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The Inclusive Vision

Essays in Honor of Larry Gross

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Edited By Paul Messaris and David W. Park

Larry Gross is one of the most influential figures in the history of media studies. In this collection of original essays, his former students reflect on his groundbreaking contributions to three major developments: the emergence of visual studies as a distinct field of media theory and research; the analysis of media fiction as a symbol of power structures and a perpetuator of social inequalities; and the growing scholarly attention to the relationships between mass media and sexual minorities.

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15. The Cultural and Economic Dimensions of Class in Queerness (Lisa Henderson)

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15. The Cultural and Economic Dimensions of Class in Queerness1

LISA HENDERSON

Introduction: Sex and Solidarity

In a Guardian Observer story of January 2014, British film and stage actor Rupert Everett writes about the police ouster of sex workers from their shared apartments in London’s Soho neighborhood (Everett, 2014). The arrests were conducted under the guise of stopping sex trafficking, says Everett, though no traffickers were apprehended. Contrary to the claims of police and morality squads, there is a Soho land grab going on, where police co-operate with property developers and their partners in city hall, greedily warming their hands over a Soho reconfigured for international tourism and sales, as if London weren’t expensive enough. It is a “creative class” approach to urban development long promoted by Richard Florida (2002), an approach even Florida (2017) has begun to recant as urban creative classes are revealed to mainly produce dramatic income inequality in cities (Wetherell, 2017). Everett follows his sex worker friends to trial, to witness the proceedings and to write dryly—and knowingly—about the theater taking place there and the revelation of legal done-deals against Londoners with few resources, save their own social networks now ruined by police “protection.”

Reading Everett’s piece left me wondering about Everett—his posh writing style, his come-and-go fortunes as leading man in popular film since openly identifying as gay in 1989, his friendship and solidarity with maids and...

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