A Tale of Two Cities in Canada: Immigrant Grandmothering in St John’s and Ottawa

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Peruvemba JAYA, Department of Communication,University of Ottawa, Canada
Marilyn PORTER, Department of Sociology Memorial University, Canada
In this paper we document the experiences of immigrant grandmothers in two very different communities in Canada. Based on interviews and focus groups with diverse immigrant women from many different backgrounds and countries of origin, this project aims at comparing and drawing out both the commonalities and differences between these cities in Canada.

The goal of this study was both to explore the process of grandmothering by immigrant women in these two cities and to compare those experiences. Some research questions that we wanted to pose and probe into are: How do immigrant grandmothers in St John’s and Ottawa experience being and becoming grandmothers? How do immigrant grandmothers in Ottawa and St John’s overcome the challenges if any in this process? How do they transmit cultural values and practices to their grandchildren? How do the experiences differ in both cities given their respective locations and demographics? How are the stories of the grandmothers similar in both cities?

In understanding the context of these women, we have adopted a nuanced and intersectional feminist approach (Crenshaw, 1989, 1993, 2001; Yuval Davis, 2006) to gender, being sensitive to and aware of, the intersection of gender with race, class, ethnicity, religion and cultural diversity. In addition, we find it important to locate this study in the context of multiculturalism in the Canadian context while being aware that multiculturalism itself is a debated and contentious concept (Bissondath, 1994; Kymlicka, 1995).