Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

New Modes of Becoming in Transcultural Glocal Spaces: Second-Generation Youth in Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

New Modes of Becoming in Transcultural Glocal Spaces: Second-Generation Youth in Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto

Article excerpt

Abstract

Second generation youth are currently the focus of much research and policy attention with respect to their integration, which is not yet well understood. Based on graphic and narrative data recently collected in three cities, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto, we analyse second generation youth's patterns in glocal spaces where transcultural modes of belonging are created and lived. Our analysis focuses on attachments to locality and a continuum of mobilities of mind, body, and boundaries. The findings are interpreted in terms of the complexities of their integration processes as well as their relevance to social policy development.

Resume

Les jeunes de la deuxieme generation issue de l'immigration sont presentement au centre d'une attention particuliere de la recherche et de la politique par rapport a leur integration qui n'est pas encore tres bien comprise. A partir de donnees graphiques et narratives recemment recueillies dans trois villes, Toronto, Winnipeg et Calgary, nous analysons les modules de tels jeunes dans des espaces glocaux ou des modes d'appartenance transculturelles sont crees et vecues. L'analyse met l'accent sur leurs attaches a la localite ainsi qu'un continuum de mobilites de la pensee, du corps et des frontieres. Les resultats sont interpretes par rapport a la complexite de leurs processus d'integration et a leur pertinence par rapport au developpement de politique sociale.

INTRODUCTION

Second generation youth are currently receiving much research and policy attention with respect to their integration, a process of considerable relevance to the ideals and lived realities of Canadian multiculturalism. The research literature on the second generation is marked, however, by several debates pertaining to the nature of the group, research method, representation, and interpretation, all of which are central to youth studies generally. Moreover, germane to the second generation and youth debates, there are new cultural flows and new modes of belonging in local and global spaces, that is, new modes of identity production in spaces that are transcultural and glocal. Situated within these debates, we bring these new theoretical perspectives to bear on the analysis of rich textual and graphic data, portraying an array of multilayered, lived experiences of second generation adolescents in three cities in Canada, suggesting complex general characteristics and processes of this generation and the relevance of their experiences to social policy.

THE YOUTH DEBATES

Who are the second generation? How are they conceptualised and studied? The nature of youth, as a generation or cohort, as a free-choice agent or subject to structural change, is critical to discussions of second generation youth. As a social and chronological construct, youth was created with the emergence of the industrial revolution and its concomitant changing requirements for new labour integral to capitalist development, for family structure and home life (Aries 1965; Gillis 1974).

The definitional debates ponder whether "youth" are a social generation sharing a particular homogeneous value set and or experience, a birth cohort, a stage of life or a transition period, active subjects or victims of structural changes in society (Arnett 2006, 2004, 2002; Arnett and Tanner 2006; Attias-Donfut et Lapierre 1994; Bynner 2005; Gauthier 2001; Lemieux 1986; Roberts 2007; Simard 1999; Wyn and Woodman 2006). In a recent contribution, Wyn and Woodman propose that each social generation includes a number of age cohorts or generational units, where the latter are "groups that react in different ways due to their different social position within a social generation" (2007, 373), providing two arguments in support of their position. First, the conceptualisation of youth as social generations is "attuned to the possibility and potential salience of 'new markers'" such as class, gender, race, geographical location and other structures of inequality which persist across time, but with new forms of expression and identification, new performances of identities and new burdens on disadvantaged groups (375; Bock 2007). …

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