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Gender, Ethnicity, and Hybrid Forms of Community-Based Urban Activism in Vancouver, 1957-1978: The Strathcona story revisited

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In the 1960s and early 1970s, residents of the neighbourhood of Strathcona in the city of Vancouver, Canada, successfully fought the grand designs of planners, engineers, politicians and developers to displace residents, demolish homes, clear lands, and rebuild the area. Against all odds, a relatively politically powerless group of residents and their supporters from diverse ethnic and class backgrounds formed a neighbourhood organization, the Strathcona Property Owners and Tenants Association (SPOTA) to mount a last-ditch struggle to defend their homes, ways of life, and right to place. This article re-examines existing explanations of these historic events. It identifies the unique activism of ethnic minority women, and introduces the concept of culturally hybrid forms of oppositional practice - the interaction of cultural practices of the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural residents of Strathcona with mainstream Canadian political discourse and structures. The article stresses the critical importance of broadening and complicating existing analyses of multi-ethnic women's community-based urban activism as a way of rethinking feminist conceptualizations of movement activism around place and identity.

Keywords: Chinese; Ethnic minority women; Strathcona; community-based urban movements; culturally hybrid resistance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada

Publication date: 2007-08-01

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