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The New African Diaspora in Vancouver

The New African Diaspora in Vancouver: Migration, Exclusion and Belonging

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 288
  • Book Info
    The New African Diaspora in Vancouver
    Book Description:

    The New African Diaspora in Vancouvermaps out how African immigrants negotiate these multiple dimensions of local exclusion while at the same time creating new spaces of belonging and emerging collective identity.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9518-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction: Migration, Diaspora Spaces, and ʹCanadiannessʹ
    (pp. 3-19)

    Nearly one in five Canadians was born abroad, and two hundred thousand to three hundred thousand new immigrants arrive in Canada each year (Statistics Canada 2007, 7–9). Only Australia has a higher proportion of immigrants in its population (Statistics Canada 2007, 8). Not surprisingly, given its centrality for Canadian nation building, immigration is often a topic of political controversy. The subject of these political debates is invariably the imagined Canadian public, social fabric, or economy, with putative newcomers positioned as objects of policy interventions: Should numbers be increased or decreased? What types of immigrants should be recruited? How can...

  5. 1 A New African Diaspora
    (pp. 20-32)

    Migrants to Canada enter existing relations that are embedded in a specific history of place. The history of colonialism in Canada generated centuries of preference for European migrants and, until the late 1960s, laws and practices that were designed to limit or prevent the immigration of Africans and Asians. Peoples of African origin have a long, though often unrecognized, presence in Canada that dates back to the seventeenth century; they include slaves who were brought to the new colonies and, after the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, loyalists and escaped U.S. slaves who arrived through the underground railroad...

  6. 2 Erasing Linguistic Capital
    (pp. 33-60)

    The majority of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa (81% of the women and 70% of the men) in this study reported having fluency in English before migrating to Canada (see table 6). This included all but one participant from countries that form part of the British Commonwealth (97%)¹ and more than one-third of interviewees from other parts of Africa (36%). The legacy of British colonialism in Commonwealth Africa marks English as an official national language, which is widely spoken among the educated middle class, and indeed education beyond primary school is largely conducted in English (Phillipson and Skutnabb-Kangas 1995). Immigrants who...

  7. 3 Downward Mobility, Class Dislocation, and Labour Market Barriers
    (pp. 61-106)

    Labour market integration is a central measure of successful settlement for new immigrants. Canadian immigration policies are designed to recruit skilled workers, professionals, and entrepreneurs in the belief that their human capital will readily translate into employment opportunities. However, in reality, local labour markets devalue people, skills, and qualifications that are not defined as ʹCanadian.ʹ Hence the Canadian labour market constitutes a diaspora space that immigrants find difficult to negotiate – a space whereforeignnessof experience, education, and accents is a synonym fordeficient, and where broader processes of belonging are contested. African immigrant women and men, like many...

  8. 4 Reproducing Difference at Work
    (pp. 107-146)

    Workplaces are sites where difference and ʹothernessʹ can be reproduced, contested, and/or redefined. In a cosmopolitan city like Vancouver, relationships among co-workers and between employers and employees, supervisors and the supervised, and service providers and clients are often simultaneously interactions across differences. This chapter explores the ways in which African immigrants experience these everyday practices in workplaces as part of the jobs they perform. While for many participants their workplaces were sites where friendships formed across differences, everyday interactions also helped to construct African women and men as ʹothersʹ, underlining both difference from Canadians and marginalization at work and in...

  9. 5 Gender, Families, and Transitions
    (pp. 147-191)

    Processes of migration and settlement are inherently gendered with different outcomes for women and men (Curran et al. 2006; Donato et al. 2006; Jones 2008; Pessar 2003). Gender relations are mediated through intersecting relations of power and privilege, including racialization, ethnicity, class, family status, sexuality, and age, that create diverse and sometimes contradictory outcomes (Bose 2006; Itzigsohn and Giorguli-Saucedo 2005; Mahler and Pessar 2006). Settlement experiences are filtered through gendered immigration and settlement policies; institutional structures such as labour markets, schools, and social services; and hegemonic ideologies about gender, families, and sexuality in both the migrantsʹ countries of origin and...

  10. 6 Identity and Spaces of Belonging
    (pp. 192-209)

    In a famous passage inBlack Skin, White Masks, Franz Fanon explains how he ʹdiscoveredʹ his Blackness and all its associated meanings infused through centuries of colonialism in his Algerian homeland, through the exclamation of a small, frightened, White child, ʹLook, a Negro!ʹ

    ʹI was responsible at the same time for my body, for my race, for my ancestors. I discovered my blackness, my ethnic characteristics; and I was battered down by tom-toms, cannibalism, intellectual deficiency, fetishism, racial defects, slave-ships, and above all else, above all: ʺShoʹ good eatin.ʺʹ (Fanon 2000, 259)

    Until that moment, Fanonʹs subjectivity was constituted in...

  11. 7 Practices of Belonging: Building the African Community in Vancouver
    (pp. 210-232)

    The development of a New African diaspora in Vancouver is not just a demographic by-product of global patterns of migration bringing women and men from countries in sub-Saharan Africa to the west coast of Canada. As we noted in chapter 1, diasporic communities come about through ʹstruggles to define the local, as distinctive community, in historical contexts of displacementʹ (Clifford 1994, 308). African immigrants in Greater Vancouver are indeed redefining the local through a multitude of practices linked to carving out niches of belonging, building webs of mutual support, and claiming psychic and material spaces. These practices of belonging range...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 233-246)
  13. References
    (pp. 247-264)
  14. Index
    (pp. 265-285)