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Canaries in the mine? Gay community, consumption and aspiration in neoliberal Washington, DC

Canaries in the mine? Gay community, consumption and aspiration in neoliberal Washington, DC
Canaries in the mine? Gay community, consumption and aspiration in neoliberal Washington, DC
Gay men have been implicated in neoliberal urban development strategies (e.g. the creative city) as a ‘canary’ population that forecasts growth. Paradoxically, both neoliberal re-development of North American inner-cities and the ways in which gay men become neoliberalised as individuals contribute to the dissolution of urban gay communities. In contrast to discourses of homonormativity, which suggest that gay men’s declining attachments to gay communities stem from new equalities and consequent desires to assimilate into the mainstream, this article argues that gay men in DC have internalised neoliberal discourses that call for career development, home ownership and social hypermobilities. The narratives of 24 gay-identified men living in DC indicate that the social and spatial dissolution of the gay community is linked with individual aspirations that are increasingly difficult to achieve. These aspirations include career advancement in a transient local economy, property ownership in an out-of-reach market, and the attainment of social status based on an ability to move through multiple neighbourhoods and venues with ease. As might be expected, African American and working class men are often left beyond the fray of these new neoliberal ideals.
0042-0980
1-18
Lewis, Nathaniel
f0218afb-51ea-4141-a1e9-d031d8b98645
Lewis, Nathaniel
f0218afb-51ea-4141-a1e9-d031d8b98645

Lewis, Nathaniel (2016) Canaries in the mine? Gay community, consumption and aspiration in neoliberal Washington, DC. Urban Studies, 1-18. (doi:10.1177/0042098016682418).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Gay men have been implicated in neoliberal urban development strategies (e.g. the creative city) as a ‘canary’ population that forecasts growth. Paradoxically, both neoliberal re-development of North American inner-cities and the ways in which gay men become neoliberalised as individuals contribute to the dissolution of urban gay communities. In contrast to discourses of homonormativity, which suggest that gay men’s declining attachments to gay communities stem from new equalities and consequent desires to assimilate into the mainstream, this article argues that gay men in DC have internalised neoliberal discourses that call for career development, home ownership and social hypermobilities. The narratives of 24 gay-identified men living in DC indicate that the social and spatial dissolution of the gay community is linked with individual aspirations that are increasingly difficult to achieve. These aspirations include career advancement in a transient local economy, property ownership in an out-of-reach market, and the attainment of social status based on an ability to move through multiple neighbourhoods and venues with ease. As might be expected, African American and working class men are often left beyond the fray of these new neoliberal ideals.

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Urban Studies Lewis accepted.PDF - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 November 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 December 2016
Organisations: Population, Health & Wellbeing (PHeW)

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 404563
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404563
ISSN: 0042-0980
PURE UUID: 9d00cf51-b29d-450c-a56a-ef0b540534eb

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Date deposited: 11 Jan 2017 14:11
Last modified: 14 Aug 2019 17:57

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