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Ethnic activism and multicultural politics in immigrant settlement in Toronto, Canada

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Immigrant activists work within but challenge the discursive limits in the settlement sector in Toronto, Canada. The establishment and institutionalization of settlement service results from community based ethnic activists working with changing multicultural circumstances and state policies that regulate immigrants. Consequently, immigrants have been able to obtain resources from the state but must work within ethnicized politics where ethno-specificity, cultural sensitivity and the language of service delivery to ‘visible minority’ immigrants are important modes of dealing with differences, racial or otherwise. Manager-activists respond to the changing discourse of ethno-specificity as the sector was ‘restructured’; they also have to meet the discursive imperatives of the flexible and transcendental immigrant. This paper draws from information gathered as a researcher and as a worker in this sector, from community reports and documents, and from interviews with managers of settlement organizations who also see themselves as activists.
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Keywords: activism; ethno-specificity; immigrant settlement service; multiculturalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Women's Studies Program, University of Windsor, Windsor, Canada

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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