Cultural Studies, Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Urban Studies
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Bright Lights, Gay Globality: Queer World-making in Metropolitan Manila
Bright Lights, Gay Globality is an ethnographic study of mobility, class, and gay life in 21st century Manila. Drawing on postcolonial queer studies and on critical theories of race, affect and mobility, the study traces the emergence of a “bright lights gay scene,” a culturally imaginary space produced by/for privileged Filipino gay men who are simultaneously embedded in a third world city and plugged into a virtual gay globality through teletechnomedia apparatuses. Arising out of tensions between the invincible facticity of location and the never-to-be-completed task of becoming-global, the scene is re-presented in this project as a multistable figure. It appears as an effect of the urban frictions that inspire the making of a first world in the third world, as a space produced in response to dominant heteronormative orders, and as a symptom of the structuring force of fantasy-desires for an always elusive gay modernity. By examining the world-making practices of locally privileged and globally marginal gay men through different spatial registers, the project demonstrates how the figure of the third world queer occupies contradictory positions in incommensurate diagrams of power.