“Transnational Families” Analysed through the Intersectional Prism

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:51 PM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Hilda Joyce PORTILLA , Sociology and Anthropology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
This communication stands at the crossroads of the sociology of migration, the sociology of family, and the sociology of gender relationships. It focuses on Latin American women and men who migrate unaccompanied to Canada for a given period of time, as part of specific government-sponsored temporary work programs for “unskilled” workers. The participants work in Canada, usually for many years, as either live-in caregivers (mostly women) or as agricultural seasonal workers (mostly men). As a result of a significant increase of temporary immigration in Canada and a more restrictive and selective law for permanent immigration, we have observed the creation of a permanent-temporary labor migration dichotomy. Thus, the migrant experience and the relevant life-challenges that both groups face are not the same. Literature review, forums and other related migrants’ activities show that one of the most important challenges faced by temporary workers is the configuration of transnational families, particularly because they are not allowed to bring their families to Canada, as permanent immigrants do. In fact, in addition to a global hierarchy of mobility rights related to their professional skills, many other factors determine the transnational families’ lives: differences in legal status; their access to resources, mobility and lifestyles; their origin or ethnicity; their age; their gender, etc. The intersectional approach will allow us to include the diversity, complexity and analytical challenges of this particular contemporary phenomenon.