually designed, which requires departmental approval). The department also offers minors in sociology and gerontology, plus two online graduate certificates in gerontology and sociology. Learn more at https://soc.appstate.edu.

Sept. 27, 2018
By Andrew Scott and Ellen Gwin Burnette

Dr. Ellen Lamont, Department of Sociology and senior Cultural, Gender and Global Studies major, Sope Kahn - photo submitted and photo by Ellen Gwin Burnette
Published: Sep 27, 2018 4:57pm