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Migrant and Immigrant Families in Canada: State Coercion and Legal Control in the Formation of Ethnic Families

VIC SATZEWICH
Journal of Comparative Family Studies
Vol. 24, No. 3, THE FAMILY AND THE ECONOMY (AUTUMN 1993), pp. 315-338
Published by: Dr. George Kurian
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41602296
Page Count: 24
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Migrant and Immigrant Families in Canada: State Coercion and Legal Control in the Formation of Ethnic Families
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Abstract

The central question addressed in this paper is how are immigrant families formed in Canada? This paper suggests that the 'immigrant family' is not a fixed, unchanging and primordial attribute of ethnic culture. The forms that foreign-born families have taken in Canada reflect a complex intersection of subjective intentions of migrant groups and structural constraints stemming from the labour market, immigration policy and racism. The state, through its role in regulating the manner in which the boundaries of the nation are to be breached, plays a fundamental role not only in selecting certain groups of immigrants but also in constituting certain forms of familial relationships. La question principale de cet article est: Comment les familles immigrantes sont-elles formees au Canada? Cet article propose que la "famille immigrante" n'est pas un attribut fixé et primordial d'une culture ethnique. Les formes que les familles nées dehors du Canada ont prises dans le pays réfléchissent une intersection entre les intentions subjectives des immigrés et les contraintes structurelles produites par la marché du travail, la politique courante envers les immigrés, et le racisme. Parce que l'état règle la manière dans laquelle les frontières sont surmontées, il joue un rôle fondamental non seulement en choisissant certains groupes d'immigrés, mais aussi en établissant des formes précises de la relation familiale. Este trabajo se dirije a la manera en que se forman las familias de inmigrantes en Canadá. Se propone la idea de que la "familia inmigrante" no exista como un atributo fijo y primordial de la cultura étnica. Las formas que han tomado en Canadá las familias originarias del extranjero reflejan una mezcla compleja de las intenciones subjetivas de los grupos migratorios y las restricciones estructurales que resultan del mercado de trabajo, de la política de inmigración y del racismo. El Estado determina la manera en que las fronteras de la nación se abren; como consecuencia desempeña un papel fundamental en la selección de ciertos grupos de inmigrantes, y también en la constitución de ciertas formas de relaciones familiares.

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