James CummingsDec 23, 2023
The Everyday Lives of Gay Men in Hainan
Sociality, Space and Time
Palgrave MacMillan 2022
The Everyday Lives of Gay Men in Hainan: Sociality, Space and Time (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) by Dr. James Cummings explores the everyday lives of gay men in Hainan, an island province of the People’s Republic of China. Taking an ethnographic and phenomenological approach, it asks how these men construct and experience ways of ‘sexual being’ – as gay, homosexual, tongzhi and/or in the scene – and what these mean for the ways of living they see as possible within a socio-cultural, political and material context characterised by pervasive heteronormativity. It explores what it means for gay men in Hainan to ‘come into the scene’, how internet and mobile technologies figure in their everyday processes of sexual categorisation and how these men negotiate orientations and disorientations towards the future in relation to dominant heterosexual life scripts of marriage and reproduction.
This book offers vital insights into the production and restriction of non-heterosexual lives in diverse settings, while addressing universal questions of how certain ways of living are enabled and curtailed in living together with others through powerful conditions of uncertainty and precarity.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.