Social Reproduction and the Transnational Migration Strategies of Immigrant Families in Canada
Immigrant families have been utilizing transnational practices to maintain family relationships, and to accomplish social reproduction, not only in contemporary society, and also in historical periods. For example, between 1886 and 1947, many poor Chinese men worked as indentured laborers in Canada, while their wives and children remained in China due to racialized Canadian immigration policy which barred them from entering the country. As a result, separate spheres of production and reproduction evolved in these families.
In the context of the current climate of globalization and neoliberalism, some immigrant families experience unemployment and underemployment, and downward mobility. The difficulties in procuring affordable childcare services and in juggling the contradictory demands of paid work, household work have prompted some immigrant families to resolve to transnational strategies to accomplish the work of social reproduction, such as sending children back to their home country to be cared for by family members.
[i] The data for this paper is derived from a project entitled “Transnational Migration Trajectories of Immigrant Women Professionals in Canada: Strategies of Work and Family”, supported by a SSHRC research grant to Guida Man as Principal Investigator, and Tania Das Gupta, Kiran Mirchandani, and Roxana Ng as Co-investigators.