Containing Diversity: Canada and the Politics of Immigration in the 21st Century

Abu-Laben, Y., Gabriel, C. and Tungohan, E. (Under Contract)
University of Toronto Press

The book is divided into six chapters. The first chapter discusses background and the framework for the analysis. Chapters Two and Three provide an assessment of the changing contours and the development of Canadian immigration policy that shifted the construction of the “ideal” or “model” citizens – “white settler society” (p. 30) – to a policy which favoured those who could contribute to Canada’s labour market regardless of their country of origin. These chapters also address the broad implications of change. Chapter Four traces multiculturalism policy from its roots in the 1970s to current incarnations of multiculturalism that increasingly emphasize the commodification of “minorities” and “minority culture.” Special attention is paid to the consequences of changing policy directions for women and people of colour. Chapter Five provides a detailed look at the development of employment equity at the federal level and in Ontario, which adopted even more comprehensive employment equity measures than the federal government. However, this chapter also shows that there has been a retreat by the state from labour market regulation and equity, whereas business is embracing diversity as a business strategy to capitalize on market share. Chapter Six revisits each of the case studies in earlier chapters by expanding some of the findings for broader debates around globalization, public policy, and diversity.

Migrant Care Worker Activism in Canada: From the Politics of Everyday Resistance to the Politics from Below

Tungohan, E. (Under Contract)
University of Illinois Press

The purpose of this dissertation is to understand why, when, and how migrant care workers in Canada have engaged in political actions to resist their living and their working conditions. I do so by analyzing primary source documents at the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian women’s movement archives, conducting interviews with 103 migrant care worker activists across Canada and in various activist sites in Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines and Geneva, Switzerland and attending and observing various events sponsored by local and national organizations in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, by mainstram international organizations like the International Labour Organization (ILO) and by grassroots international organizations like the International Migrants Alliance (IMA). By assessing the multiple scales where migrant care worker activists resist their living and working conditions, I was able to trace the interlinkages between the ‘politics of everyday resistance’, of which migrant care workers’ individual and organizational forms of micro-rebellion are a part, and the ‘politics from below’ that characterizes the Canadian migrant care workers’ ‘movement.’ In doing so, migrant care workers counter academic and popular representations depicting them as being docile and compliant. They demonstrate their capacity to contest individual micro-aggressions at home and at work, to form ‘new’ transnational family arrangements to meet their needs, to shift the discourse on migrant care work, to faciliate important changes to Canada’s policies on migrant care work, to help ensure the passage of the landmark international “Convention on Domestic Work,” and to begin discussions on alternatives to labour migration and to sending countries’ economic dependence on receiving countries, among their many activities. Although the Canadian migrant care workers’ movement has key divisions – namely surrounding activist scope, strategy and normative inclinations – organizations representing migrant care workers are united in their conviction that migrant care workers’ interests matter and merit representation.

Review of the book Strangers at the Gates: Movements and States in Contentious Politics by Sydney Tarrow

Tungohan, E. (2016)
Social Movements, Volume 15(1), 121-123 | doi:10.1080/14742837.2014.997695.

This book contains the products of work carried out over four decades of research in Italy, France, and the United States, and in the intellectual territory between social movements, comparative politics, and historical sociology. Using a variety of methods ranging from statistical analysis to historical case studies to linguistic analysis, the book centers on historical catalogs of protest events and cycles of collective action. Sidney Tarrow places social movements in the broader arena of contentious politics, in relation to states, political parties, and other actors. From peasants and communists in 1960s Italy, to movements and politics in contemporary western polities, to the global justice movement in the new century, the book argues that contentious actors are neither outside of nor completely within politics, but rather they occupy the uncertain territory between total opposition and integration into policy.

Intersectionality and social justice: assessing activists’ use of intersectionality through grassroots migrants’ organizations in Canada

Tungohan, E. (2016)
Politics, Groups, and Identities, Volume 4(3), 347-362 | doi:10.1080/21565503.2015.1064006.

Is intersectionality relevant to activism? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the principles of intersectionality in activist campaigns? This paper answers these questions by critically appraising the work of Migrante-Canada and Gabriela-Ontario, two grassroots migrants’ organizations in Canada. Not only do Migrante-Canada and Gabriela-Ontario represent their members’ diverse and intersecting social locations, they also oppose the effects of interlocking power structures that exacerbate their members’ experiences of oppression. Ultimately, these case studies show that intersectionality provides activist organizations with a normative framework and guidelines for action and is best advanced through the use of a multi-pronged advocacy approach that engages multiple stakeholders, promotes strategically shifting portrayals of its members, and takes place in multiple scales.

Is Global Sisterhood Elusive? A Critical Assessment of the Transnational Women’s Rights Movement

Tungohan, E. (2010)
Atlantis, Volume 34(2), 104-114 | Available at

The United Nations (UN) women’s rights movement has historically ignored differences among women by promoting notions of a unified global sisterhood. In order to rectify the exclusions wrought by equality and difference feminism, intersectional analysis that takes account of group and economic rights becomes crucial. Only then can women’s rights be universal.

International Approaches to Governing Temporary Labour Migrants: A Critical Assessment of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers, the ILO Conventions on Labour Migration, and the International Migrants Alliance

Tungohan, E. (2015)
In J. Boulden and W. Kymlicka (Eds.), International Approaches to Governing Ethnic Diversity (pp. 102-127), Oxford University Press

International organizations are increasingly involved in attempts to address the growing global problem of the mistreatment of migrant workers, with a view to better managing migration flows, so as to achieve the economic benefits of migration without generating conflict. Many states view migrants as a source of illegality or cultural tension, and hence emphasize border control and law and order. Activists and advocates for migrants have tried to introduce more progressive ideas at the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation, emphasizing the role that states play in generating migration. This chapter compares how migrants’ rights are conceptualized in ‘mainstream’ international organizations, such as the UN Committee on Migrant Workers and their Families and the International Labour Organization, and in grassroots organizations such as the International Migrants Alliance. Ultimately, this chapter argues that for migrant activists, participating in all three forums is important because doing so allows them to voice their concerns.

After the Live-in Caregiver Program: Filipina Caregivers’ Experiences of Uneven and Graduated Citizenship

Tungohan, E., Banerjee, R., Chu, W., Cleto, P., de Leon, C., Garcia, M., Kelly, P., Luciano, M., Palmaria, C. and Sorio, C. (2015)
Canadian Ethnic Studies, Volume 47(1), 87-105 | doi:10.1353/ces.2015.0008.

This article assesses the economic precariousness faced by Filipina live-in caregivers during and after the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP). Using survey data and focus group interviews, we argue that live-in caregivers’ unique pathway to immigration lead them to face economic challenges that are distinct from other immigrants. Not only do live-in caregivers face onerous employment conditions under the LCP, they have difficulties transitioning into the Canadian labour market because they face the following challenges: being stigmatized when entering the Canadian labour market, having to take costly educational upgrading courses while simultaneously working in ‘survival’ jobs, and having to be their families’ sole breadwinners. Despite these structural barriers, however, the live-in caregivers in our study strove to transition into Canadian society through their resilience and hard work. Regardless of the economic challenges that they themselves faced during and after the LCP, most saw their future in Canada and felt that coming to the country was “worth it.”

Review of the book Producing and Negotiating Non-Citizenship: Precarious Legal Status in Canada by Luin Goldring and Patricia Landolt

Tungohan, E. (2013)
Law and Politics Book Review, Volume 23(9), 469-472

Most examinations of non-citizens in Canada focus on immigrants, people who are citizens-in-waiting, or specific categories of temporary, vulnerable workers.  In contrast, Producing and Negotiating Non-Citizenship considers a range of people whose pathway to citizenship is uncertain or non-existent. This includes migrant workers, students, refugee claimants, and people with expired permits, all of whom have limited formal rights to employment, housing, education, and health services.

The contributors to this volume present theoretically informed empirical studies of the regulatory, institutional, discursive, and practical terms under which precarious-status non-citizens – those without permanent residence – enter and remain in Canada. They consider the historical and contemporary production of non-citizen precarious status and migrant illegality in Canada, as well as everyday experiences of precarious status among various social groups including youth, denied refugee claimants, and agricultural workers. This timely volume contributes to conceptualizing multiple forms of precarious status non-citizenship as connected through policy and the practices of migrants and the institutional actors they encounter.

Reconceptualizing Motherhood, Reconceptualizing Resistance: Migrant Domestic Workers, Transnational Hyper-Maternalism, and Activism

Tungohan, E. (2013)
International Feminist Journal of Politics, Volume 15(1), 39-57 | doi:10.1080/14616742.2012.699781.

Female labour migrants face contradictory expectations. On the one hand, they are expected to be their families’ and communities’ economic saviours. On the other hand, they are expected to meet their maternal responsibilities even while they are abroad; otherwise, they face charges of maternal neglect. My goal in this article is to highlight how female migrant workers handle these conflicting demands. I discuss how migrant women simultaneously adapt to and challenge imposed family separation through the case study of Filipina live-in caregivers in Canada. They do this in two ways. First, they exhibit transnational hyper-maternalism which allows them to overcome accusations of neglect. They ‘mother across borders’ by providing for their families and by using technology to supervise, monitor and communicate with their children. In doing so, they reify and contest established gender roles. Second, they are active in civil society. In doing so, they highlight the negative consequences migrant women and their families face. Reconceptualized notions of motherhood characterize migrant women’s transnational parenting, while the desire to ameliorate the negative consequences of family separation and reunification explain their activism.

Spectres of (In)visibility: Filipina/o Labour, Culture, and Youth in Canada

Coloma, R., McElhinny, B., Tungohan, E., Catungal, J. P. C. and Davidson, L. (2012)
In B. McElhinny, L. Davidson, J. P. C. Catungal and R. Coloma (Eds.), Disturbing Invisibility: Filipinos in Canada (pp. 5-45), University of Toronto Press

Prevalent conversations in Canadian media, academic, and politicized public spheres tend to represent and account for Filipina/os living in Canada within the tropes of victimized nanny, sel?ess nurse, and problematic gangster youth. These images render hypervisible in social and academic spaces certain problems facing Filipina/o communities, which are then calci?ed as Filipina/o stereotypes. These spectral ?gures on the one hand enable the visibility of Filipina/o lives in Canada within a narrow purview and on the other hand contribute to the misrecognition and alienation of the diverse experiences and histories of Filipina/os in Canada. Filipina/o communities are therefore put into the paradoxical position of being invisible and hypervisible: invisible because numerous kinds of people, problems, and achievements are ignored, and hypervisible because only the stereotypes are deemed relevant and signi?cant for public circulation. In this landmark volume, the ?rst wide-ranging edited collection of academic writings on Filipina/os in Canada, we ask how the contours of Canadian political, academic, and social institutions, both historical and contemporary, shape the politics of Filipina/o invisibility, visibility, and hypervisibility, how Filipina/o spectral ?gures ‘haunt’ processes, representations, and agentive experiences of being and becoming Filipina/o Canadians, and how we can disrupt and intervene in the prevailing themes of the spectral ?gures that have come to de?ne the lives of Filipina/os in Canada