Temporary Migrant Workers’ Engagement and (Dis)engagement with the Policy Process

Tungohan, E. (Book Chapter Accepted)
In L. Levac and S. M. Wiebe (Eds.), Creating Spaces of Engagement (pp. 294-311),

There is a growing need for public buy-in if democratic processes are to run smoothly. But who exactly is “the public”? What does their engagement in policy-making processes look like? How can our understanding of “the public” be expanded to include – or be led by – diverse voices and experiences, particularly of those who have been historically marginalized? And what does this expansion mean not only for public policies and their development, but for how we teach policy? Drawing upon public engagement case studies, sites of inquiry, and vignettes, this volume raises and responds to these and other questions while advancing policy justice as a framework for public engagement and public policy. Stretching the boundaries of deliberative democracy in theory and practice, Creating Spaces of Engagement offers critical reflections on how diverse publics are engaged in policy processes.

Duterte, Philippine Overseas Workers, and the Ethics of Representation

Tungohan, E. (Article Accepted)
Verge: Studies in Global Asia

Verge: Studies in Global Asias showcases scholarship on “Asian” topics from across the humanities and humanistic social sciences, while recognizing that the changing scope of “Asia” as a concept and method is today an object of vital critical concern. Deeply transnational and transhistorical in scope, Verge emphasizes thematic and conceptual links among the disciplines and regional/area studies formations that address Asia in a variety of particularist (national, subnational, individual) and generalist (national, regional, global) modes. Responding to the ways in which large-scale social, cultural, and economic concepts like the world, the globe, or the universal (not to mention East Asian cousins like tianxia or datong) are reshaping the ways we think about the present, the past and the future, the journal publishes scholarship that occupies and enlarges the proximities among disciplinary and historical fields, from the ancient to the modern periods. The journal emphasizes multidisciplinary engagement—a crossing and dialogue of the disciplines that does not erase disciplinary differences, but uses them to make possible new conversations and new models of critical thought.

Mula Sa Masa, Tungo Sa Masa, From the People, For the People: Building Migrant Worker Power through Participatory Action Research

Francisco-Menchavez, V. and Tungohan, E. (2020)
Migration Letters, Volume 17(2), 257-264

In this article, we explore the possibilities of Participatory Action Research (PAR) producing ethical and nuanced knowledge that contributes to developing Filipino migrant workers’ capacity for sustainable political organizing. We discuss our projects with Filipino migrant organizations in the U.S. and Canada. We theorize on the potential of PAR with migrants who are part of highly precarious workforces in global cities. Additionally, we, as immigrant women of colour and scholars, highlight the tensions between academic ethos that prioritizes a rapid ‘publish-or-perish’ culture and the ethos of PAR, which puts into place collaborative processes that can be at odds with the ‘tempo’ of academic work. We highlight the tensions between the academic and reproductive labour of PAR, with the latter being seen by many academic institutions as an ‘inconvenience’ impeding productivity.

Equality and Recognition or Transformation and Dissent? Intersectionality and the Filipino Migrants Movement in Canada

Tungohan, E. (2019)
In C. Montoya and S. Lang (Eds.), Gendered Mobilizations, Intersectional Challenges (pp. 208-225),

A long and ongoing challenge for social justice movements has been how to address difference. Traditional strategies have often emphasized universalizing messages and common identities as means of facilitating collective action. Feminist movements, gay liberation movements, racial justice movements, and even labour movements, have all focused predominantly on respective singular dimensions of oppression. Each has called on diverse groups of people to mobilize, but without necessarily acknowledging or grappling with other relevant dimensions of identity and oppression. While focusing on commonality can be an effective means of mobilization, universalist messages can also obscure difference and can serve to exclude and marginalize groups in already precarious positions. Scholars and activists, particularly those located at the intersection of these movements, have long advocated for more inclusive approaches that acknowledge the significance and complexity of different social locations, with mixed success.

A Question of Caring: Ethical and Policy Dilemmas Arising from Care Migration

Tungohan, E. and Hanley, J. (2019)
International Journal of Care and Caring, Volume 3(2), 225-227

The absence of institutional support for widely available and accessible care, the insufficient numbers of care workers, and many other factors have led to a worldwide care deficit. Indeed, the International Labour Organization (ILO) argues that there will be a ‘severe and unsustainable global care crisis’ unless new policy solutions are proposed (Addati et al, 2018: xxvii).

A Question of Caring?

Tungohan, E. and Hanley, J. (2019)
International Journal of Caring and Culture, Volume 3(2), 225-227

The absence of institutional support for widely available and accessible care, the insufficient numbers of care workers, and many other factors have led to a worldwide care deficit. Indeed, the International Labour Organization (ILO) argues that there will be a ‘severe and unsustainable global care crisis’ unless new policy solutions are proposed (Addati et al, 2018: xxvii).

Living with Compromised Legal Status: Irregular Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta and the Importance of Imagining, Strategizing and Inter-Provincial Legal Consciousness

Tungohan, E. (2018)
International Migration, Volume 56(6), 207-220

This article highlights the manifold ways that migrants strategically use their social networks in order to survive in Alberta with compromised legal status. The conditionality of their status is affected by individual encounters and by new policy developments, showing that their ability to control their life trajectories is constrained by factors beyond their control. Nevertheless, although they experienced high amounts of stress because of their situations, the role played by cognitive processes, which include imagining, strategizing, and what I call “inter?provincial legal consciousness”, allowed them to exercise agency. These processes allowed them to build communities and networks of support and to imagine potential life paths in other provinces through other provinces’ provincial nominee programmes.

The Transformative and Radical Feminism of Grassroots Migrant Women’s Movement(s) in Canada

Tungohan, E. (2017)
Canadian Journal of Political Science, Volume 50(2), 479-494 | doi:10.1017/S0008423917000622.

I argue in this article that migrant workers’ resistance to neoliberalism, as seen through their participation in the migrant organizations highlights their ability to establish ‘spaces of power’ amid debilitating living and working conditions. This, then, illustrates how feminism in the 21st century is alive and well. In fact, the strengths of their activism show the transformative and radical possibilities of feminism by highlighting that structural transformations, and not only liberal attempts at inclusion, are necessary for gender justice.

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.

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.