Valerie Preston Presents: "It's a White Man's World ... even in Multicultural Toronto"

FEB 20, 2020 | 4:30 PM TO 6:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




February 20, 2020: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM





Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC)


The Toronto metropolitan area is rapidly becoming a ‘majority minority city’ marked by social differentiation within and between ethno-racial minorities. Even in this officially multicultural city, gendered white privilege persists among the adult children of immigrants. To understand why white men from the second generation still do better in the Toronto labor market than minorities and women, who are often more highly educated, we compare and contrast the employment experiences of second generation men and women. Our findings examine how gender, ethno-racial identity, and generational status considered together lead to unequal economic outcomes and differentiated employment experiences. Quantitative analyses of occupational status and income show that outcomes for black, South Asian, Chinese, Southern European, and dominant white women and men from the second generation are quite different despite their shared experience of education in Canada. Ethno-racial group and second generation status affect gender differences in occupations and income. Information from in-depth interviews highlights how the second generation’s interpretations of labour market advantages and disadvantages are shaped by their understandings of immigrant parents’ economic experiences and their own encounters with racialized and gendered exclusion. These discourses are also informed by the ways in which social difference is produced in place. Workplaces are certainly crucial in this regard, as are the residential environments of childhood and adulthood. Overall, the study illustrates the complexities of super-diversity and the merits of a geographical approach for examining it.

Valerie Preston is Professor in the Department of Geography at York University, Toronto, Canada. She has been a visiting professor at University of Melbourne, Institut national de la recherche scientifique –urbanisation culture société, and University of British Columbia and an Academic Resident at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center. An urban social geographer, her research interests include international migration, especially the varied economic and educational trajectories of the second generation living in super-diverse cities and gendered and racialized inequalities in local labor and housing markets. Currently, she leads a partnership of academic researchers, community practitioners, and government policymakers entitled Building Migrant Resilience in Cities/ Immigration et résilience en milieu urbain that is investigating a social resilience approach to inclusion of newcomers in contemporary cities. Co-author of Social Infrastructure and Vulnerability in the Suburbs (University of Toronto Press, 2015) and the recently released Everyday Equalities: Making Multicultures in Settler Colonial Societies (University of Minnesota Press, 2019), she is also co-editor of Liberating Temporariness? Migration, Work and Citizenship in an Age of Insecurity (McGill-Queens University Press, 2014) and When Care Work Goes Global: Locating the Social Relations of Domestic Work (Routledge, 2014).