Everyday Politics in Diverse Communities: Spatial Imaginaries of Citizenship within Global Ethnoscapes

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Bronwyn WOOD, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, New Zealand
Many urban young people today experience the everyday realities of global migration and demographic change first-hand as part of their experiences of growing up in culturally ‘hyperdiverse’ neighbourhoods. In cities such as Auckland, New Zealand, overseas-born communities now make up more than 40% of the population. This extent of diversity has a significant impact on young people’s emerging identities, feelings of belonging and their desire to participate as citizens. In this paper I examine how school-aged young people navigate ‘difference’ daily in some of New Zealand most culturally diverse communities. Drawing on focus group and visual data, I explore how they saw themselves as socially and spatially ‘connected’ (or disconnected) to peers and communities and how this shaped their everyday politics and practices. Of significance within hyperdiverse neighbourhoods was the intersectionality of classed, gendered and raced experiences which enabled some young citizens to emerge with ‘distinction’ (Bourdieu, 1984), creating a symbolic hierarchy of belonging and citizenship. Exploring the spatiality of young people’s citizenship imaginaries provided a way to understand this stratification of belonging and drew attention to the heightened significance of space in globalised times. How young people comply, resist and challenge this stratification through everyday acts of citizenship provides insights into spatial and scalar understandings of youth citizenship in transnational times and has implications for how we theorise youth sociologies today.