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All aboard? Women working the spaces of gentrification in Toronto's Junction

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Despite early attention being paid to the connections amongst ‘gender, work and gentrification’ in the urban geography literature, there have been few attempts to examine the experiences of women as workers in gentrifying neighbourhoods. This gap leaves open critical questions about the nature of the links between the production of gendered work practices and the production of gentrified urban landscapes. In this article, I explore how women working in a variety of differently precarious situations – as struggling small business owners, self-employed workers and part-time workers – manage the tensions and contradictions of struggling for economic survival while attempting to support community-building efforts and social reproduction needs in a gentrifying area. Using data drawn from interviews and urban ethnographic methods in Toronto's ‘Junction’ neighbourhood, I argue that precarious conditions of work in the context of gentrification engender a variety of diverse economic and social practices – developed through immaterial and affective labour – that, in turn, produce particular, and often contradictory, social and economic landscapes of gentrification. I will explore the ways in which gendered vulnerabilities and insecurities are ironically produced, in part, by the feminized consumption landscape, which primes neighbourhoods for widespread gentrification. Through examining these dynamics, we can begin to theorize the structural production of precarity, and in particular, gendered precarity, through urban processes such as gentrification.
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Keywords: (precarity); Toronto; gender; gentrificación; gentrification; género; immaterial labour; precariedad; precarity; trabajo; trabajo inmaterial; work

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography & Environment, Mount Allison University, 144 Main Street Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada E4L1A7,

Publication date: June 1, 2013

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