Social Inequality: Keeping up Appearances

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Book Chapter

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participatory action research, youth, suburban, social inequality, sociology, social conditions, sociological perspectives, diversity


This chapter examines social inequality in the suburbs from the perspective of young people living in, Burlington, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. On the surface, Burlington is a city that is regarded as a prototypical suburb. It has a bastion image of being home to the nuclear family and is made synonymous with the symbol of the white picket fence.

This chapter demonstrates how social inequality is often perpetuated by cultural norms that minimize difference. Cultural norms that encourage a certain homogenization of people perpetuate social inequality insofar as differences are glossed over with a veneer of neutrality. Using personal narratives and experiences, this research examines the pervasiveness of “intentional sameness” and how social inequality is “culturally managed” in suburbia. The commercial reconstitution of “normal” and consumer culture are two social forces that perpetuate this minimization of difference.


Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies (FAHCS)

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.