Cities and Sexualities (Routledge Critical Introductions to Urbanism and the City)
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From the hotspots of commercial sex through to the suburbia of twitching curtains, urban life and sexualities appear inseparable. Cities are the source of our most familiar images of sexual practice, and are the spaces where new understandings of sexuality take shape. In an era of global business and tourism, cities are also the hubs around which a global sex trade is organised and where virtual sex content is obsessively produced and consumed.
Detailing the relationships between sexed bodies, sexual subjectivities and forms of intimacy, Cities and Sexualities explores the role of the city in shaping our sexual lives. At the same time, it describes how the actions of urban governors, city planners, the police and judiciary combine to produce cities in which some sexual proclivities and tastes are normalised and others excluded. In so doing, it maps out the diverse sexual landscapes of the city - from spaces of courtship, coupling and cohabitation through to sites of adult entertainment, prostitution, and pornography. Considering both the normative geographies of heterosexuality and monogamy, as well as urban geographies of radical/queer sex, this book provides a unique perspective on the relationship between sex and the city.
Cities and Sexualities offers a wide overview of the state-of-the-art in geographies and sociologies of sexuality, as well as an empirically-grounded account of the forms of desire that animate the erotic city. It describes the diverse sexual landscapes that characterise both the contemporary Western city as well as cities in the global South. The book features a wide range of boxed case studies as well as suggestions for further reading at the end each chapter. It will appeal to undergraduate students studying Geography, Urban Studies, Gender Studies and Sociology.
to uncover. It is the name that can be given to a historical construct [dispositif]: not a furtive reality that is difficult to grasp, but a great surface network in which the stimulation of bodies, the intensification of pleasures, the incitement to discourse, the formation of special knowledges, the strengthening of controls and resistances, are linked to one another, in accordance with a few major strategies of knowledge and power. (Foucault 1978, 105–6) Foucault’s consideration of the
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explorers. (Walkowitz 1982, 213) Victorian representations of sex workers indeed depicted them through contradictory languages of desire and disgust. On the one hand, images of prostitutes in art and literature represented them as sexually alluring figures, the embodiment of an unfettered feminine sexuality. On the other hand, they were depicted as ‘fallen’ women, who, by lowering themselves to sell their bodies, had rejected the feminine virtues of chastity and homemaking. Significant
fervour, sex workers were flushed out of brothels, hustled off [the] streets, charged as inmates or vagrants, fined, occasionally jailed, then discharged only to become vulnerable, once again, to waves of civic protest. (Ross 2010, 198) Ross proceeds to document how patterns of sex work transformed dramatically in the wake of the 1975 closure of many of the West End clubs (including the infamous Penthouse Club) where prostitutes plied their trade, partly at the instigation of gay
(Florida and Gates 2005, 135) Deploying such logics Florida identifies a clear relationship between this gay index and the relative output of an area’s high-tech industries, noting that eleven of the top fifteen high-tech metropolitan areas in the US also appear in the top fifteen of his gay index, with San Francisco topping both lists. Even when removing San Francisco from his analysis (because it ranks ‘unusually high’ on both measures), he concludes that a metropolitan area’s percentage of