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Colin Giraud

Colin Giraud is a sociology professor at the University of Nanterre. He studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon, where he earned a doctorate in sociology and a teaching diploma in economics. His research focuses on urban and gender sociology, with special interest in the sociopolitical effects of the reorganized Western metropolis. Quartiers gays, published in 2014, compiles his research on these subjects in France and North America.


Quartiers gays

Based on a thesis of comparative sociology, the book examines “gay neighborhoods”: urban spaces which have attracted media and cultural attention over the past thirty years, but have been largely ignored by the social sciences, especially in France. Since the early 1980’s, the gay neighborhood has contributed to the growing visibility of homosexuality in Europe and North America, but what is really known about these specific areas? How were they born? What drove settlement in these neighborhoods? Clichés have abounded in media representations, but Giraud’s survey of Paris and Montreal sheds light on lingering questions, such as the gay impact on gentrification and the increasing drive for coexistence in the metropolis. International convergences exist, but so too do local and national specificities for each neighborhood. The results of Giraud’s study question the standard explanations of social and historical changes in urban spaces, the role of homosexuality in European and North American society, and the different ways in which we experience the city today. Quartiers Gays, Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2014.

Suggested lectures

Gaytrification: How do Gay Men Gentrify the City?
From New York and Paris, to San Francisco, Berlin, and beyond, gay men have, for a few decades now, played a major role in urban gentrification. They’ve used the city as a means to create a visible and collective identity while changing the social environment of the urban landscape. Based on a comparative study between Paris and Montreal, Quartier Gays explores the role of gay men in the development of urban gentrification and examines how their influence has shaped the modern city. 

Gay Neighborhoods: A Sociological Point of View
Gay neighborhoods have emerged as a staple of the western metropolis. It is now common to see and visit gay areas where tourists and locals enjoy the culture of an open-minded environment, sometimes to such an extent that we forget the decades of development which led to the acceptance of these neighborhoods. What has happened since the initial recognition of gay neighborhoods in the 1970’s? How were gay men able to find a place for their identities, and how did that change the city? Are gay neighborhoods still necessary in the landscape of contemporary homosexuality?

If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form and email it to Anne-Sophie Hermil at anne-sophie.hermil@diplomatie.gouv.fr