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Welcoming the world? Hospitality, homonationalism and the London 2012 Olympics

Hubbard, Philip, Wilkinson, Eleanor (2014) Welcoming the world? Hospitality, homonationalism and the London 2012 Olympics. Antipode, 47 (3). pp. 598-615. ISSN 0066-4812. E-ISSN 1467-8330. (doi:10.1111/anti.12082) (KAR id:38924)


In an era of intense ‘entrepreneurial’ city marketing, overt attempts to court LGBT consumers and investors have been made not solely through the promotion of lesbian and gay arts festivals, pride celebrations and 'specialised' cultural events, but also through 'mainstream' mega-events. This paper explores this with reference to London's 2012 Olympics, an event which welcomed LGBT spectators, volunteers and participants through a series of initiatives proclaiming the Games as distinctively 'gay-friendly'. Considering this in the light of queer critiques – particularly those concerning homonationalism - we suggest that this attempt to market London as sexually diverse relied on the effacement of certain sexual practices and spaces not easily accommodated within normative, Western models of sexual citizenship and equality. Here, a focus on the ways ‘abject’ sexualities were regulated in the run-up and hosting of the London Olympics is used to show that notions of welcome inevitably did not extend to encompass all sexual identities and practices. In conclusion, it is argued that the Olympics represented a moment when particular ideas of sexual cosmopolitanism were deployed to regulate, order and normalise the variegated sexual landscapes of the host city.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/anti.12082
Uncontrolled keywords: sexuality; sex work; world cities; tolerance; homonormativity
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Phil Hubbard
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2014 15:02 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 12:52 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Hubbard, Philip.

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