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Queer sex in the metropolis? Place, subjectivity and the Second World War

Vickers, E. L. (2010) Queer sex in the metropolis? Place, subjectivity and the Second World War. Feminist Review, 96. pp. 58-73. ISSN 1466-4380

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1057/fr.2010.20


The strong links between cities and queer culture and its expression have occupied numerous scholars, including Henning Bech and Matt Houlbrook. Indeed, London has been viewed as a focal point of British queer urban culture for over 200 years and, as this article demonstrates, the advent of the Second World War did not preclude this centrality but ensured that the city became a focal point for service personnel on leave. Yet, the emphasis placed on the metropolises in analysing space and queer expression has rendered invisible the use of more transient spaces outside of the city. This article seeks to examine these ‘alternative’ or opportunistic sites of expression, using oral testimony from queer men who served with the British Armed Forces during the Second World War. The memories of these servicemen and the significance they place on space/locations demonstrate the need to engage with subjective sites or ‘geographies’ of queerness both inside and outside of the city between 1939 and 1945.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Identities
ID Code:16212
Uncontrolled Keywords:sexuality; queer; place; London; Second World War; armed forces
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan
Publisher Statement:This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Feminist Review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

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