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Bibliography

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References
Zea, Joel Joshua
This is our house: The rise and fall of a homosexual institution
1312

Keywords: urban gay club (sub)culture, houses, minoritized lesbians and gays, queer community of color

Abstract:

In this article Zea discusses changes in the gay club culture with regard to the decline of gay “Houses”. Gay Houses were gay social institutions, formed by minoritized gay men of color in the urban gay subculture. They were part of Drag Balls and functioned as both social organizations operating much like extended families, as well as institutions for artistic invention and competition within the gay subculture. However, they weren’t simply organizations offering support to those deemed needy, they were exclusionary societies with distinctive styles prevalent in the mid-80s up to the mid -90s. Zea researches Houses in the gay club culture of Hartford, Connecticut and people who forge and participate in them. His main questions revolve around what the House was as social and cultural institution and what purposes it served. The author aims at showing how gay minorities created and used the House to incorporate, alter and present the ideology and structural components of “family” and “kinship” both within the dominant culture and the gay subculture. Therefore he focuses on gay constructions of them within the Houses. The concept of family and taking care of one’s own is crucial to Houses and Zea argues that gay kinship ideologies within them have changed rather than mimicked existing kinship relations as they are not just founded on sex or a simple replica of biological families, but represent examples of “chosen families”. Furthermore Zea states that gay minorities of color are ostracized from family for being gay, from the gay community for being of color and from society for being both. Analyzing the incorporation of notions of kinship and family by gay forged institutions he concludes that Houses are subversive as well as acquiescent to dominant ideas of family. He argues that they seek legitimization as well as autonomy, as Houses which were predominantly forged and run by gay minoritized of color revealed the existence of a community or subculture that is both gay and non white as well as the ability of this community to create its own distinctive organizations and support groups. Gay minoritized formed Houses as a means of support, safety and validation. Participation and visibility of Houses have diminished as their popularity and cultural dominance was a temporary phenomenon. Given the fact that Houses and balls played a vital role in the urban community the author pays great attention to why their presence diminished. Within this context Zea concludes that their decline is partly due to the ever-changing style of time as many House activities consisted of major aspects of the 80s culture. Moreover he argues that the AIDS epidemic lead to the loss of meaningful actors and founders of Houses as well as the stigmatization of the “gay Queen” that made surviving ringleaders recede. Zea emphasizes that Houses as institutions were an invaluable resource as they focused on their members’ physical and emotional well-being specifically and the gay community’s more general.

Zukin, Sharon
Cultural Strategies and Urban Identities: Remaking Public Space in New York
In O. Källtorp, I. Elander, O. Ericsson and M. Franzén, editor, Cities in Transformation-Transformation in Cities
page 205-217.
Avebury,
1997

Zukin, Sharon
Urban Lifestyles: Diversity and Standardisation in Spaces of Consumption
Urban Studies, 35(5-6):825–839
1998

Keywords: Consumption, Urban lifestyle, Gentrification, cultural diversity, social exclusion

Abstract:

Sharon Zukin aims to show that the contemporary city is increasingly organized, built up with regard to the needs of the consumer society. She considers the renewed generalization of this process across the contemporary city. With an excursion about the development of urban lifestyles and models of Modernity, she outlines that the spatial opportunity for consumption is of growing importance in the modern city. Huge shopping galleries and department stores have become an important distinguishing mark of Modern cities. She specifically focuses on how strategies of urban development have been based on consumption. She highlights the fact that these processes are perforated with tensions and difficulties. Especially corporate investment in the “cultural” and “symbolic” economy constantly negotiates a tension between standardization and diversity. This investment is driven by entertainment, arts, sports, gambling and retailing. Zukin outlines the potentially homogenizing forces of consumerism in American cities, captured in notions such as “Americanization” “Coca-colanization” and “Disneyfication”. As an example she marks out that consumption practices in streets and shops are also related to forms of sociability, that are part of post-Modern urban consumption. Moreover she criticizes the privatization of formerly public urban spaces and the social exclusion of the poor. This results from an aestheticization of the city towards the interests of middle class families and young urban professionals, who she considers to be part of the ‘gentrifiers’. In addition Zukin calls attention to recent attempts of several actors and institutions to cater to the increasing variety of consumers. She points out, that even urban managers recognize that the cultural diversity of the city is a sign of its vitality. Furthermore major corporate powers realize the significance of city areas inhabited by low-income, minority groups and try to target them as attractive areas. She argues that the focus has moved from culture to diversity and that cities begin to view the growing multi-ethnicity of urban populations as a source of cultural vitality and economic renewal. Consequently the diversity of urban lifestyles and the vitality of city life make the most recent collision between consumerism and the city far more complex than it is assumed.

Zukin, Sharon
The Culture of Cities
Blackwell, Malden
1995

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