Relational Comparison, Queer Urbanism and Worlding Cities


  • Jon Binnie

    Corresponding author
    1. Manchester Metropolitan University, School of Science and Environment
    • Correspondence address: Jon Binnie, Manchester Metropolitan University - School of Science and Environment, John Dalton Building Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD, UK. E-mail:

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Urban studies have recently witnessed a revival of critical interest in comparison, situated within a broader postcolonial critique of the parochialism of (Western) urban theory. However, recent discussions of the comparative within urban studies have tended to neglect sexual politics, despite the emergence of a significant body of work on the queer politics of comparison. Urban research on sexualities has tended to focus on the territorialisation of same-sex desire and identifications in territories such as gay villages or neighbourhoods and has often overlooked the sexual politics of networked relations and connections between cities. Although relational approaches to urbanism have been adopted in this field, there has been little explicit engagement with the comparative, which remains largely under-theorised. This paper considers the usefulness of Kevin Ward's work on ‘relational comparison’ in informing research agendas on the sexual politics of (transnational) connections between cities. It argues that the use of relational comparison can help interrogate the transnational politics of knowledge production in the field and can help in opening up new research agendas.