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queer geographies


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A major concern of queer geographies has been the critical role of place and space in the production of sexual identities, practices, communities, subjectivities, and embodiments, and the scholarship of queer space includes its location, nature, and definition, its history, memories, events, and subcultures, and the relationship between space and social justice. This is examined by looking at spaces such as closets, communities, and cruising grounds; ‘finding or creating spaces in which to know ourselves and become known to others’ (Sember (2003) Space and Culture 6, 3). ‘Through repeated acts of “coming out”, gay men and lesbians map where and how to be ‘out’ and when and where not to be. These environments are largely concealed and require careful reading' (Space, Sexualities and Queer Working Group of the RGS). Correspondingly, there is a focus on the centrality of sexualities in constituting social space. See Gorman-Murray (2007) Soc. & Cult. Geog. 8, 1 on rethinking queer migration through the body.

Podmore, in a study of Montreal lesbian territory (2006, Soc. & Cult. Geog. 7, 4), asserts that, although gay men have often produced clearly visible territorial enclaves in inner-city areas (as in Manchester or San Francisco), lesbian spaces have been comparatively invisible ‘since their communities are constituted through social networks rather than commercial sites’. Further, Nast (2003, Antipode 34) argues that ‘gay white patriarchies’ exist, which depend ‘structurally and implicitly upon white supremacy and heteropatriarchy’. Oswin (2004) Acme 3, 2, also, warns against an empiricist, cognitive reading of the affluent, white, gay male. Binnie and Valentine (1999) PHG23, 2 believe that queer geographies need to move away from simple mapping of lesbian and gay spaces towards a more critical treatment of the differences between sexual dissidents. Knopp (2007) Prof. Geogr. 59, 1 focuses on the potential of feminist-inspired and allied queer geographies to rethink a variety of spatial, and other, ontologies. See also Brown and Knopp in Anderson et al., eds (2003, Antipode 34). Hubbard (2000) PHG24, 2 writes that ‘everyday space’ is experienced as aggressively heterosexual by lesbians and gay males; heterosexuality has served to create and justify other forms of oppression and confinement in Western cities.

Queer theory

challenges the idea of the preconstituted sexual subject and understands power as productive rather than simply oppressive: ‘yet critical geographers generally depict queer spaces as spaces of gays and lesbians or queers existing in opposition to and as transgressions of heterosexual space’ (Oswin (2008) PHG32).

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.


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