Digital Capitalism, the Global Gay, and Planetary Gentrification

Authors: Spencer Nelson*, McGill University
Topics: Urban Geography, Sexuality, Tourism Geography
Keywords: urban geography, gentrification, tourism, digital capitalism
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: Regent, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In geographical research, globalization is an emerging framework for gentrification and urban inequality studies. Under this framework, tourism is often considered an important variable in gentrification. Despite critically examining the diffusion and representation of cultures, economies, and technologies, studies of gentrification in contemporary cities rarely engage with discussions of heteronormativity and homonormativity. In an era of planetary gentrification, transfers and development of urban policy, marketing, and branding strategies are integral to understanding gentrification as a homonormative and heteronormative process. In a comparative ethnographic study of Cape Town, South Africa and Minneapolis, Minnesota, I posit that gentrification is a product of heteronormative and homonormative urban policy, enhanced by digital capitalism and tourism. I argue that Cape Town and Minneapolis are neoliberal cities that capitalize on their queer communities through the use of digital capitalism and promotion of the global gay image. I further argue that the result of these gentrification processes is an uneven distribution of wealth, access, and symbolic representation, across the city.

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