Home Economics: Nationalism and the Making of 'migrant Workers' in Canada

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University of Toronto Press, Jan 1, 2006 - Social Science - 216 pages

A massive shift has taken place in Canadian immigration policy since the 1970s: the majority of migrants no longer enter as permanent residents but as temporary migrant workers. In Home Economics, Nandita Sharma shows how Canadian policies on citizenship and immigration contribute to the entrenchment of a system of apartheid where those categorized as 'migrant workers' live, work, pay taxes and sometimes die in Canada but are subordinated to a legal regime that renders them as perennial outsiders to nationalized Canadian society.

In calling for a 'no borders' policy in Canada, Sharma argues that it is the acceptance of nationalist formulations of 'home' informed by racialized and gendered relations that contribute to the neo-liberal restructuring of the labour market in Canada. She exposes the ideological character of Canadian border control policies which, rather than preventing people from getting in, actually work to restrict their rights once within Canada. Home Economics is an urgent and much-needed reminder that in today's world of growing displacement and unprecedented levels of international migration, society must pay careful attention to how nationalist ideologies construct 'homelands' that essentially leave the vast majority of the world's migrant peoples homeless.


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About the author (2006)

Nandita Sharma is an assistant professor in the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Sociology at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

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