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Body Tourism in Queered Streets: Geographies of gay pride parades

This thesis begins with an examination of the construction of knowledge within tourism studies. I argue that tourism studies, like most social sciences, has been built on a mind/body dualism. The mind has been privileged and linked to rationality, heterosexuality and masculinity, while the body has been Othered and associated with irrationality, homosexuality and femininity. I critique tourism studies' literature, specifically hallmark tourism, postmodern tourism, ethnic tourism, sex tourism and gender and tourism, to argue that the body has been denied, desired and Othered by tourism studies' academics. Tourism studies, as academic discourse, tends to produce hegemonic, disembodied and masculinist knowledges. Against this theoretical backdrop, I examine an explicitly gendered/sexed and sexualised tourist event. I conduct a study of gay pride parades: Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand's HERO Parade and the Sydney, Australia Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. I use qualitative methods of data collection, specifically, participant observations, in-depth and semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, questionnaires and newspapers, photographs, video recordings, television and radio discourses. There are three points to my discussion. I argue first, that the place of the parade becomes a contested site. Debates over the parade site derive from constructions of 'queer' bodies as deviant, dangerous and abject. Hence, 'gay' bodies become inappropriate bodies to inhabit (public) central business districts. Parade sites in 'gay' (read private) neighbourhoods, however, are perceived as less 'threatening' by city council officials. Second, I argue that rigid borders are maintained at the parade site between the queer bodies on parade (the 'hosts') and the watching, 'heterosexual' tourists. These tourists Other the queer bodies on parade. Heterosexual tourists occupy a dominant, unmarked position which is maintained through discourses of liberalism. Parading bodies which are less visibly 'gay', however, disrupt this unmarked position and trouble the binary between Self /Other, tourist/host, and straight/ gay, and hence explicitly embody tourists. Third, I disrupt binary notions of masculine I feminine bodies in gay pride parades by focusing on the ways marching boys' bodies can be read as 'fluid': both hyper-masculine and feminine. This study offers an example of new possibilities for tourism studies. Explicit inclusion of gendered/ sexed and sexualised bodies in tourism research problematises the mind/body dualism, thereby subverting the masculinism of tourism discourse.
Type of thesis
Johnston, L. (1998). Body Tourism in Queered Streets: Geographies of gay pride parades (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9780
University of Waikato
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