Seeking Shelter among Settlers: Housing, Governance, and the Urban/Aboriginal Dichotomy

  • Author / Creator
    Crookshanks, John Douglas
  • This dissertation looks at urban housing fields (its policies, services, actors, and structures) in two Canadian cities: Edmonton and Winnipeg. Using a Bourdieusian method of field analysis, I ask how local networks of actors engaged in the struggle over housing resources govern and are governed in the city, with an emphasis on the positions, roles, and experiences of Aboriginal people. Employing an analytic matrix that seeks to cast light on differences amongst Aboriginal people, I ask how and why the shaping of the housing field differentially affects Aboriginal women and men, how some Aboriginal people can meet their needs through gathering valuable resources, and what roles Aboriginal political groups play in the housing fields. Finally, I explore whether strategies for inclusive, Aboriginal collective action are being attempted in urban housing fields, in response to, or in light of, the political-economic order that hinders Aboriginal control over housing. Combining questions about political economy, gender, and Aboriginal politics in Canada, I use a multileveled analysis to show how hegemonic ideas shape housing fields and the people within. At the same time, urban residents of all backgrounds are also responsible for shaping the field around them. Powerful, historically based field structures reward certain kinds of behaviour, but also seek to constitute actors as certain kinds of people. Aboriginal women and men find themselves with behaviours, beliefs, or dispositions that often leave them at odds with cultural, political, and economic forces in the city. I argue that a complex dichotomy that puts Aboriginal people at odds with the ideal urban citizen (the urban/Aboriginal dichotomy) is challenged, or disrupted, by the ways in which people contest the common-sense assumptions of the contemporary housing field. However, a great amount of resources – social, cultural, economic, and symbolic – are required in order to change colonial, patriarchal, and neoliberal structures and shift power from the privileged actors that have benefitted from them for so long.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Political Science
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Altamirano-Jiménez, Isabel (Political Science)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Harder, Lois (Political Science)
    • Peters, Evelyn (Geography)
    • Dacks, Gurston (Emeritus Political Science)
    • Gotell, Lise (Women's and Gender Studies)