Migration, Transnationalism, and Social Reproduction: Intersectionalities II

Wednesday May 31 10:30 am to 12:00 pm (Eastern Daylight Time)
McLaughlin College-MC-103

Session Code: SOM4B
Session Format: Regular Session
Session Language: English
Research Cluster Affiliation: Sociology of Migration
Session Categories: In-person

This session brings together theoretical and empirical research papers examining the experiences, agencies, and activism of individuals within immigrant families who are engaged in the work of caring/social reproductive work, both locally and/or transnationally. In particular, the papers will address the following questions: How do social, economic, political, and cultural processes shape these women’s social reproductive work locally and/or transnationally? How do gender and other intersectionalities complicate social reproductive/care work locally and/or transnationally? We welcomed papers that interrogate intergenerational relationships, care and support of older persons, the work of young carers, and the implications of multigenerational households for adult women. Tags: Feminism, Gender, Migration and Immigration

Organizer: Guida Man, York University; Chairs: Elena Chou, York University, Guida Man, York University


Victoria Ogley, York University

Exploring Second Generation Transnationalism from the Canadian Context

This research paper intends to explore the theoretical conceptualization of transnationalism with a particular focus on second generation transnationalism. One of the key arguments made by scholars of transnational migration theory is that cultural, social, and political identity is not tied to the physicality of ‘home’ (Basch, Glick-Schiller, and Szanton-Blanc, 1994). Instead, feelings of ‘home’ are extended through macro and micro processes like the presence of ethnic communities, practicing ethnic traditions, and interaction with transnational media outlets (Levitt and Jaworsky, 2007). However, while there is a rich discussion on the framework of transnationalism, there remains a lacuna in the research surrounding second generation transnationalism and the intergenerational effects of migration on the children of immigrants, especially from the Canadian context. Transnationalism is observed to have an intergenerational effect on second generation transmigrants through the reproduction of social and cultural practices by migrant parents in their children (Levitt and Waters, 2002; Fouron and Glick Schiller, 2001). By resembling their transmigrant parents ability to associate belonging and identity with their host and home country, the second generation may also establish a connection and identity with their ancestral homeland through exposure to their parents culture. Scholars who speak on second generation transnationalism (Shahrokni, 2019; Boyd and Tian, 2016) explore the lived experience of the children of immigrants as well as the upward or downward mobility that may occur because of the opportunities and resources available in the form of networks and access to information. Therefore, the focus of this paper will be dedicated to the dissemination of identity and belonging of the second generation in Canada along with issues related to the upward/downward mobility concerning class, educational, and occupational attainment in a mainstream White majority society.

Aryan Karimi, University of British Columbia

Refugee Background and Impending Transnationalism: Second-Generation Somali-Canadians' Assimilation and Transnationalism Trajectories

In migration studies, various iterations of assimilation theory formulate and anticipate the second-generations’ socioeconomic mobility and assimilation into the destination society. In contrast, the concept of transnationalism underlines newcomers’ and their offsprings’ simultaneous belonging to and interactions with the origin and destination countries. We draw on 118 qualitative interviews with second-generation Somali-Canadians to assess which of these perspectives best explains our participants’ life trajectories in Canada. Our interviews explored educational and occupational attainments and transnational practices such as sending remittances and origin-country visits. Our data showed rapid upward mobility and an absence of transnational practices, allowing us to conclude that assimilation theory sufficiently explains our participants’ current experiences. At the same time, we found that our participants’ refugee background noticeably impacts their transnationalism. Their parents’ forced departures as refugees and the ongoing violence in their country of origin lead to our second-generation participants’ lack of transnational practices at the present time. However, they emphasized their desire to discover and contribute to rebuilding their country of origin in the future. Thus, we cannot entirely dismiss the transnationalism framework’s predictions. Refugee background seems to push transnationalism into the future for the second-generations.

Non-presenting authors: Sara Thompson, Toronto Metropolitan University; Sandra Bucerius, University of Alberta