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    Here, there, everywhere: The relational geographies of chemsex

    Di Feliciantonio, Cesare ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4830-5212 (2023) Here, there, everywhere: The relational geographies of chemsex. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. ISSN 0020-2754

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    In recent years sexualised drug use, usually referred to as chemsex, has become the object of intense media health-related panic and increasing academic scrutiny. Critical social scientists have challenged pathologising perspectives, analysing the socio-cultural and political economy dimensions of chemsex. Against the silence of geographers in this emerging field, the paper develops a geographical relational analysis of chemsex, focusing on the experiences of gay men living with HIV in two Italian cities (Bologna; Milan) and Italian gay men living with HIV in three English cities (Leicester; London; Manchester). Demonstrating the constitutive role of place in the practice of chemsex, the paper frames place relationally, that is, as the encounter between here and there, the material and the virtual, imagined geographies and lived spaces. To emphasise the central role of place and geographical knowledge to understand chemsex, the paper builds on ‘weak theory’, as it conceives things as open, entangled, connected and in flux, while focusing on ordinary practices and heterogeneity in more-than-human worlds. Showing how chemsex represents an embodied, relational geographical encounter among different human and non-human actors, places (both physical and digital), imaginations and desires, the paper highlights the role of sexual practices in the relational construction of place-making, therefore calling for an increased engagement with sex itself within the field of geographies of sexualities.

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