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From Registered Nurse to Registered Nanny: Discursive Geographies of Filipina Domestic Workers in Vancouver, B.C.

Geraldine Pratt
Economic Geography
Vol. 75, No. 3 (Jul., 1999), pp. 215-236
Published by: Clark University
DOI: 10.2307/144575
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/144575
Page Count: 22
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From Registered Nurse to Registered Nanny: Discursive Geographies of Filipina Domestic Workers in Vancouver, B.C.
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Abstract

This paper is an exploration of what poststructuralist theories of the subject and discourse analysis can bring to theories of labor market segmentation, namely an understanding of how individuals come to understand and are limited in their occupational options. I examine three discursive constructions of "Filipina" and argue that they work to structure Filipinas' labor market experiences in Vancouver. Filipinas who come to Canada through the Live-in Caregiver Program often come with university educations and professional experiences (e.g., as registered nurses) but then become members of the most occupationally segregated of ethnic groups in Vancouver. As domestic workers in Vancouver, they are defined as "supplicant, preimmigrants," as inferior "housekeepers," and, within the Filipino community, as "husband stealers." I demonstrate that geography has much to bring to discourse analysis; there are geographies written into discourses of "Filipina" that work to position Filipinas in Vancouver as inferior. While the examined discourses overlap and reinforce the marginalization of Filipinas, I also explore how discursive analysis can function as ideology critique, by examining the internal inconsistencies and silences within particular discourses and the points of resistance that emerge when different discourses come into contact and tension.

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