Migration, Transnationalism, and Social Reproduction: Intersectionalities III

Wednesday May 31 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm (Eastern Daylight Time)
McLaughlin College-MC-103

Session Code: SOM4C
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; Chair: Guida Man, York University


Shruti Kalyanaraman, York University

Re-imagining racialized settler mother work in the community: Centering learnings from Black, Dalit and Indigenous standpoints

In this paper, I try to re-imagine social reproduction as a racialized settler, doing mother work (as defined by Patricia Hill Collins) by centering mothering experiences from marginalized Black, Dalit and Indigenous standpoints.This paper is an outgrowth of my learnings from comprehensive examinations centering mothering/unpaid care in the community in understanding social reproduction. While feminist political economy has been central to introducing key arguments around social reproduction, the scholarship has essentially been dominated by white and other dominant feminists, focusing on unpaid care at home. As an attempt to decenter this dominance, I understand social reproduction informed by the lands that I have lived in, namely, colonized “Canada” and Western, Southern India. I draw my learnings on care work, social reproduction activities from Black, Indigenous and Dalit feminisms (and similar Indigenous communities in India). Centering mothering in the community, Black and Indigenous feminists argue that community work and advocacy, de-centers dominant knowledges in academia by white and other privileged feminists regarding care work and social reproduction theories. Racialized mothering and activism in the community questions western and other dominant feminists’ demarcated theorizing of public and private spheres when it comes to labour of women and other marginalized genders. I observe, Dalit feminist standpoints and lived experiences are triply burdened through class, caste and gender. They are vulnerable to policing and control, physical, emotional and social violence in all the “spheres” of their lives, including mothering. It is epistemologically redundant to demarcate spheres of spatial oppressions as public/private when the spaces of paid work and unpaid care intersect. Highlighting activism by Radhika Vemula along with Fatima Nafees and Abeda and Salim Tadvi from the disadvantaged Dalit community in different cities of India and their subsequent collaboration with one another, I understand how dominant epistemologies on mothering and care work cannot be universally applied.

Alexa Carson, University of Toronto

Intergenerational living among immigrant families: moving beyond the panacea

Issues of housing and senior care are deeply entwined. Currently, Canada faces crises on both fronts: it has a long-term care system ill-equipped to support our aging population, alongside an acute shortage of affordable housing. While these crises effect all Canadian seniors, they have a particular impact on immigrant seniors and their family members. These families have a higher propensity to cohabitate multi-generationally, an arrangement often romanticized as an ideal form of senior care and a partial solution to housing and LTC crises. However, my research shows that immigrant decision-making about intergenerational living is neither uncomplicated nor independent of factors related to the shortage of quality care services and affordable housing. Based on 15 in-depth interviews with seniors and family caregivers from Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries living in the greater Toronto area, this study uncovers three preliminary themes: (1) some seniors resist intergenerational living, preferring to remain downtown close to culturally relevant community and services (2) cohabitation arrangements do not always provide sufficient care, in ways structured by gender (3) lack of access to appropriate, affordable housing can act as a barrier to intergenerational living. Migration affects social reproductive arrangements and cultural care preferences in complex ways, both reinforcing and challenging gender norms and patriarchal relations (Dreby and Schmalzbauer 2013; Hagan 1998; Hondagneu-Sotelo 1992; Man and Chou 2019). This paper applies an intersectional lens to the phenomena of family care, aging, and migration to provide a nuanced understanding of how and why LAC immigrant families make choices about and sense of their senior care and living arrangements; and how this is structured not only by gender, but also by socioeconomic status (Mendez-Luck and Anthony 2016; Vallejo 2021). Additionally, intersectionality helps to move beyond white, middle-class policy biases regarding elder care (Johnson et al. 2018; Luhtanen and Braganza 2009).