Sexual Politics: Section Introduction

Authored by: Gavin Brown , Kath Browne

The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472455482
eBook ISBN: 9781315613000
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043331


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Gay politics, in the form of campaigning for Harvey Milk’s historic candidature for the San Francisco Board of Deputies, was a key variable in Castells’s (1983) classic study of the formation of gay neighbourhoods. Lesbian and gay social movements and activism – and more recent variations of lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) and/or queer politics – have been a central theme within the geography of sexualities literature since the 1980s. Geographers have both theorized claims to sexual citizenship and queerer forms of politics that are suspicious of incorporation into state-centred political structures. More recently, geographers have fiercely debated ‘homonormativity’, ‘homonationalism’ and the changing sexual politics of neoliberal times. This work has tended to focus on the political demands and organizational methods of sexual and gender minority social movements in the Global North. In contrast, this section thinks more expansively about the geographies of sexual politics and the political geographies of sexuality. While we do not disregard ‘traditional’ LGBTQ spatial politics that have frequently sought to claim (urban) territory as a springboard for demanding social inclusions and civil rights, this introduction and the section as a whole is also interested in queerer politics, and sexual and gender activisms that spread beyond the LGBTQ umbrella.

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