Reading sexuality, cosmopolitanism and the global city narrative between Hong Kong and Singapore

Obendorf, Simon (2007) Reading sexuality, cosmopolitanism and the global city narrative between Hong Kong and Singapore. In: Everyday Life in the Global City, 9-11 July 2007, Manchester Institute of Social and Spatial Transformations, Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Governments in both Singapore and Hong Kong have been assiduously remaking their cities – and their societies – in an attempt to position them among the top tier of global cities in the world economy. In both of these cities, knowledge economies, creative workforces and cosmopolitan values have become the new buzz-words, deployed by political elites and increasingly consumed by citizens eager to carve out spaces of competitive advantage. In such an environment, the works of scholars such as Richard Florida and Marcus Noland, on the economic value of creative industries and on linking the presence of creative and/or homosexual subcultures within a city to its economic competitiveness are received eagerly, if often uncritically. This paper examines government attempts to manage the social and economic implications of an enlarged arts scene and increasingly visible and assertive homosexual communities in both Hong Kong and Singapore. What happens when the arts become a venue for homosexual activism? How do ideologies of the “pink dollar” interact with governmental attempts both to liberalise societies but also to retain political control and popular legitimacy? Taking examples from these two great competitors for the title of “Asia’s World City”, this paper explores these questions and asks to what extent the intersection of economics, the global city and interactions with Western cultural and political flows (both historically and contemporarily) might give rise to spaces of opportunity – but also perhaps of closure – for sexual minorities in today’s urban Asia.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:Governments in both Singapore and Hong Kong have been assiduously remaking their cities – and their societies – in an attempt to position them among the top tier of global cities in the world economy. In both of these cities, knowledge economies, creative workforces and cosmopolitan values have become the new buzz-words, deployed by political elites and increasingly consumed by citizens eager to carve out spaces of competitive advantage. In such an environment, the works of scholars such as Richard Florida and Marcus Noland, on the economic value of creative industries and on linking the presence of creative and/or homosexual subcultures within a city to its economic competitiveness are received eagerly, if often uncritically. This paper examines government attempts to manage the social and economic implications of an enlarged arts scene and increasingly visible and assertive homosexual communities in both Hong Kong and Singapore. What happens when the arts become a venue for homosexual activism? How do ideologies of the “pink dollar” interact with governmental attempts both to liberalise societies but also to retain political control and popular legitimacy? Taking examples from these two great competitors for the title of “Asia’s World City”, this paper explores these questions and asks to what extent the intersection of economics, the global city and interactions with Western cultural and political flows (both historically and contemporarily) might give rise to spaces of opportunity – but also perhaps of closure – for sexual minorities in today’s urban Asia.
Keywords:Singapore, Hong Kong, cosmopolitanism, homosexuality
Subjects:L Social studies > L243 Politics of a specific country/region
L Social studies > L320 Gender studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:5973
Deposited By: Simon Obendorf
Deposited On:13 Jul 2012 21:23
Last Modified:13 Jul 2012 21:23

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