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‘Off the wall’: reading community mural making as a contestable site of urban youth governance

‘Off the wall’: reading community mural making as a contestable site of urban youth governance This paper weighs in on discussions contemplating the current state of arts programing targeting ‘at risk’ youth as handmaiden to a strategic neoliberal cosmopolitanism. I examine a City of Toronto, Canada, youth governance initiative that sought to link graffiti abatement, neighborhood beautification and gentrification through mural production, and ‘at risk’ youth civic engagement and crime prevention. While these coordinates were designed to harness racialised youth within a matrix of disciplinary practices concerned with risk mediation and economic productivity, program participants and youth workers drew from the aesthetics of multiculturalism as resource to navigate the governance dictates of the Grafitti Transformation Project. I focus on one particular incident that unfolded over a week-long period at a youth serving agency located in one of Toronto’s designated ‘Priority Neighbourhoods’. The incident illustrates in granular detail a politics of multicultural citizenship and belonging articulating at the limits of what was conceived for the project. I then consider analytical and practice lessons to be learned about the political aesthetics and ‘cultures of youth praxis’ by examining the workings of power leveled in such moments of tension, and by assessing the contours of an alternative multicultural sensibility forwarded when disruption occurs. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Youth Studies Taylor & Francis

‘Off the wall’: reading community mural making as a contestable site of urban youth governance

Journal of Youth Studies , Volume 21 (1): 16 – Jan 2, 2018

‘Off the wall’: reading community mural making as a contestable site of urban youth governance

Journal of Youth Studies , Volume 21 (1): 16 – Jan 2, 2018

Abstract

This paper weighs in on discussions contemplating the current state of arts programing targeting ‘at risk’ youth as handmaiden to a strategic neoliberal cosmopolitanism. I examine a City of Toronto, Canada, youth governance initiative that sought to link graffiti abatement, neighborhood beautification and gentrification through mural production, and ‘at risk’ youth civic engagement and crime prevention. While these coordinates were designed to harness racialised youth within a matrix of disciplinary practices concerned with risk mediation and economic productivity, program participants and youth workers drew from the aesthetics of multiculturalism as resource to navigate the governance dictates of the Grafitti Transformation Project. I focus on one particular incident that unfolded over a week-long period at a youth serving agency located in one of Toronto’s designated ‘Priority Neighbourhoods’. The incident illustrates in granular detail a politics of multicultural citizenship and belonging articulating at the limits of what was conceived for the project. I then consider analytical and practice lessons to be learned about the political aesthetics and ‘cultures of youth praxis’ by examining the workings of power leveled in such moments of tension, and by assessing the contours of an alternative multicultural sensibility forwarded when disruption occurs.

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References (36)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN
1469-9680
eISSN
1367-6261
DOI
10.1080/13676261.2017.1343460
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper weighs in on discussions contemplating the current state of arts programing targeting ‘at risk’ youth as handmaiden to a strategic neoliberal cosmopolitanism. I examine a City of Toronto, Canada, youth governance initiative that sought to link graffiti abatement, neighborhood beautification and gentrification through mural production, and ‘at risk’ youth civic engagement and crime prevention. While these coordinates were designed to harness racialised youth within a matrix of disciplinary practices concerned with risk mediation and economic productivity, program participants and youth workers drew from the aesthetics of multiculturalism as resource to navigate the governance dictates of the Grafitti Transformation Project. I focus on one particular incident that unfolded over a week-long period at a youth serving agency located in one of Toronto’s designated ‘Priority Neighbourhoods’. The incident illustrates in granular detail a politics of multicultural citizenship and belonging articulating at the limits of what was conceived for the project. I then consider analytical and practice lessons to be learned about the political aesthetics and ‘cultures of youth praxis’ by examining the workings of power leveled in such moments of tension, and by assessing the contours of an alternative multicultural sensibility forwarded when disruption occurs.

Journal

Journal of Youth StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 2, 2018

Keywords: Youth work; ethnicity; exclussion; citizenship; youth culture

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