Session details


Manon van der Heijden (Leiden University)


This session focuses on the various forms of urban social difference and social inequality in global perspective. The papers study urban inequalities regarding sports, leisure, and queer communities in the 20th century in different regions in the world (Bombay, Barcelona, and Malmö). The first paper by Babasaheb Kamale explores responses from the Dalit community (scheduled caste) to various sports activities, and inequalities in sport activities in Bombay City between 1920 and 1960. The second paper by Marc Geli Taberner looks at inequalities in the access to leisure in the city of Barcelona between 1914 and 1919. The last paper by Pal Brunnström and Matilda Svensson Chowdhury studies queer histories as social movements in Swedish Malmö.


A party for Everyone? Inequalities in the Access of Leisure in Barcelona. The Paral·lel and the 5th District between 1914 and 1919


Marc Geli Taberner (ERAM-Universitat de Girona)


Paral·lel, 5th District, Leisure, Popular Classes


After the outbreak of the First World War (1914-18) Barcelona quickly became one of the most important neutral port cities in the western Mediterranean. This also implied a diversification and ‘cosmopolitization' of the leisure offer, which had its epicentre in the Paral·lel avenue and in the famous and notorious Distrito V (5th District) (MOLNER, 2017; VILLAR, 2009). The existence of such urban spaces and its ‘specialisation’ in offering a very concrete type of leisure were prior to 1914. The Great War, though, accelerated some changes that would have taken longer to appear without it (VILLAR, 2009, 2013). At the same time, the growing workforce demand for the Barcelona industry, which was a consequence of the extraordinary industrial requests of the European powers, entangled in the conflict, attracted new migratory waves which for the first time included the Regions of Murcia and Almeria, besides the traditional migratory regions (Aragon and País Valencià). This new immigration settled in certain neighbourhoods. Many of them did so in the 5th District (TATJER, 1998; OYÓN, 2008).

This paper would intend to make a first approach to investigate to what extent the popular classes, both the immigrants and the Catalan workers, had some access to this new kind of leisure which the First World War allowed to generate. From the 19th century onwards, inequalities in the city were sharp between the manual workers and those who were not (EALHAM, 2018; OYÓN, 2008). At the same time, Barcelona suffered a major breakdown inside its popular classes: some had a major well-being than others, specially the autochthonous and the long-time settled immigrant workers. Therefore, the main effort of this paper is to find a double inequality in the access of this new leisure: first, between the wealthy and the popular classes; the second one, between these popular classes.

Queer Histories from Malmö – Writing History with and about Social Movements


Pål Brunnström (Malmö University) and Matilda Svensson (Chowdhury Malmö University)


LGBTQIA+, Social Movements, Queer


The history of LGBTQIA+ people's lives and experiences has long been unwritten story, in Sweden and elsewhere. In recent decades, this has changed and at present, there are a number of contributions, both scientific and more popular, that focus on how LGBTQIA+ people have lived their lives in Sweden – the challenges, stigmatisation and repression they met, but also about the communities they built, the comradery and love. A strength of several contributions is to highlight the importance of the place. For example, both Stockholm (Silverstolpe & Söderström 1999) and Gothenburg's (Lindholm & Nilsson 2002; Nilsson 1998) LGBTQIA+ history has been written, however these studies differ from ours and are written with from a more traditional perspective of the academic investigation. 

This paper focus on the process of writing history with and about social movements with the city of Malmö and LGBTIA+ people’s histories as an example. Using our book “Queer histories from Malmö” and the process of putting it together, we discuss two more general points: the first is the fruitfulness of the city as the lens and limitation of a project involving social movements, the second is the importance of engaging in writing emancipatory LGBTQIA+ history, fully aware of the objections against such an endeavour raised by i.e. Joan W Scott (1991) of Judith Butler (1988).


Butler, J. (1988). Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory. Theatre Journal, 40(4), 519–531.

Lindholm, Margareta & Nilsson, Arne (2002). En annan stad: kvinnligt och manligt homoliv 1950-1980. Stockholm: Alfabeta/Anamma

Nilsson, Arne (1998). Såna & riktiga karlar. Göteborg : Anamma.

Silverstolpe, Fredrik & Söderström, Göran (Eds.) (1999). Sympatiens hemlighetsfulla makt: Stockholms homosexuella 1860-1960. Stockholm: Stockholmia

Scott, J. W. (1991). The Evidence of Experience. Critical Inquiry, 17(4), 773–797.

Svensson Chowdhury, M., & Brunnström, P. (Eds.). (2021). Queera historier från Malmö.

"Not when you are looking for something" - Spatial, Temporal and Political Cruising through Haifa's City-space


Dotan Brom (Haifa Queer History Project & University of Haifa ) and Yoav Zaritsky Haifa (Queer History Project & University of Haifa)


Cruising, City-space, Queer/trans*


In his essay "Walking in the City", the French scholar, Michel De Certeau, presents the act of walking as a set of creative and transgressive tactics: the walker subverts the strategies set by the city planners, reinterprets the city-space and generates new meanings to streets, parks and squares.

Cruising is a similar activity: it expropriates public territory from the intended use of its planners and its purpose for the general society, transgresses them and grants the public space a new meaning.

The suggested paper focuses on cruising as a theoretical lens through which to queerly examine city-spaces and human temporalities. It does so by juxtaposing De Certeau's ideas with queer and trans* life stories from the 1960s and 1970s, collected through the Haifa Queer History Project. This activist project documents and researches the histories of queer lives and communities in the city of Haifa, one of Israel/Palestine's largest cities and home to mixed communities of Jews and Arabs from various religious, ethnic, and socio-economical backgrounds. 

Through this juxtaposition, the paper theorises a threefold "cruising stance" that cruises through city-space, transgresses gender and sexuality norms, and queerly narrates life. Such a stance is a manifestation of deviance in motion: through space, time and societal borders.