Critical Intersections of Gender, Race and Ethnicity: Leisure Constraints, Negotiations and Resistances of Immigrant Adolescent Girls
Valtchanov, Bronwen L.
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Leisure can provide a central context for the core adolescent issue of identity development. Given the importance of leisure in adolescents’ lives, it is imperative to understand the constraints to leisure and possible constraint negotiations. While extensive research exists on the leisure constraints and negotiations of adults, there is a notable paucity of similar research which addresses the potentially unique constraints and negotiations experienced by adolescents, with a particular lack of focus on adolescent girls from diverse races and ethnicities. As such, this research sought to explore the leisure constraints, negotiations and resistances of diverse adolescent girls. Guided by a feminist theoretical and methodological approach, the current research involved nine conversational interviews with immigrant adolescent girls, representing diverse races and ethnicities. It became clear that girls experienced numerous constraints, but also crucially negotiated constraints, and mobilized their leisure as resistance. As immigrant adolescent girls, participants each embarked on a personal journey, which spanned both the exterior geographies and interior landscapes of their two distinct cultures, back home and in Canada. Participants’ points of departure provided a mapping of some of the contours of their life back home, including structural constraints, gender constraints and gender resistances. As participants left home for Canada, they discovered a different world, fraught with its own leisure constraints. These Canadian leisure constraints encompassed all three major forms of constraints: structural, intrapersonal and interpersonal. Within this new world, participants also experienced racism and gender constraints. Significantly, participants discovered ways to navigate the Canadian constraints they encountered and resisted racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice. Finally, beyond an articulation of constraints and negotiations, girls’ leisure experiences revealed the intersections of influences and identities. Participants also unpacked continuing and emerging leisure identities and embraced leisure as a cultural connection.