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Portuguese Women in Toronto

Portuguese Women in Toronto: Gender, Immigration, and Nationalism

Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Portuguese Women in Toronto
    Book Description:

    Comparing across two generations of Portuguese Canadian women, the book delves into issues such as cultural heterogeneity among Portuguese immigrants, the ambiguity of work and gender politics, and the concept of 'home' versus nationalism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7864-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables, Figures, and Maps
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Chapter One Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    Nationalism in Canada, expressed in the politics of multiculturalism and in labour-market-oriented immigration policies, creates gender, class, and ethnic divides. In the process, many immigrant women and their descendants are defined differently from men in terms of their access to the rights and resources of the state. Nationalist projects, in which ethnic groups collectively identify with two (or more) nation-states, may appear to be strategically advantageous in an era of global restructuring, when downsizing and job losses have occurred in the sectors in which many immigrants are employed. In fact, nationalist projects are highly individualistic strategies which are limited in...

  6. Chapter Two Where Have All the Women Gone?
    (pp. 17-37)

    Fragments about the lives of Portuguese immigrant women in Canada can be found in state archival material, census data, newspaper stories, and the scant references to their journeys and arrivals in histories of migrations to Canada. Their relative absence in historical records is related to the way in which both immigration and multicultural policy, and most researchers and writers, have defined them as dependants or wives of men. Over fifteen years ago, Estellie Smith explained why Portuguese Azorean women in the United States, like other immigrant women, have been invisible in studies of migration. She wrote that womenʹs ʹstructural significance...

  7. Chapter Three Culture, Politics, and Resistance in the Household
    (pp. 38-62)

    This chapter explores the experience of Portuguese women and men in households that are undergoing transformation, responding to internal life cycles, as well as to the external demands of the Canadian and international economy, politics, and culture. The experiences of firstand second-generation Portuguese women and men – the first generation coming from villages, towns, and cities in Portugal and recreating households in Toronto, and the second generation, loosening the household bonds so carefully tended by their parents and remaking other ʹhomesʹ – are the fabric of this exploration.

    Through the stories of four women, I critique homogeneous notions of Portuguese...

  8. Chapter Four Working Lives
    (pp. 63-89)

    The working lives of Portuguese women in paid employment form a complex and multi-layered story which encompasses the many aspects of their identities as Canadian and/or Portuguese, as members of a particular class, and as mothers, wives, daughters, activists, and students. We now move our focus outward to the paid workplace and employment politics of Portuguese women in Toronto. It is in paid workplaces that the more ruthless aspects of Canadian state policy concerning immigration and ethnic identity are most keenly felt. As we focus on the everyday working lives of these women, the effects of Canadian state immigration and...

  9. Chapter Five Ethnoculturalism, Education, and Restructuring
    (pp. 90-111)

    Nationalisms exist to protect and promote the interests of specific, usually ethnically defined groups. In the absence of alliances with labour unions, anti-racist and feminist organizations, or health and education coalitions, ethnicity intersects with class and becomes a dominant form of organization among many immigrant groups. In Canada, the ethnic nationalisms associated with immigrant groups are unlikely ever to develop into full-fledged nationalist struggles (i.e., involving military action and claims to territory in Canada).¹ In fact, most forms of ethnic nationalism are controlled and managed by a dominant classbased, Anglo-nationalism, expressed in Canadian state multiculturalist policies. Those basing their claims...

  10. Chapter Six Conclusion – Nationalisms and Differences
    (pp. 112-130)

    In this final chapter I attempt to bring together the three themes that have shaped my argument. First, the life histories, case studies, and statistical data, particularly as defined in Chapters One through Four, constitute a critique of essentialist frameworks that define Portuguese and other immigrants and their descendants in unitary, homogeneous ways that become the basis for an unequal distribution of state resources. Canadian immigration and multicultural state policy have demonstrated little enthusiasm for recognizing and addressing the needs of Portuguese women as immigrantworkerswho are part of a restructuring industrial workforce. Second, the renegotiation of citizenship that...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 131-138)
  12. References
    (pp. 139-152)
  13. Index
    (pp. 153-161)