UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

White picket fences : whiteness, urban Aboriginal women and housing market discrimination in Kelowna, British Columbia Lewis, Sheila Elaine


This thesis analyses hegemonic whiteness as a socio-spatial structure and discursive formation, and the way that whiteness interlocks with other axes of identity, such as class and gender, to affect accessibility to the housing market for urban Aboriginal women in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Twelve participants were recruited and interviewed through the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society. The research methods for this thesis involved discourse analysis of embodied practices (after Kirsten Simonsen). Interviews with Aboriginal women about their experiences in the housing market revealed two clear patterns of gendered, classed, and racialized divisions of urban space. Aboriginal women note that the housing search, and subsequent residence in Kelowna (often as opposed to residence on a local ‘Indian Reserve’ outside the city), places them in a situation that they define as being under surveillance. Aboriginal women are particularly aware of how they are being watched or monitored by what most of them refer to as the ‘mainstream society’ in Kelowna, by which they mean white residents of the city. In a similar fashion, Aboriginal women are very clear about the fact that their participation in the housing market is racialized, and they are subject to a number of problematic constructions of their identity when searching for housing. In recounting Aboriginal women’s experiences, I attempt to provide an analysis of the classed, gendered, and racialized processes that work in interlocking fashion to produce the white landscape of housing in Kelowna, BC, Canada.

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Attribution 3.0 Unported