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Shots Fired: Experiences of Gun Violence and Victimization in Toronto Social Housing

  • Author / Creator
    Berardi, Luca
  • In my dissertation, I examine how residents of a Toronto social housing project called Lawrence Heights – a de facto Canadian ghetto – manage the day-to-day realities of gun violence and victimization in their neighbourhood. Grounded in nearly 5-years of ethnographic fieldwork (including 75 formal interviews, hundreds of informal interviews, and thousands of pages of ethnographic field notes), my project engages with literature on street knowledge, street codes, and victimization to explore how random and recurring gun violence affects the actions and perceptions of local residents. More specifically, it examines how young black men in Lawrence Heights – the exclusive targets of gun violence in this community – negotiate the social and spatial realities of danger and risk in their neighborhood, relying on what I call ‘neighbourhood wisdom’ (chapter 3), ‘the code of survival’ (chapter 4), and the ‘on point - slipping framework’ (chapter 5). Ultimately, my findings illustrate that despite living in a de facto ghetto characterized by concentrated poverty, lethal violence, and disorder, residents of this Toronto social housing project have found ways to allow social and community life to continue – adapting, in other words, to an otherwise paralyzing socio-spatial milieu. This dissertation sheds light on the lived experiences of one of Canada’s most marginalized populations, calling for more nuanced and ‘on the ground’ understandings of poverty, crime, and victimization in the Canadian context.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3QR4P65V
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.