Selling Diversity: Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment Equity, and Globalization

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University of Toronto Press, Sep 1, 2002 - Social Science - 202 pages
Selling Diversity begins where official rationales of multiculturalism stop short. Provocatively linking "diversity" to globalization, Abu-Laban and Gabriel provide a critical and very timely look at the unequal impact of Canadian immigration policies. Reg Whitaker, Professor Emeritus, York University and Adjunct Professor, University of Victoria

An important book for all those interested in public policy in Canada. Abu-Laban and Gabriel analyze concisely and clearly recent policy shifts, showing the ways in which neo-liberal policy directions have played out in immigration, multiculturalism, and employment equity policies. The authors illustrate how, despite a growing acceptance and even celebration of diversity, market-oriented, privatizing policies have in fact led to the selling out of substantive equality. The authors do a superb job of showing how the intersections of gender, race, and class are constitutive parts of these policies and therefore essential to their understanding and analysis. Caroline Andrew, University of Ottawa

Since the 1990s, Canadian policy prescriptions for immigration, multiculturalism, and employment equity have equated globalization with global markets. This interpretation has transformed men and women of various ethnic backgrounds into trade-enhancing commodities who must justify their skills and talents in the language of business. This particular neo-liberal reading of globalization and public policy has resulted in a trend the authors call "selling diversity."

Using gender, race/ethnicity and class lenses to frame their analysis, the authors review Canadian immigration, multiculturalism, and employment equity policies, including their different historical origins, to illustrate how a preference for "selling diversity" has emerged in the last decade. In the process they suggest that a commitment to enhance justice in a diverse society and world has been muted. Yet, neo-liberalism is not the only or inevitable option in this era of globalization, and Canadians are engaging in transnational struggles for rights and equality and thereby increasing the interconnectedness between peoples across the globe. Consequently, the emphasis on "selling diversity" might be challenged.

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TWO Immigration and Canadian Citizenship
FOUR Multiculturalism and NationBuilding
FIVE Employment Equity

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About the author (2002)

Yasmeen Abu-Laban is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. Christina Gabriel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Pauline Jewett Institute of Women's Studies at Carleton University.

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