Cultural Mixers: Race, Space, and Intercultural Relations among Youth in East-end Toronto


  • Anuppiriya Sriskandarajah York University



Habitus, Bourdieu, Toronto, Race, Eat End Toronto, Neighbourhoods, Youth, Ethno-racial Youth, Ethnography, Politics of Belonging


The objective of this study is to examine the way youth negotiate belonging in two priority neighbourhoods – Malvern and Chester Li – in Toronto’s east-end. It asks how youth experience belonging and negotiate difference in ‘priority neighbourhoods’. In what ways does space shape belonging and difference? In contrast to previous studies that are spatially decontextualized, I argue that neighbourhoods are the very sites where youth negotiate differences and connections as they engage with peers, families, friends and residents. The importance of space in studying youth’s sense of belonging is particularly valuable in Toronto where neighbourhoods are highly diverse and stratified. My work is inspired by Yuval-Davis’s (2006) notion of belonging and the politics of belonging and Bourdieu’s (1984) concepts of social field and habitus. I braid together a conceptual framework with the aim to achieve a more nuanced understanding of the ways power operates in the everyday context of ‘priority neighbourhoods’ and how processes of inclusion and exclusion and boundaries of belonging are demarcated.