BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Date of Submission



Nudrat Kamal, Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences


Dr. Shehram Mokhtar, Assistant Professor & Program Coordinator, BS (SSLA), Department of Social Sciences

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


Urban, Informal, Media


Dating apps have always been a ‘soft target’ for the Pakistani regulatory authorities when it comes to surveilling and controlling the spread of information. However, users have also always found ways to access and jump through regulatory restrictions to gain access. This project looks firstly, at the modalities of evasive maneuvering conducted by users of such media forms, and secondly the context within which such an evading happens. Therefore, I ask the following questions in relation to legality, subjectivity and marginality in and around virtual spaces: How is queerness navigated throughout the city through the use of certain dating applications, especially when the conversation moves from online to an offline space? How do spaces and bodies momentarily become queer, and in what ways does a virtual space become conduit for such a queering? How do spaces become queer and lose their larger nationalistic/fixed status under authoritarian rule? And in what ways does Karachi’s mostly informalized urban fabric become a host for such interruptions? Through in-depth interviews with users of banned dating applications, I analyze how queerness becomes produced through urban informality, illegality and a strident modernity. I focus on queer knowledge making processes and hybridity in a localized post-colonial setting (in this case, Karachi) and conflate that with questions of access and embodiment that provide an expansion into the complex networks that emerge out of banned technologies. I conclude by arguing that the use of queer technologies in the global south, and particularly in Karachi, inevitably gives rise to a shifting sense of identity and meaning for its users.



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