Sun-tanning with Deleuze and Guattari in greater Sydney, Australia

Publication Name

Gender, Place and Culture


This paper is about relational becomings and opposing forces that may occur when white skin becomes tanned over the course of everyday life. In the Australian context of beach leisure culture and rising melanoma rates, the article draws on the only three participants with diverse ancestry from a larger qualitative research project conducted with 40 young men and women in Greater Sydney, New South Wales. I argue that Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblage thinking, specifically three related concepts of a lifeline have much to offer feminist geographers: molar lines (segmented lines), rupture lines (lines of flight) and molecular lines (crack lines). Here, I illustrate the potential of assemblage thinking to analyse the reciprocal relations between tanning, skin, gender, race and place. I illustrate how tanning sensations are comprised of contradictory forces. I argue that while participants do not escape the molar lines of gender and a Black-White racial dichotomy, there are molecular lines that temporarily disrupt these gendered and racialised regimes.

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