Leisure, Place, and Diversity: The Experiences of Ethnic Minority Youth

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT/RESUME

This paper explains the social integration experiences of a group of second-generation Canadian youths who identify primarily with the cultures of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. This group of young Canadians connected with more than one community or place, and for them, leisure was often the vehicle that allowed them to enter and exit three different functional communities with relative ease. These communities are described as the place of their traditional family and home, the place of the dominant culture, and finally, diverse or multicultural leisure places. The results of this study suggest the advantages of ensuring children and youths have opportunities in school and in leisure and recreation activities to learn about diverse cultural practices and to develop friendships with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Further investigation of this particular group is required if we are to understand the long-term implications of their leisure mobility and if, due to that mobility, they have been able to establish a desired level of connection in the various communities they have experienced.

Cet article relate l'integration sociale d'un groupe de jeunes canadiens de deuxieme generation qui ont des liens culturels avec l'Inde, le Pakistan et le Bangladesh. On retrouve ces jeunes Canadiens dans plusieurs lieux et au sein de plusieurs communautes, leurs loisirs leur permettant de joindre et de quitter aisement ces trois communautes fonctionnelles differentes. Leurs familles traditionnelles, leurs maisons familiales, leurs cultures dominantes, et les lieux de loisirs multiculturels se trouvent dans ces communautes. Les resultats de cette etude demontrent qu'il est important de s'assurer que les jeunes ont l'occasion, a l'ecole ou pendant leurs activites parascolaires, de decouvrir differentes pratiques culturelles et de developper des amities avec des personnes issues de milieux culturels varies. Nous devrons entreprendre plus d'etudes portant sur ce groupe afin de comprendre les consequences a long terme de leur mobilite dans le contexte de leurs activites de loisirs et d'examiner si cette mobilite leur a permis d'etablir un lien avec les differentes communautes parmi lesquelles il circule.

INTRODUCTION

For people who have migrated from one country to another, the prospect of being accepted in their new place of residence may be extraordinarily challenging. Arrival and settlement in strange places is usually accompanied by a sense of disembeddedness, or lack of connection to neighbours and colleagues (Jamieson 2000). As part of the transition from one country or settlement to another, new immigrants often seek social support and acceptance in their new communities (Bauman 1996; Jackson 1994; Wolf 1997). However, problems associated with becoming a member of a community are particularly daunting when immigrants are relocating to a place where cultural norms and practices are vastly different from the ones they have known in their countries of origin.

One of the primary reasons for immigration is to improve one's economic well being. In recent decades, migration flows have been from "East" to "West," that is, from the former Soviet Union and from Eastern bloc countries to the United States, Canada, and Israel, and from countries of the "South" to countries of the "North," as from South Asia to Canada (Chiswick and Miller 2002). The young people whose situation is discussed in this paper fall into the latter group; their families immigrated to Canada from South Asia. In these recent migrations, people arriving in a host country like Canada often look and sound different from the residents of the host country, and their distinctiveness in terms of language, clothing, religion, and other cultural practices may result in their marginalization. To learn the language skills necessary to get jobs and to achieve a sense of belonging, immigrant groups may cluster into concentrated areas of similar immigrants or enclaves where they find important sources of social support, whether that be in employment opportunities, leisure, education, or shelter. …

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