“Look how many gays there are here”: Digital technologies and non-heterosexual space in Haikou

James Cummings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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This article explores the capacities of digital technologies to disrupt, redefine and multiply urban spaces, creating new ways of seeing and experiencing cities. Based on ethnographic research into the lives of men who desire men in Haikou, People’s Republic of China, and their uses of the location-aware dating app Blued, I show how the city is produced anew as a space imagined and engaged in relation to the perceptible presence of other men who desire men. In a sociopolitical context in which non-heterosexual lives are largely invisible in public spaces, the digitally mediated visibility of Blued users to one another invites a range of social practices through which urban spaces, as well as spatial categories of ‘the urban’ and ‘the rural,’ are reproduced at the intersections of sexuality, space and digital technologies. With its empirical focus on an ‘ordinary’ city in a non-Western context, this article challenges both the Eurocentricity of much digital geographies research and its tendency to focus on global cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalUrban Planning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • China

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