The study used data collected from the Finnish dating service Deitti.net in 2012. The material was limited to the category “Are you looking for a serious relationship”, where either a man or a woman was applied for, with the additional criterion of being Finnish.
“It is easier for the researcher to understand the meanings in the text, which is also their own mother tongue. In the Are you looking for a serious relationship category, the idea is to find a committed romantic relationship that differs from the other categories of the service,” explains Holappa.
The central concept of the dissertation is the cultural model, which refers to the ways in which members of the same culture both produce and understand things in the same way. Growing up in a certain culture requires internalizing ideas that later seem self-evident and undeniable. These include perceptions of how masculinity or femininity is presented. Similarly, there are culturally accepted model narratives for romantic relationships.
In his research, Holappa identified four cultural models that shape how online dating is perceived or approached. According to the researcher, these models represent culturally shared knowledge.
“The romantic model emphasizes a romantic imagination where strong emotions are not suppressed. This model is directly related to the romantic narratives prevalent in Western culture, which are familiar through popular culture,” says Holappa.
In contrast, the realist model emphasizes everyday aspects: normality, authenticity and reasonableness were valued. The realist model is based on a cultural script associated with a normative life story of studying and creating a career after childhood and adolescence, followed by finding a partner and starting a family. The realistic model represents an equal partnership based on love.
In the concept-based model, a key aspect is how the author of the profile text reproduces the content that he believes belongs to the context. For example, they may create lists because they assume they are expected in profile descriptions.
The concept was also challenged. This model did not follow conventional writing, instead relying on identifying conventions.
“In the concept’s challenging model, it is essential that the practices of online dating are familiar, because only then can they be challenged,” explains Holappa.
One noteworthy observation of the study is that the imaginative projection of a shared future in a romantic relationship is not genetically determined, but rather a historically formed way of presenting things to oneself and others in a culturally accepted way.
Source: The Nordic Page