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Perimeters, performances and perversity: The creation and success of a gay community in Madrid, Spain

Perimeters, performances and perversity: The creation and success of a gay community in Madrid, Spain
Brian L. Adams-Thies


Department of Anthropology, The University Of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.


This dissertation utilizes the gay neighborhood of Chueca as the foci for understanding the rise of public gay identity in Madrid and Spain. By “reading” the urban space and coupling that reading with information gathered from ethnographic and historical methodologies, my work sheds light on the role of globalization in sexual identity, draws connections between changes in socio-political circumstances and the rise of public gay identity, and explores how gay men understand and use urban spaces in order to engage fluid and fixed sexual subjectivities. This dissertation, a product of over two years of living and researching in Chueca, Madrid, Spain, is informed by themes of: globalization of sexual identity; the relationships between sexual identity, consumption and popular culture; the use and sometimes abuse of urban space for the fomentation of sexual identity in personal lives, politics and public awareness; and, of course, the problems facing a ´native´ and yet, foreign anthropologist in a globalized Western European city. Overall, the study addresses how the urban space of Chueca is understood, utilized, and taken advantage of by the gay community in Madrid; and the repercussions, and consequences evident from 1975, the time of Spain´s transition to democracy (La Transición) to one year after the 2005 legalization of gay marriage in Spain.