Offices and Balls

Matti Bunzl

in Symptoms of Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238428
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937208 | DOI:
Offices and Balls

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On March 18, 2000, Homosexuelle Initiative Wien (HOSI) commemorated its twentieth anniversary with a lavish celebration. Hundreds were in attendance to fete the group, including a veritable who's who of Vienna's lesbian/gay community. In format and content, HOSI's anniversary celebration was not altogether different from the countless other parties that had been staged by factions of Austria's lesbian/gay movement since its inception in the 1970s. What made it unique and historically remarkable, however, was that the event took place in Vienna's venerable Rathaus (city hall)—the symbolic heart of the city's political landscape. Never before in the history of the lesbian/gay movement had a political group been allowed to stage itself at such an important site of state power. This chapter discusses Vienna's embrace of its queer population, which came to function as a social and legal model for the state's new relation to homosexuality. Championed by the Social Democratic Party—itself a recent convert to antihomophobic politics—that model reversed the previous logic of same-sex sexuality's constitutive abjection.

Keywords: lesbian/gay movement; city hall; Homosexuelle Initiative Wien; Social Democratic Party; homosexuality; social policy

Chapter.  10620 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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