Jungle Strippers at the American Club: Performing Queer Relatedness in Cosmopolitan Beijing

William Schroeder Iii, William Schroeder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper takes an ethnographic look at relationality by exploring a scene that occurred at the launch party of a cosmopolitan gay business-networking group in Beijing. At this party, nationality, sexuality, class, and ethnicity all played roles. But I suggest, after an analysis of some of the guests’ momentary reactions and feelings, that the explicit linkages we usually make between structural categories and subject positions do not fully explain how people understand the statuses we attribute to them. Status-related contests of power occur in a contextual jostle and often have but a superficial relationship to preconceived identity categories. At the launch party, “gay,” “Chinese,” “Cameroonian,” “American,” and other identity categories functioned as positionalities rather than statuses and as such allowed for the unexpected reordering of classic hierarchies. In the end, however, decisions about who is related to whom and how rely not only on the discursiveness of categories but also on the affect of participants. With this understanding, domination and subordination lose their polarity, which is a good thing, and relatedness takes on an infinitely more subjective character.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhost publication
Publication statusPublished - 18 May 2010
EventRelationalities: A Response to Difference - Research Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures (RICC), University of Manchester, UK
Duration: 18 May 201018 May 2010

Conference

ConferenceRelationalities: A Response to Difference
CityResearch Institute for Cosmopolitan Cultures (RICC), University of Manchester, UK
Period18/05/1018/05/10

Keywords

  • gay
  • China
  • identity
  • relationality

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