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State policy, settlement services, and employment prospects : an ethnographic investigation of immigrant… Holroyd, Heather 2016

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 STATE POLICY, SETTLEMENT SERVICES, AND EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC INVESTIGATION OF IMMIGRANT WOMEN’S SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INTEGRATION IN CANADA by  Heather Holroyd   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Sociology)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  August 2016  © Heather Holroyd, 2016 ii  Abstract  Drawing on over 150 hours of participant-observation and 41 semi-structured interviews conducted between September 2013 and April 2014 with the participants and organizers of an employment and leadership skills program for immigrant women at two Neighbourhood Houses in Vancouver, this ethnographic study examines the influence of Canadian immigration policies and settlement services on the employment trajectories of immigrant women. A key research finding concerns how women with precarious legal status and/or limited English language skills negotiate gaps accessing services and employment opportunities, and thus how the prompt provision of settlement supports and work permits would improve immigrant women’s labour market participation and economic standing in Canada. A second key finding concerns the value of settlement-oriented employment programs that recognize and emphasize newcomers’ skills rather than deficits, and that leverage this human capital to promote participants’ social integration and sense of citizenship in Canada. This dissertation is sociologically significant in its contribution to explicating the distinctive institutionalized racial and gender barriers that research participants encountered in their attempts to achieve meaningful employment and full citizenship in Canada. The policy recommendations suggested by this research include: 1) more efficient federal-level procedures for processing immigration applications and issuing work permits, 2) improved access to provincially-funded healthcare services and English language for employment training programs, 3) affordable, employer-recognized programs for assessing foreign credentials, and 4) greater outreach and education about multiculturalism, cultural sensitivity and inclusivity at the local level of settlement service agencies and neighbourhood-based community organizations. iii  Preface  This dissertation is original, unpublished, independent work by the author, Heather Holroyd. The research required and received approval from the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Boards (certificate #H13-02360).   iv  Table of Contents  Abstract .......................................................................................................................................... ii Preface ........................................................................................................................................... iii Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................... iv List of Tables .............................................................................................................................. viii List of Figures ............................................................................................................................... ix List of Abbreviations .................................................................................................................... x Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................................... xi Dedication ................................................................................................................................... xiv Chapter 1: Mediated Pathways to Women’s Integration After Arrival in Canada ......................... 1 1.1 Questioning poverty, promoting leadership ................................................................... 1 1.2 Arriving to the study ...................................................................................................... 6 1.3 What is the Pathways to Leadership program? ............................................................ 10 1.4 Neighbourhood Houses as research sites: A history of the Settlement Movement ..... 15 1.4.1 What is a Neighbourhood House? ........................................................................ 15 1.4.2 A history of Neighbourhood Houses in Vancouver .............................................. 17 1.4.3 Neighbourhood Houses and university research: A longstanding relationship .... 21 1.5 Research questions: Why is this study relevant? ......................................................... 23 1.6 Situating in the study in the literature .......................................................................... 27 1.6.1 Precarious migrant status ...................................................................................... 28 1.6.2 ‘Skilled’ immigrants, labour market participation, and downward mobility ........ 31 1.6.3 Intersections of race, class, and gender in the labour market ............................... 34 v  1.7 Theoretical concepts informing the study .................................................................... 36 1.8 Dissertation chapters .................................................................................................... 50 Chapter 2: A View From Somewhere: Getting to the Heart of the Matter Through Embedded Fieldwork ................................................................................................................................. 54 2.1 Standpoint, interpretation, and ethnography: A hermeneutic, context-oriented approach ................................................................................................................................ 56 2.2 Out of place to settling in the ‘field’: Reflexivity and positionality ............................ 65 2.3 Methods and methodological strategies ....................................................................... 82 2.3.1 Participant-observation and writing fieldnotes ..................................................... 89 2.3.2 Qualitative interviews ........................................................................................... 92 2.3.3 Data analysis ....................................................................................................... 100 2.4 Program participants I did not interview .................................................................... 103 2.5 Research ethics and reciprocity in a long-term ethnographic project ........................ 111 2.6 Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 116 Chapter 3: Dreams, Love, and the Law: Participants’ Classification Struggles Migrating to Canada .................................................................................................................................... 117 3.1 Participants’ immigration pathways and classification struggles in Canada ............. 119 3.2 Selecting “desirable future citizens”: Shifts in Canadian immigration policy ........... 126 3.3 Economic class immigration: “[My family,] they’re poor, so that’s why it’s also an opportunity that I came here” .............................................................................................. 133 3.4 Family class immigration: “You make trouble for your family too, just for that stupid document” ........................................................................................................................... 149 vi  3.4.1 “It’s not clear like, how [this] is [a] good life”: Isolation and vulnerability among women applying for spousal sponsorship ....................................................................... 153 3.4.2 “My first priority is to get pregnant […] But I can’t”: Barriers to health care and other services .................................................................................................................. 162 3.5 Humanitarian class immigration: “I was the victim but I am [the one] who is paying the high price” ..................................................................................................................... 165 3.6 Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 178 Chapter 4: “We didn’t come here to have less”: Work, Identity, and Access to English Language Settlement Services ................................................................................................................ 180 4.1 The impact of immigration experiences on women’s identities ................................ 180 4.2 Settlement, in their own words: Skills, suffering, and separation .............................. 183 4.3 Employment after immigration and impacts on identity and self-worth ................... 190 4.4 Lost in translation: Writing resumes .......................................................................... 201 4.5 The importance of English language training for belonging and employment.......... 213 4.6 Employment English: An exercise in translating skills and rebuilding confidence .. 216 4.7 “I need to talk in English, this is emergency”: Persistent and gender-specific barriers to learning English after arrival .......................................................................................... 222 4.8 Funding English language programs for employment ............................................... 230 4.9 Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 235 Chapter 5: Immigrants to Citizens: Pathways to Social Citizenship and Engagement in Neighbourhood Houses .......................................................................................................... 238 5.1 Caring is smart strategy for building a team – and a nation ...................................... 238 5.2 Who visits Neighbourhood Houses and why? ........................................................... 244 vii  5.3 “They look like real Canadians”: Language and race as defining features of citizenship. .......................................................................................................................... 251 5.4 “They’re not alone across communities”: Fostering a sense of representation and belonging through ‘civic engagement projects’ .................................................................. 278 5.5 Conclusion: Settlement as citizenship, and citizenship as settlement ........................ 290 Chapter 6: The Multidimensional Character of Integration and Citizenship: Summary of Findings and Future Directions ............................................................................................................. 293 6.1 “It was all their ideas. We just tried to see if we could find the funding” ................. 295 6.2 Significance of the study ............................................................................................ 303 6.2.1 Revisiting the research questions ........................................................................ 303 6.3 Limitations of the study and directions for future research ....................................... 309 6.4 Policy recommendations and final words .................................................................. 312 References .................................................................................................................................. 316 Appendices .................................................................................................................................. 333 Appendix A Timeline of Pathways project and dissertation research activities .............333 Appendix B Research participants ..................................................................................334 Appendix C Letter of introduction ..................................................................................342 Appendix D Email message to have post-program meetings included in research .........343 Appendix E Consent form for interviews – program participants ...................................344 Appendix F Consent form for interviews – program organizers and funder ...................346 Appendix G Questions for the Cycle 1 post-program meetings ......................................348 Appendix H Interview schedule for program participant interviews ..............................349 Appendix I Interview schedule for program organizer and funder interviews ................351  viii  List of Tables Table 2-1 List of locations where I conducted the interviews ...................................................... 97 Table 3-1 A snapshot of the immigration classes by which Pathways to Leadership program participants applied for permanent residency in Canada. For more detailed demographic data, see Appendix B ................................................................................................................................. 119 Table 3-2 PR status of PtL program interview participants at the time of arrival in Canada and at time of interview ......................................................................................................................... 122 Table 3-3 PtL participants’ home countries. Dorothy is the participant from an unknown country (see Chapter 2, Section 2.4) ........................................................................................................ 130  ix  List of Figures  Figure 4-1 Diagram of actual words written on the whiteboard during a program exercise at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House ........................................................................................... 217   x  List of Abbreviations  ANHBC – Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia BC – British Columbia BREB – Behavioural Research Ethics Board CIC – Citizenship and Immigration Canada (federal government department name prior to November 2015; see ‘IRCC’ below) CPNH – Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House  ECE – Early Childhood Education Certificate ESL – English as a Second Language  FLNH – Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House FSW – Federal Skilled Worker program H&C – Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds HIPPY Program – Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters IVEFS – Immigrant Vancouver Ethnographic Field School IRCC – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (federal government department name after November 2015; see ‘CIC’ above) LCP – Live-In Caregiver Program MSP – Medical Services Plan NH – Neighbourhood House  PR – Permanent resident/residency PtL – Pathways to Leadership SAHM – Stay at home mom SSP – Spousal sponsorship program UBC – University of British Columbia UEFS – Urban Ethnographic Field School US or USA – United States of America xi  Acknowledgements  An ethnographic project would be weak, if not impossible, without institutional gatekeepers, willing participants, and family, friends, and colleagues with whom to work through the process. Recognizing that these acknowledgements will be imperfect and incomplete, just like the project itself, readers should know that I am filled with gratitude for every kind and challenging word, laugh, drink, and meal shared during this journey, each of which shaped this work in obvious and not-so-obvious ways.  The project would have never come to fruition without the support of the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. It has been a pleasure to work with the undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members, particularly the members of my comprehensive exam committees – Drs. Jennifer Chun, Amy Hanser, Elizabeth Hirsh, Thomas Kemple, Renisa Mawani, and Carrie Yodanis – and Dr. Wendy Roth, for whom I worked as a research assistant. I am grateful to Dr. Gillian Creese and Dr. Hanser for their willingness to serve on my dissertation committee – knowing that you would be reading and evaluating this work as methodological and substantive experts pushed me to strive for excellence. Your feedback and suggestions helped me to grow as an academic and individual. I also wish to thank Drs. Sean Lauer and Miu Chung Yan for their questions and feedback as university examiners, and Dr. Jennifer Berdahl for chairing the university-level defense.  Words cannot express my endless gratitude for the incredible gift of Dr. Kemple’s always-too-humble mentorship as the supervisor of this project. Tom, you have been and continue to be so much more to me than my PhD supervisor. Your brilliant scholarship, striking creativity, and overall way of being has been critical not only to this project but to all of my xii  proudest life achievements: Your genius is on every page of my Honours thesis, I won a Killam award by observing and learning from your skillful ability to teach students, and it brought me tremendous joy to work alongside you as a Field School co-instructor. Thank you for so patiently helping me work through the ideas and writing presented on these pages. We will continue to find meaningful ways of collaborating (and excuses for long meetings at Melriches, please!).  The Immigrant Vancouver Ethnographic Field School (now the Urban Ethnographic Field School) helped hatch the idea for this project. Thank you to the founding faculty, Drs. Alexia Bloch and Jennifer Chun, for your university- and community-facing work to establish a life changing learning opportunity. Working with Tom, Dr. Ana Vivaldi, and Negar Hooshmand-Mozaffar to deliver this course deepened my scholarly understanding of ethical community-based research practices. I am privileged to have been part of the Dream Team and grateful for the friendships that blossomed from this work. Ana, thank you for all your encouragement, and especially your supportive words during the writing process. Negar, from IVEFS and our Board work at PWN, to your sage advice and help with all matters of life, you’ve played a special role in this work as a colleague and friend – thank you.  The Field School led me to an academic home at the UBC Learning Exchange on Dr. Angela Towle’s Making Research Accessible in the Downtown Eastside Initiative for the last year of my PhD. Lunches with core and student staff provided a much-appreciated reprieve from long stretches of writing and I feel so fortunate to have worked with such a talented and committed team. I am especially grateful to Dr. Towle and Kathleen Leahy for their mentorship. This project owes its existence to Sandra Berman, Marcy Cohen, and Priti Shah. I cannot adequately express the significance of the wisdom you so generously shared with me over the past four years, each in your own remarkable way. You have accomplished so much individually xiii  and collectively, and I stand in total awe of your enduring passion and commitment to work toward a more just and inclusive society, particularly for women. You trained me as an activist-scholar and I can only hope to make you proud as we go forward in our work together.  Friends in and outside of academia kept me grounded and helped me maintain a rich and multidimensional life. I’d especially like to thank Magda Bukala, Hélène Frohard-Dourlent, Brianne Labute, Tracy Liu, Jennifer Mounsey, and Andrea Polonijo – each of you have given me so much and I really don’t know if I could have survived without you! Here’s to many more shared memories and moments of celebration!  Finally, family. My sister truly deserves a gold medal for living with me since Day 1 of this degree. Leeann, thank you for listening to me ramble on incessantly, for being insightful beyond your years, and for your willingness to join any wild adventure. My mother, Ann, the bravest, most resilient, and strongest woman I know – thank you for leading our family by example. You are everything to me: a paragon of virtue, an intellectual, and an athlete (!). Betty, my granny and our matriarch, I have been blessed by your warrior spirit, radiating kindness, and Glaswegian humour. To my talented and creative brother, Sean, thank you for your wonderful energy. Jack, thank you for teaching us how to loosen up, laugh, and have fun. Uncle Charles and Allan, thank you for all of your support during this degree and in life more generally. The incredible women – Neighbourhood House staff and Pathways participants – who trusted me to share their deeply personal experiences deserve the greatest acknowledgement. This dissertation does not communicate the life-changing lessons that you each taught me during program sessions and in one-on-one conversations. Thank you for allowing me to walk alongside you for several steps of your journey – our time together struck my soul and entirely reoriented the direction of my personal and professional life. I will be forever thankful beyond measure.  Dedication  To all immigrant women, and especially my own grandmother and mother, who bravely sacrifice so much in hopes of building a better life for those they love. Your courage and determination inspired this work.  1  Chapter 1: Mediated Pathways to Women’s Integration After Arrival in Canada 1.1 Questioning poverty, promoting leadership On a sunny and warm September afternoon in 2012, a group of women gathered around a table in the smaller, recently renovated, multipurpose room on the second floor at Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House1 in East Vancouver. After having secured a grant from a non-governmental philanthropic foundation, the group was excited to start planning for the launch of a pilot program for women who had immigrated to Canada and attempting to secure living wage employment in Vancouver. The women in the room – the ‘Advisory Committee,’ as I will call them throughout this dissertation – included: Shannon, Rebecca, and Katherine, three staff members from Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House, the organization holding the grant to deliver the program; Serena, a staff member from Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House, also located in East Vancouver; Neeharika, a self-employed facilitator who had been contracted by Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House to deliver the four cycles of the program (two at each Neighbourhood House); Tamara and Francine, two accomplished consultants and activists in the community who were donating their time and skills to assist with the project evaluation; a UBC social work student who would be replaced shortly by Marta, a senior-level undergraduate social work student from the University of                                                  1I use pseudonyms for the Neighbourhood Houses and research participants to protect the identities of the individuals who consented to participate in this study. Some research participants selected their own pseudonyms while most left the decision to me. The participants in the program and Advisory Committee gave me permission to use the real name of the employment and leadership skills program, the Pathways to Leadership program, and I also refer to public figures by their actual names.   2  British Columbia (UBC) who assisted with the evaluation as part of a practicum course; and myself, a PhD student in the middle of writing comprehensive exams and searching for a dissertation project that would offer the opportunity to contribute to social change and sociological research on newcomer integration and employment in Canada. I had been invited to attend the meeting to see whether I might be interested in volunteering to assist with the program evaluation after a phone conversation with Tamara where she reviewed my curriculum vita and asked about my interest in the project. As will be described in the next section, Dr. Jennifer Chun, a faculty member in the UBC Department of Sociology, facilitated this introduction.  The passion and energy of the group that afternoon was invigorating and I could not believe my luck connecting with such a diversely positioned group of women committed to organizing a program for women who were mostly ineligible or unable to attend other employment programs for reasons that will be discussed in this dissertation. Not surprisingly then, this September meeting marked the first of many I attended to help plan the logistics, delivery, and evaluation of the employment and leadership skills program that Neeharika had been contracted to facilitate for up to 60 immigrant women (15 participants per program cycle, for four cycles, over two calendar years). “Pathways Out of Poverty” was the project name on the grant application, which listed the following four goals for the employment and leadership skills program that would make up the core of the project’s activities: 1) “Immigrant women understand the possible pathways out of poverty and for achieving a living wage;” 2) “Immigrant women navigate the broad range of training & employment services & related community supports local & provincial;” 3) “Immigrant women develop leadership & speaking skills to facilitate participation in public dialogues/forums to address  3  systemic barriers & other key employment issues;” and 4) “Immigrant women develop the problem solving, networking & assertiveness skills needed to address personal and systemic barriers” (see Appendix A for a timeline of Pathways project and dissertation research activities).  The application for funding had been successful for a number of reasons: the need for the program was backed by evidence; members of the Advisory Committee had consulted extensively with the funder prior to submitting the application; and the language appealed to the grant adjudicators. Yet, the Neighbourhood House staff, the facilitator, and external consultants knew that framing the employment and leadership skills program as a way out of poverty could be greatly offensive to potential participants. Moreover, the grant application’s language of economic hardship, of offering “Pathways Out of Poverty,” presented an economic reality that may or may not be true for the women who would benefit from the program, and the goals listed focused on participants’ presumed vulnerabilities and deficiencies rather than their existing strengths and skills.  The grant application’s language reflected what funders expect to read but was contradictory to Neighbourhood Houses’ place- and asset-based approaches, which focus on sharing and honing participants’ skills rather than seeking out and improving personal deficiencies (McKnight and Block 2010). John Kretzmann and John P. McKnight (1996, 27) define “asset-based community development” (ABCD) as a community development strategy that “starts with what is present in the community, the capacities of its residents and workers, the associational and institutional base of the area – not with what is absent, or with what is problematic, or with what the community needs.” As Alison Mathie and Gord Cunningham (2003, 474) explain,   4  the appeal of ABCD lies in its premise that people in communities can organize to drive the development process themselves by identifying and mobilizing existing (but often unrecognized) assets, thereby responding to and creating local economic opportunity. In particular, ABCD draws attention to social assets: the particular talents of individuals, as well as the social capital inherent in the relationships that fuel local associations and informal networks.   Given that Neighbourhood Houses operate from an asset-based approach, it is easy to understand why concerns about the grant language and program name were raised almost immediately at this first project meeting: to retain the name ‘Pathways Out of Poverty’ would be to launch a program that put a deficiency – economic poverty, in this case – as a starting point. Doing so would run counter to the Neighbourhood Houses’ approach of working with members to identify the gifts, skills, and capacities held by each individual and subsequently mobilizing these talents for the purpose self and community development. Thus, the program name came up several times during the first meeting. To start, Katherine, a staff member at Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House, opened the meeting by standing at the flipchart and writing “Pathways Out of Poverty (POOP)” on the top of the page. The group laughed at the acronym before launching into the meeting agenda. Then, the name came up again in the discussion of how each of the two Neighbourhood Houses involved in the program intended to recruit women for the program. The frontline staff members who would be discussing the program with potential applicants were especially keen to settle on an alternative and more uplifting name for the program.  To generate the new name, the women around the table each flipped through the original funding application and collectively realized the application highlighted leadership skills as a program deliverable that would assist women in seeking and securing meaningful work and a living wage. The group agreed that “Pathways to Leadership” (PtL) was more  5  uplifting and aligned with the Neighbourhood House mandate than “Pathways Out of Poverty,” and that the new name was better suited to the program’s purpose of facilitating personal and professional development. While the project continued to be called the “Pathways Out of Poverty Project” in the annual reports to the funder, it became known to the Neighbourhood House staff, and eventually the program participants, simply as “Pathways” or the “Pathways program.”  The act of renaming the program highlights the Advisory Committee’s position as intermediaries who simultaneously traversed a discourse of struggle when speaking to funders about the program and a discourse of empowerment when speaking to the women registered in the program. The Advisory Committee, especially the senior staff from the Neighbourhood Houses and the external consultants, were aware of the multiple obstacles facing newcomer women in Canada as they struggled to obtain living wage work related to skills and training from their home countries (Goldring and Landolt 2013; Creese and Wiebe 2012; Chun and Cheong 2011; Oreopoulos 2011; Rodriguez 2008; Man 2004; Pratt 2004). In addition to the systemic barriers facing immigrants, such as precarious legal status, the non-recognition of foreign credentials, and perceived language ability, many women have familial commitments that limit their participation in the standard employment relationship (Fudge and Vosko 2001). For women who have immigrated and who have young families, these systemic barriers and familial commitments intersect and may further reduce the possibilities of their labour market involvement. While communicating these struggles to funders and policy-makers is necessary, the women affected rarely need to be reminded of the challenges they face.   6  What is less researched, however, are the psychosocial impacts of these legal and structural issues, and the role of settlement programs in rebuilding the volumes of social and cultural capital that some women lose, often unexpectedly, during and after the immigration process. This multi-sited dissertation project employs an ethnographic approach to examine newcomer women’s struggles, and the individual and organizational efforts to overcome these struggles in the context of a free employment and leadership skills program for self-identified immigrant women regardless of their legal status in Canada and/or English language proficiency, located at Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House and Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House in Vancouver, British Columbia. The primary objective of this dissertation is to provide a deeper understanding of minority immigrant women’s experiences seeking employment in Vancouver, an urban labour market, after their arrival in Canada.   1.2 Arriving to the study  My interest in the labour market and integration experiences of women who have immigrated to Canada developed over the course of two years and through three distinct experiences:  1) as a teaching assistant for Dr. Jennifer Chun’s Sociology of Migration course from January 2012 to April 2012;  2) as a teaching assistant and community liaison for the Immigrant Vancouver Ethnographic Field School (IVEFS), a six-week intensive course where students conduct ethnographic field work with Neighbourhood Houses and community organizations, from May 2012 to June 2012, and again from May 2013 to June 2013;   7  3) as a volunteer and evaluator for the Pathways to Leadership program from September 2012 to June 2013.   The teaching assistantship for the Sociology of Migration course introduced me to the literature focused on employment and economic issues related to immigration, while my work with IVEFS (now the Urban Ethnographic Field School) exposed me to the lived experiences of recent immigrants and inspired me to connect my longstanding interest in the relationship between work and identity with issues related to migration and newcomer integration. Through IVEFS, I learned about the challenges that many individuals, and especially women, face in adjusting to life in Canada and providing for their families. I also learned about Neighbourhood Houses and their unique service-delivery model, which I describe in more detail below.   A newfound awareness of the presence Neighbourhood Houses throughout Metro Vancouver piqued my interest in how these organizations facilitate collaborative efforts between participants, volunteers and staff. As detailed above, I began volunteering with the Pathways Out of Poverty project, as it was first called, at Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House and Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House in September 2012, several months after completing my first year with IVEFS teaching team. As Dr. Chun had been a founding faculty member of the IVEFS course, I contacted her by email after the Field School ended and asked whether she was aware of any skills-based volunteer projects I could join. Dr. Chun put me in touch with Tamara, one of the external consultants involved in the evaluation of the Pathways project. Dr. Chun had collaborated with the Advisory Committee on a previous research project (Chun and Cheong 2011), the findings of which informed the objectives of the Pathways Out of Poverty project. By the time the Pathways Out of Poverty project was  8  preparing to launch in September 2012, however, Dr. Chun had relocated to the University of Toronto and was no longer actively involved in the project planning. From November 30, 2012, to January 9, 2013, Marta and I conducted pre-program interviews with 25 out of 30 of the participants registered to participate in the first cycle of the Pathways to Leadership program. The 11 interviews I conducted during this period were considered follow-up research data collected for Dr. Chun and are not presented or analyzed in this dissertation.   After completing the pre-program interviews and research assistantship for Dr. Chun in early January 2013, I attended each session of the PtL program at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House from January to May as a project volunteer. I also continued to attend the evaluation committee meetings throughout the spring and summer of 2013, and in July 2013, I conducted nine post-program meetings with the women who had participated in the program at Forest Lawn and Crystal Pond. I retroactively obtained the permission of the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB) and the consent of the women who participated in those meetings to include this data in the analysis presented in this dissertation (see Appendix A for a timeline of research project activities).  As a teaching assistant, research assistant, and project volunteer, I observed a gap between Canadian immigration policy and opportunities for some groups of newcomers to mobilize their skills and resources, and the subsequent social and economic challenges they faced. While immigrants account for approximately 40 percent of Vancouver’s population (Chui 2013; Hiebert 2009), the social and economic issues associated with immigration affect the Canadian nation as a whole, and are linked to a globally-scaled transnational network of migration. My dissertation project proposal began to form as I came to understand how the Pathways Out of Poverty project and its cornerstone component, the  9  Pathways to Leadership employment and leadership skills training program, intended to bring together a number of individuals, organizations, institutions and levels of government in one participant-focused initiative to address the multifaceted social and economic issues related to immigration.  Aimed specifically towards women who are unable or ineligible to participate in other settlement programs for reasons described in Chapter 3, I anticipated that fieldwork in this setting would provide an opportunity to interact with and better understand the experiences of a group of newcomer women whose voices are not typically represented in the literature by virtue of precarious legal statuses that limit their eligibility to access services and public goods, making them less likely to come into contact with researchers (Goldring and Landolt 2013; Goldring, Berinstein, and Bernhard 2009). At best, the experiences of women with precarious legal status might be captured in Statistics Canada’s Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada or Ethnic Diversity Survey. It is worth noting, however, that these surveys were last completed in 2005 and 2002, respectively, and as statistical overviews they do not provide in-depth and contextualized data about newcomers’ settlement experiences and their often-dynamic transition through multiple legal statuses prior to obtaining permanent resident (PR) status (if they do, in fact, obtain PR status). Moreover, both surveys used the computer-assisted telephone interview method.2 As I came to learn during my research, speaking on the telephone can be exceptionally terrifying for non-native English speakers and something they actively avoid, again affirming the frequently noted observation                                                  2 The Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada used face-to-face and computer-assisted telephone interview methods, while the Ethnic Diversity Survey used only the computer-assisted telephone interview method.   10  that those who are most isolated and vulnerable, regardless of whether they have precarious or secure legal status, may not be making contact with researchers.  Additionally, my volunteer work with the first cycles of Pathways to Leadership participants prior to beginning my fieldwork enhanced my understanding of how much time and contact was required to build rapport with Neighbourhood House staff and the women in the program. I am therefore skeptical of the answers the women participating in the PtL program might provide via a telephone survey even if they did answer the questions. Establishing the trust of the women participating in the program required a more extensive investment of time and energy than the rapport-building suggestions highlighted in most textbooks on qualitative research methods (Warren and Karner 2010; Sunstein and Chiseri-Strater 2007; Mason 2002). Chapter 2 provides more detail on the methods and methodology I applied to collect the data presented in this dissertation.  1.3 What is the Pathways to Leadership program?   The Pathways Out of Poverty project was developed primarily by Shannon, a staff member in senior management at Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House, and the three well-known consultants on the Advisory Committee – Francine, Tamara and Neeharika – who have been conducting work related to workplace equity and diversity in the Vancouver area since the early 1980s. Serena, a staff member at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House, also contributed to the project’s development. These five women had worked together in substantial ways prior to this project and all acknowledged that their paths had been crossing for at least the past two decades. Social ties were also important in securing the primary funding envelope for the project, a $73,794 grant from a philanthropic foundation. The reputation of the Neighbourhood House and of the external consultants’ other work, along  11  with the women’s knowledge of the funder and their funding requirements, strengthened the application and helped them to align the project and funder’s goals. The grant from the foundation was used to pay for 1) Neeharika’s role as facilitator, 2) Neighbourhood House staffing and operation costs, and 3) bus tickets and childcare during the program sessions. A small amount of money was used to purchase snacks and refreshments for the weekly program sessions.  Smaller amounts of funding from charitable organizations were used to provide for unplanned expenses, such as childminding for several participants’ children who required additional or one-to-one support. Tamara and Francine, the independent consultants on the Advisory Committee, provided in-kind support by donating their time for the evaluation, as did Marta and myself (with the exception of the $2,000 I received from Dr. Chun to conduct pre-program interviews in the fall of 2012). Given the duration and deliverables of the project – four cycles of the Pathways to Leadership program, with bus tickets and childminding provided – the overall cost of the project was extremely efficient and the project budget benefitted from strong teamwork between members in and outside the Neighbourhood Houses.   The structure and objectives of the Pathways Out of Poverty project address the challenges identified by the forty-four immigrant men and women who participated in focus groups led by Dr. Chun (Chun and Cheong, 2011), and the Advisory Committee’s extensive experience working with immigrants and organizations on projects related to employment and equity. The members of the Advisory Committee were well-aware that women of color with degrees from foreign institutions “experience the greatest labor market penalties” when their education, work experience, and wages are compared to other immigrants and non- 12  immigrants in Canada (Creese, Dyck, and McLaren 2008, 277). Struggles to obtain living wage employment are related to women’s limited access to affordable childcare, language barriers, and foreign credential recognition. Despite empirical knowledge of how exactly these factors influence women’s labour market participation, the provincial government provided most of the settlement program funding at the time I conducted my research3 and this funding only provided a limited number of free or low-cost childcare spaces, or no childcare at all. Furthermore, individuals wishing to participate in government-funded programs typically need to meet criteria related to their immigration status and language proficiency. For example, the Skills Connect program is one of the few employment programs that provides credential recognition and training support for newcomers to achieve more than low-wage survival employment but participation is limited to individuals who became permanent residents or citizens within the last five years, who are unemployed but not receiving Employment Insurance, and who are proficient in English.   Cognizant of these oft-cited barriers, the Advisory Committee sought out funding from the philanthropic organization as an alternative to government funding in order to offer a free, 16-week program, open to all women who self-identify as ‘immigrant’ regardless of their legal status. The program convened weekly at the respective Neighbourhood Houses for three hours, and bus tickets and/or free childminding were provided for women who needed these resources in order to participate in the program. A completed one-page application                                                  3 Settlement program funding is now managed at the federal level by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The management of settlement program funding was recentralized to the federal level in April 2014, and the CIC to IRCC department name change took place in November 2015.   13  form was the only document each woman needed to provide in order to register for the program. The registration requirements set by the Advisory Committee and listed as checkboxes on the application form were as follows: 1) a commitment to attending each three hour session of the program, 2) a willingness to complete an additional three hours per week on program-related activities at home, and, for participants in the first two cycles of the program, 3) an agreement to participate in pre- and post-program meetings for the purpose of evaluating the program. None of these registration requirements were hard and fast rules – the Advisory Committee expected that women would miss sessions due to family circumstances or illness; there were no penalties for not completing the work assigned between program sessions; and only some of the program participants completed pre- and/or post-program meetings due to scheduling and childminding challenges.  Another unique aspect of the Pathways to Leadership program was its individualized approach to helping participants meet their career and civic engagement goals. Recognizing that most participants had accumulated significant amounts of cultural capital in the form of education and work experience (Bourdieu 1984) before and after entering Canada, the program aimed to support women in translating their existing strengths and skills into labour market opportunities beyond the entry-level or survival employment that other organizations seem to encourage (Creese 2011, 66; Ng 1996). The content of the program and Neeharika’s method of delivery revealed this participant-driven focus: the number of participants in each cycle was capped at 15, and each session started with a participant ‘check-in,’ where the women were encouraged to share resources, report back on meetings with potential employers or advisors at educational institutions, and/or discuss any personal or employment-related issues that have affected them since the last session. Then, Neeharika  14  would skillfully draw from the experiences the women shared during the check-in to engage them in the content she had prepared for that session, which included topics such as identifying and responding to racism, accessing the hidden job market, presenting one’s existing skills and strengths in the Canadian job market, selecting a training program or educational institution, and so forth. As the fieldnote excerpts in this dissertation demonstrate, the conversations tended to be rich in detail because of the intimate setting and Neeharika’s efforts to make the program as relevant as possible to the experiences and concerns of participants.  The overall aim of the Pathways to Leadership program was to build the capacity of the immigrant women participating in the program by encouraging them to 1) develop a career action plan, and 2) design and deliver a community-oriented ‘civic engagement’ project. The civic engagement projects were essentially intended to be volunteer projects that the PtL participants conceived and spearheaded. The skills required to develop a career plan and lead a volunteer project were intended to provide women with concrete goals, accomplishments, and the internal confidence to address the personal and systemic barriers that prevent equitable access to economic and civic opportunities. The Advisory Committee defined economic and civic opportunities as including formal labour market participation, or membership in a civic domain such as the Parent Advisory Committee at their children’s school. Unlike other employment programs, which tend to focus solely on labour market participation, the Advisory Committee for the Pathways Out of Poverty project viewed civic participation and involvement in the public sphere as a route to gaining political representation in the broadest sense (Fraser 2009a), and to achieving a form of citizenship in Canada that includes status, rights, and identity (Joppke 2007, 38). Neighbourhood Houses,  15  with their participant-driven approach to programming, offered opportunities for such engagement and, as such, were an ideal setting for the Pathways Out of Poverty program.  1.4 Neighbourhood Houses as research sites: A history of the Settlement Movement 1.4.1 What is a Neighbourhood House?  Born from England’s Settlement House movement in the 1880s, Neighbourhood Houses have a 119-year history in British Columbia (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2014). With a strong focus on “addressing community needs through a highly accessible and inclusive service approach” (Sandercock 2009, 119), most Neighbourhood House programs and services are free or low-cost and many are volunteer-driven. Working together, staff and volunteers facilitate opportunities for people to come together in activities such as English as a Second Language conversation groups, parenting classes and workshops, employment programs, immigrant settlement programs, youth programs, seniors programs, cooking classes, free or low-cost lunches and dinners, as well as day-long festivals or weekend camping trips. It is important to note that Neighbourhood Houses (NHs) are not oriented specifically toward newcomers but are intended to be gathering places for everyone. Neighbourhood Houses share some similarities with community centres: both, for example, offer programming geared toward young families, newcomers, youth, and seniors. Yet service delivery is only a starting point for the work of NHs. What makes Neighbourhood Houses unique is the way in which they engage members by supporting them to bring forth and implement ideas for events and programming in ways that make use of their skills for the benefit of the broader community. This approach is typically what is meant when Neighbourhood Houses and other organizations describe their approach as ‘place-based’: by  16  working with the assets and needs within the community, Neighbourhood Houses respond to and support their members. Neighbourhood Houses have a strong presence in Vancouver, although you might not be aware of the Neighbourhood House operating just around the corner from you unless you are looking to access their services or participate in their programs. According to the Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia (ANHBC), the eight Neighbourhood Houses in the Lower Mainland that belong to the association have 527 staff members and 3,500 volunteers (ANHBC 2013). The ANHBC’s recorded average of 50,000 volunteer hours per year is evidence of the high level of community engagement that Neighbourhood Houses inspire among their members (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2013, 1). This staff and volunteer capacity make it possible for the Neighbourhood Houses in the Association to “serve more than 100,000 individual visits annually, or 17% of the population of Vancouver,” including “many of the invisible poor from new immigrant families living eight to one bedroom, underprivileged families unable to provide breakfast to their children, youth who lack leadership and are on the street and seniors living alone with no family ties” (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2013, 1). In 2013, the ANHBC ranked as the second oldest charitable organization and the 11th biggest organization run by a woman in British Columbia (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2013, 12). The ANHBC’s operating budget for the 2013/14 fiscal year was nearly $18.5 million, putting it almost on par with the $22 operating budget of Immigrant Settlement Services of BC, one of Canada’s largest settlement agencies (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2014; Immigrant Settlement Services of BC 2014).  17  In addition to the eight Neighbourhood Houses that belong to the ANHBC, there are seven more Neighbourhood Houses in Metro Vancouver not affiliated with the Association. The two Neighbourhood Houses where I conducted the research presented in this dissertation have been members of the ANHBC since their establishment in the 1970s, so I did not collect statistics about the number of staff, volunteers, volunteer hours, or annual visits at the seven organizations that operate outside the ANHBC umbrella. 1.4.2 A history of Neighbourhood Houses in Vancouver The Alexandra Neighbourhood House opened in 1938, and was the first Neighbourhood House in Vancouver, BC (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2013) . Originally an orphanage, the history of the Alexandra Neighbourhood House is indicative of the link between Neighbourhood Houses and childcare that has existed since the inception of Neighbourhood Houses in Vancouver.4 Between 1942 and 1987, seven additional Neighbourhood Houses opened and joined Alexandra Neighbourhood House as                                                  4 Alexandra Neighbourhood House can trace its roots to an orphanage supported by members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and members of local churches in the late 1800s. Called the “Children’s Home,” the orphanage outgrew its first location on Homer and Dunsmuir Street and moved to 1727 West 7th Ave. Built in 1891, this new location had originally been the site of the Alexandra Hospital for Women but the surrounding area was undeveloped, forested, and home to wildlife that frequently came onto the hospital grounds. As a result of these unwelcome visits from animals, the directors deemed the area unfit for a hospital and offered the land and buildings to the Children’s Home with the condition that the institution be called the “Alexandra Non-Sectarian Orphanage and Children’s Home of Vancouver.” The Alexandra Orphanage, for short, was incorporated in 1894 under the direction of the Alexandra Community Services Society and was one of British Columbia’s first non-profit societies (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2013, 1; Lauer and Reisz 2012, 3). As foster homes came to replace orphanages, the Alexandra Orphanage became the “Alexandra Non-Sectarian Children’s Home of Vancouver” before closing in 1938 and reopening several months later as the Alexandra Neighbourhood House (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2013, 3).  18  members of the ANHBC. According to the Association, Alexandra Neighbourhood House was inspired by the Neighbourhood Settlement House movement under Jane Addams and Queen Alexandra (Association of Neighbourhood Houses British Columbia 2013, 3). The Settlement House movement began in London, England, with the establishment of Toynbee Hall by Samuel Barnett and Henrietta Octavia Weston Barnett (née Rowland) in 1884, and came to North America with Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr’s establishment of Chicago’s Hull House in 1889 (Sandercock, 2009, 115). The Barnetts founded Toynbee Hall in the memory of Arnold Toynbee, an economic historian who sought to reduce the social inequality between the wealthy and workingmen that he perceived to be a result of the Industrial Revolution. Prior to his early death at the age of 30, Toynbee taught students at Oxford University about the “gifts of the poor and how they had been undervalued in society by the wealthy class” (Sandercock 2009, 115). The historical and cultural context of the Industrial Revolution and Toynbee’s early teachings on what we would today call “asset-based community development,” as described earlier in the chapter, informed the mission of the Settlement House movement in the United Kingdom; the Industrial Revolution, a term popularized by Toynbee, had increased urbanization and intellectuals struggled to understand and reduce the economic and political inequality between the owners of the means of production and the people they employed. It is unsurprising, then, that poverty and religious-based social reform were the chief concerns of the Settlement House movement in the United Kingdom (Briggs and Macartney 1984).  Jane Addams, a young American woman with a wealthy father and a “conviction that, even as a woman, she had a duty to humanity she could not ignore,” had read about Toynbee Hall in 1887 and made a plan to visit the Settlement House during her trip to Europe that  19  winter (Knight, 2005, 153-155). Addams had a long-standing interest in helping people; her original plan was to become a medical doctor but she did not complete her education after falling ill (Knight 2005). Instead, she struggled throughout her twenties to identify a new course of work that would allow her to pursue charitable aims. Addams was highly attuned to experiences of suffering and injustice,5 and deeply influenced by her visit with the Barnetts’ at Toynbee Hall, which inspired Addams and her companion, Ellen Gates Starr, to establish North America’s first Settlement House in Chicago, Illinois.6  It is important to note, however, that Addams did not import the Barnetts’ vision in its entirety: she rejected Toynbee Hall’s involvement in the labour movement and the Barnetts’                                                  5 With a keen eye to ethnographic detail, Addams’ (1910, 67) memoir recounts how she had been affected by an experience she had while visiting East London in 1883, at the age of 23. Addams describes seeing “huge masses of ill-clad people clamoring around two hucksters' carts” to bid on rotting fruit and vegetables on a Saturday night, and how the vision that stuck with her from that evening “was not of ragged, tawdry clothing nor of pinched and sallow faces, but of myriads of hands, empty, pathetic, nerveless and workworn, showing white in the uncertain light of the street, and clutching forward for food which was already unfit to eat.”    6 In her book Twenty Years at Hull-House, Addams (1910, 85) reflects on how and why she and Starr came to found the Hull-House Settlement in the fall of 1889:  It is hard to tell just when the very simple plan which afterward developed into the Settlement began to form itself in my mind. It may have been even before I went to Europe for the second time, but I gradually became convinced that it would be a good thing to rent a house in a part of the city where many primitive and actual needs are found, in which young women who had been given over too exclusively to study might restore a balance of activity along traditional lines and learn of life from life itself; where they might try out some of the things they had been taught and put truth to ‘the ultimate test of the conduct it dictates or inspires.’ I do not remember to have mentioned this plan to anyone until we [Addams, Ellen Gates Starr and several others] reached Madrid in April, 1888.   20  support of Karl Marx’s economic theories.7 The fluidity of the American class system differed from the socio-economic climate in the United Kingdom, where Toynbee and the Barnetts viewed the Industrial Revolution as the root cause of insurmountable inequality for those on the lowest rungs of urban society. In the United States, however, Addams and Starr traced the growing level of social and economic inequality to the rapid influx of newcomers and aimed to provide the means through which people might develop or enhance skills to improve their individual status in society (Sandercock 2009, 116). These different perspectives influenced how ‘settlement’ was applied in each setting: at Toynbee Hall, it was the ‘settlement’ of privileged university-men in poor neighbourhoods with working class men; at Hull-House, educated women were helping with the ‘settlement’ of poor newcomers in a tumultuous urban area (Sandercock 2009, 116).8, 9 As I discuss in Chapter 5, the North                                                  7 Louise Knight (2005, 172), Addams’ biographer, attributes this rejection to Addams’ wealthy upbringing and her tendency to focus on ideas rather than material conditions. Having benefited directly from the ownership of private property and naïve about the impacts of worker exploitation, the young Addams dismissed structural change and instead viewed the solution to oppression as “‘entirely individualistic: each person should change his or her own behaviour’” (qtd. in Knight 2005, 172). Robert Reinders’ (1982, 48) comparison of the American and British class systems offers another possible explanation for Addams’ individualism, noting that the American system was more fluid than the British class system, so American settlement workers did not necessarily view the poor as a “permanent underclass” but instead as a “group capable of improving their economic and social status.” Reinders (1982, 48) contrasts American settlement workers’ professional approach to assisting newcomers with Toynbee Hall’s reputation as “an establishment organization” where London’s elites could lead debates and give lectures as “an entrée to a career [where] ex-residents moved to positions of power in Britain and the Empire.” In contrast, the North American Settlement House movement is associated with the establishment of the social work profession: after their time at Hull House, Sophonisba Breckinridge, Edith Abbott, and Grace Abbott went on to form the Graduate School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago (The University of Chicago n.d.).  8 Although Addams and Starr shared the Barnetts’ interest in connecting educated individuals with individuals who had less material resources, Chicago’s Hull-House was established by  21  American Settlement House movement’s emphasis on engaging immigrants and newcomers, and especially women and families, was evident in the organization and operation of the Neighbourhood Houses where I conducted the research study presented in this dissertation.  1.4.3 Neighbourhood Houses and university research: A longstanding relationship Located in London’s East End, Toynbee Hall became a place where male university students paid to live and ‘settle’ among the working class in order to learn about their living conditions (Sandercock 2009, 115). In exchange, these students provided teaching, research,                                                                                                                                                        two women and oriented toward activities to promote the integration and adaptation of all newcomers to the United States. Hull-House’s members were not limited to workingmen and university men, as was the case in London’s Toynbee Hall. Throughout her memoir, Addams (1910) highlights the gendered nature of the charitable work she initiated in founding Chicago’s Hull-House and her general call for privileged and educated women to preserve a traditional role as nurturers who ought to respond to the needs of others. For Addams, her work at the Settlement House was conceived as a response to the formal education and activism that upper-class women had begun to participate in, as well as an opportunity perform the emotive work expected of women at the turn of the century.  9 I had the opportunity to tour Hull-House while visiting Chicago in August 2015 for the meetings of the American Sociological Association and Society for the Study of Social Problems. Standing in Addams’ bedroom, our young female tour guide described Addams and Starr’s Hull-House as a “site of queer domesticity.” While Addams never openly described herself as a lesbian, her love letters and poems record a lifetime of significant romantic relationships with women including a relationship with her Hull-House’s co-founder, Ellen Gates Starr. Addams’ personal life and tensions related to gendered expectations were reflected in the initiatives taken up at Hull-House; while Addams may have perceived a woman’s natural role to be one of nurturing and providing aid, this outlook was not shaped exclusively in terms of functional gender roles and structurally dyadic pairing. Rather, the women of Hull-House acted independently and even established the “Jane Club,” where unmarried or widowed women aged 18 to 45 could live together in a “self-supporting and cooperative manner” for three dollars per week (Whitcombe 1901, 87).  The Jane Club came about as a response to the living conditions and cost of rooming houses available to single women at the turn of the twentieth century. More broadly, however, this kind of organizing is just one example of the responsive initiatives and gendered programming that have characterized the Settlement House movement and Neighbourhood Houses since their establishment in North America.   22  and public service with the expectation that they would be advocates for improving the living and working conditions of the individuals they encountered in the Settlement House (Sandercock 2009, 115). First advocated for by Toynbee, the Barnetts also viewed this intermingling as a way of promoting inter-class contact and reducing the social distance between the working class and educated class.   In a lecture in 1892, Addams (1892, 125) described how the Settlement brought together theory and practice by doing something practical while simultaneously advancing an understanding of “social and industrial problems.” It is therefore unsurprising that Hull-House came be to well-known and respected as a site for groundbreaking sociological research conducted by women, some of which was most famously published in the Hull-House Maps and Papers in 1895 (Residents of Hull-House 2007). According to Mary Jo Deegan (1988, 6), a Jane Addams scholar, Hull-House Maps and Papers “predate[ed] and establish[ed] the interests of the early Chicago male sociologists” who made up the famous Chicago School.   The Settlement’s early emphasis on providing direct services and improving social conditions through evidence-based practices is not limited to Chicago’s Hull-House or college graduates. Reporting on the affiliation between New York City’s Greenwich House Settlement and Columbia University, Arthur R. Burns (1930, 128) describes the intention of the partnership as one where students would provide Settlement House members with services in exchange for gaining practical experience. In practice, however, the students were not able to provide the kinds of activities that the Settlement had initially hoped for, and so the direction of the affiliation shifted to a research project focused on the institutions’ mutual interest in the “study of social and economic conditions and in suggestions for their  23  amelioration” (Burns 1930, 128). Burns (1930, 129) goes on to state that the Settlement House gives students “practical contact with urban conditions among the lower income groups of the population” and that the settlement’s advantage as compared to other agencies is “its use as a social laboratory in which may be carried out field research by graduate students.”    Burns’ (1930) assertion about social organizations as laboratories for the academic study of urban conditions continues to be true today: Canadian Neighbourhood Houses, which evolved from the Settlement House movement, continue to provide undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members with community service learning and research opportunities. The fruitfulness of the university–Neighbourhood House affiliation is demonstrated by this dissertation, and the ongoing, evolving, and deepening relationships between the University of British Columbia’s Urban Ethnographic Field School and two Neighbourhood Houses that originally gave rise to my participation in the Pathways Project.  1.5 Research questions: Why is this study relevant?   This research begins from the standpoint of the women participating in the program in order to “find out just how people’s doings in the everyday are articulated to and coordinated by extended social relations that are not visible from within any particular local setting and just how people are participating in those relations” (Smith 2005, 36). The Pathways to Leadership program is a sociologically interesting site of study because of its unconventional operational structure and content as an employment and leadership skills program targeted specifically toward immigrant women who do not necessarily meet the criteria for participation in other settlement programs due to their immigration status, childcare needs, and/or English language proficiency.   24  As a multi-sited program funded by a non-profit foundation, delivered by a self-employed facilitator in the context of community organizations not entirely focused on settlement services, and evaluated by independent consultants, the PtL program offers a point of entry into a complex set of social relations and institutional orders coordinated across multiple settings (Smith 2005; Ng 1996). These social relations and institutional orders include, but are not limited to: everyday interactions between immigrant women, Neighbourhood House staff, facilitators and consultants; inter-institutional access to resources and services for the purpose of enhancing immigration-related social and economic integration; opportunities for the establishment of useful or meaningful social connections; and textual documents detailing government policies that structure immigration to Canada and the delivery of immigration-related services. Starting from the level of program participants’ experiences provides an opportunity to explicate the relations of ruling characteristic of institutional processes such as migration and settlement, and to explore how gender, race and citizenship status intersect for a particular group of immigrant women seeking employment in Canada (Browne and Misra 2003). From the in-depth “first-hand working knowledge” (Ng 1996, 19) I generated through my involvement in the complex, multi-sited, and multi-layered Pathways Out of Poverty project and Pathways to Leadership program prior to commencing my fieldwork, I identified three guiding questions and directions for sociological investigation: 1) What is the role and value of small-to-midsized organizations like Neighbourhood Houses in facilitating newcomer integration in the context of federally regulated immigration processes?  25  This question guides the analysis presented throughout the dissertation in that it brings together program participants’ experiences with the unique structure of PtL and Neighbourhood Houses. What makes Neighbourhood Houses different from other settlement-service organizations, and what value is created through these unique features? Chapter 2 describes the way in which I approached the research project to answer this question: I argue that embedded fieldwork is necessary for generating quality data that gets beyond the well-rehearsed narratives of PtL participants and organization staff who are accustomed to reporting their experiences to institutional representatives who wield power over their immigration and funding applications, for example.  2) How do the experiences of participants in the Pathways to Leadership program illuminate ways that gender, as a social construction with significant structural power, intersects with immigration status and race in the Canadian labour market?  This question draws attention to the different immigration programs that permit entry and/or permanent immigration to Canada and the impacts of these programs’ varying policies on the lives and employment trajectories of women who immigrate to Canada. In keeping with the emphasis on the everyday experiences of actual people, the immigration programs I examine in Chapter 3 – the Live-In Caregiver program, spousal sponsorship program, and refugee programs – are those identified by the women I interviewed (see Appendix B for research participants’ demographic information). As part of this analysis, I examine the “differential gendered effects of immigration policy” (Walton-Roberts 2004, 268) and interrogate the relevance of the recent literature on precarious migratory status (Goldring, Berinstein, and Bernhard 2009) by tacking between the experiences of the women and the gendered ideologies that inform Canadian immigration policy. This discussion demonstrates how these  26  programs classify and administer the immigration processes of immigrant women in ways that have long-term effects on their settlement and integration in Canada (Goldring and Landolt 2011).  3) How do the women participating in an employment and leadership skills program at a local non-profit organization make sense of their social location in Canadian society and in the Canadian labour market in light of their employment experiences and immigrant status?  This question draws attention to research participants’ migration experiences in terms of their status and economic achievement in Canada, with a particular emphasis on participants who arrived in Canada via the Federal Skilled Worker program as principal applicants or dependents (Bauder 2003). From the literature and my experience volunteering with the first cycle of the Pathways to Leadership program, I anticipated that the women participating in this research project would have varying levels of work experience, income, education, and training, and that participants’ opportunities for employment in Canada may not reflect the work experience, education, and/or training they obtained in their home countries.  Chapters 4 and 5 describe participants’ experiences generating or converting cultural and economic capital in the Canadian context, and how they are making sense of their social location in Canadian society given these experiences (Bourdieu 1998; Bourdieu 1984; Bourdieu 1977). More specifically, Chapter 4 explores the gendered division of reproductive labour and expectations around childrearing and domestic care responsibilities and their influence on participants’ employment readiness and access to labour market opportunities, while Chapter 5 describes the impact of their participation in the Pathways to Leadership program on their feelings of self-worth and full citizenship in Canadian society.   27  1.6 Situating in the study in the literature  The questions presented above merit thorough consideration, given the demographic impacts of immigration in Vancouver, BC. Census figures show that between 2001 and 2006, the rate of growth of the foreign-born population in metropolitan Vancouver was over 12 percent, which was more than five times the 2.3-percent increase in the Canadian-born population (Hiebert 2009, 7). In absolute terms, Vancouver’s population saw a net increase of 92,700 foreign-born individuals, compared with an increase of just less than 37,000 Canadian-born individuals. Since 2006, the annual immigration plans produced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the federal government department charged with managing issues related to immigration, refugees, and citizenship, have aimed to offer permanent residency status to between 240,000 and 265,000 individuals per year; in order to meet this target, the office anticipated accepting and evaluating 328,945 finalized applications in 2014 (Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2014; Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2013). These statistics demonstrate Canada’s active interest and success in recruiting and accepting immigrants from around the globe, and its enduring legacy as a preferred destination country for newcomers. That 158,600, or 62.3%, of these admissions are allocated for economic class immigrants demonstrates the federal government’s interest and investment in attracting skilled newcomers (Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2013).  The academic literature, however, documents the significant barriers many newcomers to Canada, including permanent residents and other migrants with more precarious legal statuses, face in their efforts to secure employment (Goldring and Landolt 2013; Creese 2011; Bauder 2003; Reitz and Sklar 1997). Understanding what is occurring for newcomers to Canada in the Vancouver labour market, and how their experiences are  28  coordinated locally and extralocally is essential in providing direction on how to improve settlement and employment outcomes for immigrants. The following discussion highlights the major bodies of literature relevant to the proposed study, including: emerging theoretical and empirical work on the concept of “precarious migrant status” in the Canadian context; the deskilling and downward mobility of ‘skilled’10 immigrants after arrival; and the intersection between race, class and gender manifested in employment and wage outcomes, especially as these pertain to racialized constructions of ‘immigrant women’ in Canadian immigration policy. 1.6.1 Precarious migrant status Canadian immigration policy creates a host of legal statuses that do not fit into the binary of legal/illegal that dominates the discussions and debates of our closest neighbour, the United States of America. In contrast to the USA’s popular awareness and public discussion of ‘illegal’ immigration, the majority of individuals in Canada arrive with some form of legal status, including, for example, a visitor visa, temporary work permit, or a declaration that they wish to apply for refugee status. As a result, the majority of people within Canada’s borders are known to the government but may have fallen out of legal status for a number of reasons, some of which are discussed in Chapter 3 (Goldring, Berinstein, and                                                  10 The shorthand reference to immigrants who come through the Federal Skilled Worker program as “skilled immigrants” implies that immigrants who arrive or settle in Canada via other immigration programs are less skilled. This dichotomy needs to be disturbed, in that study participants spoke about the multiple immigration programs that they and their families considered, and how their decision was typically predicated on the overall best fit for their immediate and/or ultimate intentions. For example, a number of the women who were applying for permanent residency via the spousal sponsorship program would have been more than eligible for the Federal Skilled Workers program.   29  Bernhard 2009, 239). Despite the vulnerabilities associated with precarious legal status, little attention has been paid to the policies and bureaucratic processes that leave some newcomers in Canada without the formal legal status necessary to participate as social, legal, and economic members of Canadian society.  As Luin Goldring and Patricia Landolt (2013, 7) explain, it is difficult to even estimate the number of individuals with precarious legal status in Canada. The Canadian government collects data on the number of individuals with authorized temporary status who enter Canada in a given year, and separate data on the number of individuals with authorized temporary status still present on December 1, yet there are no estimates on the amount of overlap between those two categories or data on the number of individuals with temporary authorized status who may have entered in a previous year or left before December 1. Goldring and Landolt (2013, 8) do, however, provide some sense of how many people may be living in Canada with authorized temporary status, stating:  The 2010 grand total of temporary resident entries in all categories was 383,929, and the total number still present in all categories reached 660,801. The latter probably underestimates the number of temporary residents present for most of the year, while the sum of the two figures, 981,137 people, may be an overestimate.  With regard to individuals without authorized status – the so-called ‘illegal’ migrant population in Canada – there is even less data and no systematic estimates such as the one presented above for individuals with authorized temporary status. According to Goldring and Landolt (2013, 8), a 2006 estimate put the number of unauthorized individuals in Canada at 200,000-500,000 – a number they state has “undoubtedly increased, but no new estimates are available.” This lack of information about even the number of individuals with precarious  30  legal status in Canada highlights the need for more empirical research and attention to the experiences of this population in Canada.  In their seminal paper on the topic, Goldring, Carolina Berinstein, and Judith Bernhard (2009, 240) develop a conceptual approach to “precarious migrant status” by examining the way in which immigration policies and programs produce “a confusing array of gradations of uncertain or ‘less than full’ migration status.” Goldring et al. (2009, 240-241) define “precarious status” as: The absence of any of the following elements normally associated with permanent residence (and citizenship) in Canada: (1) work authorization, (2) the right to remain permanently in the country (residence permit), (3) not depending on a third party for one’s right to be in Canada (such as a sponsoring spouse or employer), and (4) social citizenship rights available to permanent residents (e.g. public education and public health coverage).   The importance of defining and examining the experience of individuals with precarious migrant status in Canada is critical insofar as a lack of legal status creates and reproduces “an underclass that is vulnerable on several fronts, including inadequate access to health and other services, limited recourse in the event of abuse at work or other arenas, and deportation” (Goldring, Berinstein, and Bernhard 2009, 241). At the same time, people may shift through several legal statuses with different sets of rights and responsibilities as a result of the many different immigration programs administered by the Canadian state: For example, individuals who arrive in Canada through the temporary foreign worker program (TFWP) may be eligible to apply for permanent residency after fulfilling particular work experience requirements, while other programs cap the number of years that an individual may participate in a specific TFWP and the individual will be considered ‘illegal’ if he or she remains in Canada after that visa expires. The complexity of Canadian immigration policy,  31  the constant changes to its programs and processes, and long application processing times create dynamic and confusing conditions for determining someone’s legal status.  This dissertation adds to a growing body of empirical literature on the topic of precarious migrant status and “non-citizenship,” a term used by Goldring and Landolt (2013, 1) in their edited collection of work on the “regulatory, institutional, discursive, and practical terms under which precarious status non-citizens – those without permanent residence – enter and remain in Canada.” The connection between migration status and employment presented here is a fit with Goldring et al.’s (2009) intentional use of the word ‘precarious,’ which the authors employ in explicitly linking migration status to the growing body of literature on precarious employment in Canada (Vosko 2006). With the Canadian government’s emphasis on immigration as a route to economic growth (as cited above), scholarship examining the relationship between migration status and employment is critical. To the best of my knowledge, the study I conducted for the purposes of this dissertation is the first in-depth ethnography that purports to describe the experiences of a diverse range of women struggling to participate in the Canadian labour market for reasons related to their current or past precarious legal status.  1.6.2 ‘Skilled’ immigrants, labour market participation, and downward mobility A large proportion of recent immigrants to Canada are admitted under the points system and are on the whole more educated and skilled than the native born population,11 yet their unemployment rates are twice as high as similarly aged non-immigrants and their wages                                                  11 60 percent of recent immigrants have obtained at least an undergraduate degree, as compared to 20 percent of the Canadian-born population (Oreopoulos 2011, 149).   32  are approximately 35% lower (Oreopoulos 2011, 149). Skilled immigrants to Canada face exclusion from the middle and upper segments of the labour market as a result of professional associations, regulatory bodies, and employers that fail to recognize their foreign credentials and/or experience, or to provide efficient ways of having these assessed (Bauder 2003; Ng 1996). This devaluation of education and work experience contributes to immigrant deskilling and downward mobility (Creese and Wiebe 2012, 57). The situation is made worse by the fact that many immigrants to Canada “feel that they have been tricked” by “immigration policies and labor-market regulations that do not disclose to immigrants prior to their arrival in Canada that their human capital will be devaluated” (Bauder 2003, 713). The points system gives credit to education and credentials for the purposes of immigration that are not recognized in the Canadian labour market, which confuses and frustrates newcomers to Canada who expect to work in the same upper labour market segments for which they were trained in their home countries.   In addition to Canadian education and credentials, most mid- to upper-level labour market opportunities also demand several years of Canadian experience (Preston and Man 1999). However, the demand for Canadian experience in the workforce presents a paradoxical situation: without Canadian experience, newcomers have difficulty accessing meaningful employment, but this experience is difficult to gain if you don’t already have some Canadian experience (Chun and Cheong 2011). The requirement for multiple years of Canadian experience discriminates against recent newcomers who have not yet had the opportunity to accumulate this experience, which in turn causes downward mobility and deskilling over time as a result of being shut out of middle- to upper-level employment opportunities (Pratt 2004). Highlighting how textual documents serve as “objectified forms  33  of consciousness and organization” that mediate social organization and social relations (Smith 2005, 227), newcomers report the frustration of being told they are ‘overqualified’ based on resumes that include their credentials and qualifications from their sending countries, and on an economic reality that erases this cultural and human capital in their efforts to obtain survival employment (Creese and Wiebe 2012). The class and status displacement that a large proportion of newcomers experience as a result of coming to Canada is often unexpected, and, given the centrality of work in understanding one’s social value and location (Bourdieu 1984), this loss has significant repercussions on one’s confidence and identity. While the shock associated with unmet expectations may be changing as Internet access makes information about the settlement process more available, individuals can anticipate class and status dislocation through the experience of immigration, with effects worthy of scholarly investigation.   Assumptions related to language proficiency are an additional barrier to labour market integration. Offering a potential explanation for different callback rates to resumes with foreign-sounding names versus English-sounding names, Philip Oreopoulos (2009, 26) states that employers may “statistically discriminate by name and location of experience because they believe these characteristics signal a greater chance of inadequate language and cultural skills for the job.” Gillian Creese and Brandy Wiebe (2012, 65) also complicate the relationship between language proficiency and labour market opportunity in their discussion of accent discrimination: raised in Commonwealth countries and formally educated in English, the participants in their study had emigrated from African countries to Vancouver, BC, and identified accent discrimination as a major and ongoing barrier to obtaining employment. In another study, Creese and Edith Kambere (2003, 571) note that skin colour  34  and accents are inseparable characteristics, arguing, “African immigrant women experience language as a problem in their daily lives not because they have difficulty with expression or comprehension, but because their accents mark them as immigrant, African, Black, women perceived to have low English-language competency.” As these findings from Creese and Wiebe (2012) and Creese and Kambere (2003) indicate, common understandings of language proficiency are not only based on skill, but also intersect with hierarchies of race and colonial histories (see also Creese 2011).  1.6.3 Intersections of race, class, and gender in the labour market  Erasing the value of non-Canadian credentials, requiring applicants to have Canadian experience, and discriminating against qualified candidates based on accents all serve to prevent immigrants, and racialized immigrants in particular, from accessing living wage work in Vancouver. One participant in Creese and Wiebe’s (2012, 65) study went so far as to state that the real reason she was not promoted was because she was black – not because she spoke with an accent, as her employer had claimed. Highlighting the impact of race and immigration status as interlocking systems, Creese and Wiebe (2012, 58) state that “white immigrants fare better than immigrants of color, and a wage gap persists between Canadian-born women and men of color and Canadian-born whites.” Elsewhere, Creese (2011, 8, emphasis in original) states, “for Canadians of colour in particular, designation as immigrant and foreign never disappears, even for the Canadian-born.” Jeffrey Reitz and Sherrilyn Sklar’s (1997, 269) study of the economic integration of immigrants to Canada demonstrates the economic implications of these designations, illustrating how, unlike immigrants of European origin who are “treated as ‘foreign’ on a culture-contingent basis, all racial minorities are treated as ‘foreign’ regardless of culture.  35  These [racial minority] groups experience earnings disadvantages unrelated to specific behavior or cultural-group attachment.” These findings are supported by Krishna Pendakur and Simon Woodcock (2010, 186) who, using data from the Canadian Workplace and Employee Survey to compare economy-wide wage outcomes, report that “immigrants face substantial economy-wide and within-firm mean wage gaps in comparison to Canadian-born white workers [and] unsurprisingly, mean wage gaps are larger for recent immigrants than non-recent immigrants, and larger for visible minority immigrants than white immigrants.”   As Reitz and Sklar (1997) and Pendakur and Woodcock (2010) highlight, the term ‘immigrant’ has racial connotations, and the phenotypical features ascribed to ‘minority immigrants’ have economic consequences. Put plainly, “women who are white, educated, and English-speaking are rarely considered to be immigrants,” even though the term “immigrant woman” technically refers to all women who are landed immigrants in Canada (Ng 1996, 16; see also Creese 2011). In addition to the barriers to labour market integration outlined above, racism and sexism intersect and impact immigrant women’s lives in ways that cannot be adequately considered by exploring the racial or gender dimensions of those experiences separately (Crenshaw 1991, 1244; see the discussion of theoretical concepts below). Such experiences include the racial division of institutionalized reproductive labour (Glenn 1992), labour market structures that conceive of women’s employment as supplementary rather than central to the economic livelihood of families (Engels 2010; Fudge and Vosko 2001; Ng 1996; Crenshaw 1991; Acker 1990), and familial expectations around care-giving and domestic work (Hochschild and Machung 1989).   Canadian state immigration policy contributes to this production of immigrant women as dependents with unequal citizenship by way of organizing immigration into two major  36  categories – economic immigrants and family class – a distinction that masculinizes “the independent class [economic immigrants] as an economically productive category, while feminizing the family class as one of ‘non-economic’ immigrants, ‘dependents’ who had to be sponsored and provided for,” according to Sunera Thobani (2000, 19). In 2013, the year this dissertation research was conducted, 51% of economic immigrants were men and 49% were women; however, 61% of the principal applicants were men and only 39% were women (Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2015d). The way in which Canadian immigration policy distinguishes between principal applicants and dependent applicants demonstrates how the state contributes to the social construction of women as dependents or individuals most suitable for performing highly gendered reproductive labour, even when they enter Canada as economic immigrants.12 Despite these constructions, however, most sponsored women enter the paid labour force soon after arriving in Canada (Thobani 2000, 19). Chapters 3 and 4 discuss policy and gender issues in greater detail.   1.7 Theoretical concepts informing the study  The literature summarized above helped to hone my understanding of the issues and empirical areas of attention relevant to contemporary empirical studies of immigration in the Canadian context. At the same time, several key theoretical concepts and terms from everyday speech commonly used in institutional discourse have helped me to analyze the data I generated. These concepts and terms are not always referred to or explicitly cited                                                  12 The gender constraints of Canadian immigration policy operate in tandem and, in many ways, reproduce home-country gender ideologies. Chapter 3 provides a more detailed discussion of the relationship between home-country gender ideology and migration to Canada.   37  throughout the dissertation, but they provide the scaffolding upon which I initially constructed the interview guide and subsequently began my data analysis.  ‘Immigrant women’ is a term that appears frequently in the literature and even appeared in the text of the recruitment poster for the Pathways to Leadership program. Ng (1996, 16) describes “immigrant women” as “a socially constructed category presupposing, among other things, a labour market relation,” noting how it “conjures up the image of a woman who does not speak English or who speaks English with an accent; who is from the Third World or a member of a visible minority group; and who has a certain type of job (e.g., a sewing machine operator or a cleaning lady).” Similarly, Guida Man (2004, 137) explains how “in using the term ‘immigrant’ women, I am not referring to the legal, technical notion of the word (i.e., someone who is legally not a Canadian citizen). Rather, I am employing the common sense usage of the word to refer to people who are seen as immigrants by others, regardless of their formal legal status.” Immigrant women is therefore a term that denotes the complex intersection between race and legal status, particularly in the context of Canada’s colonial history where whites are designated as “old stock Canadians,” a semantic term mobilized by Conservative party leader Stephen Harper in the 2015 federal election campaign, while bodies of other skin tones and colors are marked as different and immigrant regardless of when they or their families arrived in Canada.  In this dissertation, the term ‘immigrant women’ is a starting point for explicating the range of socially located, physically embodied, and historically contingent experiences described by research participants in this study. Through ideology and identification, the commonsense and prevalent understanding of the term ‘immigrant women’ functions to signal a particular social and economic location based on race and gender categories. In his  38  1971 essay, Louis Althusser (2009, 100, 102) defines ideology as “a ‘representation’ of the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence,” and in particular, to the “relations of production and to class relations.” This “imaginary relation” has “material existence” in its conceptualization of the individual as “a subject endowed with a consciousness in which he [sic] freely forms or freely recognizes ideas in which he believes.” In turn, these ideas inform an individual’s attitudes and practices (Althusser 2009, 102). This “‘know-how’ [is taught] in schools, churches and through the media, in forms which ensure subjection to the ruling ideology or the mastery of its ‘practice’” (Althusser 2009, 88, emphasis in original). Ideology is in this way invisible and ahistorical, while nevertheless responsible for reproducing labour power, as well as labour power’s “subjection to the ruling ideology or of the ‘practice’ of that ideology” in classed societies (Althusser 2009, 88).   The poster placed in Neighbourhood Houses and posted online to advertise the Pathways to Leadership program described it as “an employment and leadership skills training program for immigrant women.” This description evoked a clear definition of the intended program audience: racialized women who wished to improve their class standing and relation to the means of production in Canada. Through practices of ideology, subjects such as ‘immigrant women’ are interpellated, or hailed, into particular subject-positions or identities with material consequences. For a non-white woman who migrates to Canada, a likely subject position is the one of ‘immigrant woman,’ with its associated class and status assumptions (Ng 1996; see also Creese 2011, 8-9). Stuart Hall (2000, 19) builds on Althusser’s concept of ideological interpellation, and provides direction for how I theorize the term ‘immigrant women’ as an “identity” in the sense of “the meeting point, the point of suture, between […] the discourses and practices which attempt to ‘interpellate’, speak to us  39  or hail us into place as the social subjects of particular discourses, and […] the processes which produce subjectivities, which construct us as subjects which can be ‘spoken.’” In other words, ‘immigrant women’ becomes a term that calls or hails racialized women into programs such as the Pathways to Leadership program, while at the same time it serves to conjure up an (often misinformed) image of what it means – socially and economically – to be a woman of color in Canada. Ideology, interpellation, and identity are key concepts for exploring the classification struggles of participants of this study.  Interrogating the ideology that reproduces “immigrant women” as a discursive category and material reality requires a more nuanced conceptual understanding of social stratification and its institutional conditions than the concepts discussed above offer. In addition to the neo-Marxist concepts described above, I selectively draw from and combine concepts from Marxist and feminist theoretical traditions to support the Weberian approach to class and status that frames this dissertation. Max Weber’s (1978) discussion of class, status and party from Economy and Society, posthumously published in 1922, outlines a multidimensional framework for examining the class, status, and citizenship dimensions of classification as I explore them in this study. Weber (1978, 4) defines sociology as “a science concerning itself with the interpretive understanding of social action and thereby with a causal explanation of its course and consequences,” an orientation that fits with his emphasis on how social actors make meaning and exert agency within the constraints of a social structure that both enables and limits opportunity. In the passage below, Weber (1978, 937, emphasis in original) summarizes the distinctions between class, status, and power, highlighting the implications of each for an individual’s position within the larger social situation:   40  ‘Classes’ are stratified according to their relations to the production and acquisition of goods; whereas ‘status groups’ are stratified according to the principles of their consumption of goods as represented by special ‘styles of life.’ An ‘occupational group’ is also a status group. For normally, it successfully claims social honor only by virtue of the special style of life which may be determined by it. The differences between classes and status groups frequently overlap […] ‘Parties’ live in a house of ‘power’ [and] parties may represent interests determined through ‘class situation’ or ‘status situation’ […] but they need be neither purely ‘class’ not purely ‘status.’  Weber’s (1978, 926) framework provides a set of conceptual tools for examining social stratification, a macro-level phenomenon, through a micro-level examination of an individual’s class position in terms of their economic situation; status in terms of prestige, honor or lifestyle acquired through birth, occupation or ethnicity; and power, defined as one’s ability to realize one’s own will in communal action even against the resistance of others. The concept of party, which Weber relates to the realm of politics and therefore to citizenship, is crucial to an analysis of how immigration policies reflect a particular value rationality reflective of the particular community, or Gemeinschaft, of Canadian society (Waters and Waters 2016, 2). Tony Waters and Dagmar Waters (2016) offer a more precise translation of how Weber conceived of social inequality in his widely cited fragment, “The Distribution of Power Within the Political Community: Class, Status, Party” (Weber 1978, 926-940). Waters and Waters (2016, 2) argue that in Weber’s thinking, “status groups (German: Stand/Stände) emerge from the most basic nature of society, rooted in what Weber identifies as the Gemeinschaft, or ‘the community.’” According to Waters and Waters (2016, 2), “for Weber the Gemeinschaft defines value-embedded issues like citizenship, equality before the law, human rights, the extent of markets and trade laws.” Accordingly, “the Gemeinschaft always underpins the Gesellschaft [including the rational marketplace and bureaucracies] for  41  Weber,” in that the values of the Gemeinschaft, or community, are then used to create the limits of the instrumentally rational Gesellschaft rather than the other way around (Waters and Waters 2016, 2). Following this logic, I consider how immigration policies are not the result of impartial arguments or thinking but instead involve a political struggle of the legal order that “occurs by appealing to the values of the Gemeinschaft [community], while using the amoral instrumental values of the Gesellschaft [society] to actually seek power” (Waters and Waters 2016, 4–5). Chapter 3’s discussion of Canada’s immigration policy history demonstrates the extent to which bureaucratic policies and practices are not neutral and objective, but in fact emerge from communal ideas and values about class and status.   While the political parties that implement immigration policies may claim to rely on instrumental rationality, Weber’s conceptualization of social stratification helps us understand the extent to which immigration programs also act as streams that determine an individual’s potential to achieve Stand. In Canada, some immigration policies provide a legal pathway for some newcomers to be included in the nation as formal Canadian citizens, at the same time as other newcomers are blocked from ever achieving that legal status. As a result, some newcomers are better positioned to achieve the Stand of being included in the national imagination as Canadian citizens while others face a much more tenuous and difficult path toward that same Stand. Despite the claim that immigration programs are based on a meritocratic ideology that formally assesses all individuals equally, their implementation may lead to inequality in actual practice: the regulations that accompany certain kinds of applications as compared to others, or the processing wait times and restrictions that often apply during these periods create the conditions by which people come to find themselves  42  with an inferior Stand, and consequently, without substantial economic power. For Weber, status inequality is ‘ideal typically’ rooted in abstract honour and privilege, not economics. And it is the inequality in abstract honour and privilege that has financial consequences. For Weber it is inequality in abstract honours and prestige of the Gemeinschaft that leads to economic inequality of the Gesellschaft, not the other way around (Waters and Waters 2016, 3).   Clarifying how economic inequality can arise from status inequality as a result of the Gemeinschaft’s power to allocate abstract honour and privilege is useful for examining why some groups of newcomers may experience expedited settlement and integration processes as compared to other groups. This conceptual discussion is especially relevant to the issues of occupational status and gender identity that I discuss in Chapters 3 and 4, with regard to the structural barriers that block some newcomer women’s pathways to the paid labour market and mid- to high-status occupational positions.   These structural barriers to economic achievement and status recognition are also tied to newcomers’ perceptions of belonging and non-belonging, as I discuss in Chapter 5. These forms of struggle can leave newcomers feeling as outsiders rather than as members of the society. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2012, n.p.) defines the terms settlement and integration as follows:  Settlement refers to the initial and short-term transitional issues faced by newcomers, while integration is an ongoing process of mutual accommodation between an individual and society. The key to maximizing the benefits of immigration is ensuring that newcomers have the information, tools and opportunities to realize their potential and become fully engaged in all aspects of Canadian society.   This definition highlights the temporal sequence of settlement coming before integration, and defines integration on the basis of shared accommodation demonstrated by newcomers and members of Canadian society. CIC’s definition echoes John W. Berry’s (1997, 9) widely- 43  cited framework on acculturation that describes integration as “an interest in both maintaining one’s original culture, while in daily interactions with other groups […] here, there is some degree of cultural integrity maintained, while at the same time seeking to participate as an integral part of the larger social network.” Berry (1997, 10–11) goes on to state that integration is only possible in “societies that are explicitly multicultural,” since integration requires “acceptance by both groups of the right of all groups to live as culturally different people.”   Despite definitions involving mutual accommodation and acceptance of the right for group members to live as culturally different people, Peter Li (2003, 327) argues that the integration discourse in Canada “clearly upholds conformity as the desirable outcome of the successful integration of immigrants” and that the “discourse [suggests] that it is immigrants and not Canadian society and its institutions that are required to change.” Li (2003, 325) cites numerous empirical studies that measure integration as performing as well as or better than individuals born in Canada, where “proper integration necessitates immigrants performing as well as the average Canadian in terms of per-capita productivity, but successful integration requires immigrants to do better than the native-born so that the resident population can benefit from immigration.” Li (2003, 326) finds similar measures of success for cultural integration, where minority immigrants “are more likely to be racialized or stigmatized due to racial discrimination and a greater reluctance on the part of native-born Canadians to accept them as legitimate Canadians or equals.”  Li’s findings demonstrate the tensions between the Canadian Gesellschaft’s institutionally sanctioned definition of the term ‘integration,’ and the Gemeinschaft’s everyday use of the term. Chapter 3 provides a more  44  extended discussion of multiculturalism in Canada and the complicated history it both accompanied and perpetuated.  On the whole, the dissertation raises questions about CIC’s idealized definition of integration given the class, status, and citizenship challenges faced by some groups of newcomers with racial and gender identities or precarious legal statuses that leave them vulnerable to economic, social, and political exclusion. Integration is often measured by immigrant’s achievement of particular forms of capital, including economic capital, which is “immediately and directly convertible into money,” and cultural capital, which are acquired assets that can be mobilized for the purpose of social mobility (Bourdieu 1986, 47). Heavily inspired by Weber (1978), Pierre Bourdieu (1984, 113) uses ethnographic data to explicate how class and status function through the accumulation and conversion of economic and cultural forms of “capital,” where capital is conceived of as “a social relation”  rather than exclusively as a material substance. This “economy of practices” is organized hierarchically, and the social relation of capital “only exists and produces its effects in the field in which it is produced and reproduced” (Bourdieu 1984, 112). In other words, the value of one’s economic resources or status position can only be understood relative to the economic resources and status position of others in the same society.  According to Bourdieu’s (1984) theory of social space, each individual holds a volume of economic capital and a volume of cultural capital (concepts that broadly correspond to Weber’s [1978] concepts of class and status), the combination or proportion of which translates into conditions of existence that position the individual in the field of social space relative to other agents and their respective volumes and ratios of capital. I draw on Weber (1978) and Bourdieu (1984) to examine the relationship or ratio between class  45  (roughly determined by one’s volume of economic capital) and status (based mainly on one’s volume of cultural capital) among the ‘immigrant women’ who participated in this study. In Chapter 4, I explore questions related to shifts in overall volume and proportion of economic and cultural capital as a result of immigrating to Canada. That chapter provides a backdrop for untangling the complicated consequences of immigration on one’s position among other individuals and within in a new political structure. As research shows, the poorest of the poor do not tend to migrate internationally since they typically lack the resources and connections required to facilitate such movements (Lipton 1980, 4). Voluntary migrants – those who choose to leave their home country – are typically in a position to do so because they possess some volume of economic capital and/or cultural capital that they can convert into documents for entry into a new country, the cost for the physical transportation and establishment of a new home, and labour market prospects in the new country (Lipton 1980, 4). Chapter 4 explores the impacts of immigration to Canada on the class and status positions of study participants who were not able to convert cultural capital from their home countries as they had intended to, or believed they could, prior to immigration.   John Porter’s (2015, 73) classic 1965 study of social class and power in Canada revealed how the country’s colonial history has resulted in a situation where “immigration and ethnic affiliation (or membership in a cultural group) have been important factors in the formation of social classes,” namely in “building up the bottom layer of the stratification system.” Weber’s framework also discusses race and ethnicity as aspects of the status dimension of social stratification, noting that status groups may form along ethnic lines and give rise to “ethnic coexistences” that “condition the reciprocal repulsion and disdain but allow each ethnic community to consider its own honor as the highest one” (Weber 1978,  46  934; see Lamont 2000, 55-96 for an updated discussion on the role of morality in the maintenance of racial boundaries). According to Waters and Waters (2016, 9), Weber “considered race to be an extreme form of an ethnic Stand, in which inherited but arbitrarily selected visible characteristics are perceived as a common trait and a basis for repulsion.” In the section on “Ethnic Groups” in Economy and Society, Weber (1978, 385) explains how “persons who are externally different are simply despised irrespective of what they accomplish or what they are, or they are venerated superstitiously if they are too powerful in the long run.” As Weber (1978, 385) elaborates,  race creates a ‘group’ only when it is subjectively perceived as a common trait: this happens only when a neighbourhood or the mere proximity of racially different persons is the basis of joint (mostly political) action, or conversely, when some common experiences of members of the same race are linked to some antagonism against members of an obviously different group […] In all groups with a developed ‘ethnic’ consciousness the existence or absence of intermarriage (connubium) would then be a normal consequence of racial attraction or segregation.   Weber’s definitions of ‘race group’ and ‘ethnic consciousness’ describe how these different categories come to be formed on the basis of social interactions rather than physical characteristics. Weber’s description thus supports the argument that race and ethnicity are socially constructed concepts that have real effects in terms of structuring group membership and social stratification, a point I substantiate throughout the dissertation and especially in Chapter 5.  Following Edna Bonacich (1972, 548), I define the terms race and ethnicity in this study according to the following distinction: “The difference between race and ethnicity lies in the size of the locale from which a group stems, races generally coming from continents and ethnicities from national sub-sections of continents.” Bonacich’s definition shares similarities with Weber’s conceptualization of race groups and ethnic consciousness, in that  47  members of an ethnic group share more intimate ties than members of racial groups. Moreover, I, like many scholars (Browne and Misra 2003; Espiritu 1992), conceive of race to be a fluid, socially constructed category loosely based on phenotypical features, and often employed for the purposes of social stratification. As Noel Ignatiev (1995) demonstrates in his historical examination of how Catholic Irish immigrants arriving in post-Revolution America became ‘white’ by perpetuating a form of racial oppression against Afro-Americans that they themselves had been subject to in Ireland, racial privilege and oppression are not ahistorically fixed but socially contingent. Similarly, work by Ruth Frankenberg (1993), Matthew F. Jacobson (1998), and Bridgit Rasmussen et al. (2001) documents the contested nature of “whiteness” as a racial category, and its role in the (re)production of social inequality.  In my study, I show how whiteness as an aspect of racialization contributed to PtL program participants’ notions of what it meant to be a ‘real Canadian.’ As Chapter 5 describes in detail, the PtL program participants viewed “Caucasians,” a term they frequently employed, as “real Canadians” while all others were marked as being “immigrant” and non-members of Canadian society.   Study participants’ shared understandings of what it looks like to be a “real Canadian” and what it looks like to be an “immigrant” are critical because the concept of race cannot be understood apart from systems of class and gender. The term “immigrant women,” as used in the Pathways to Leadership program description and elsewhere, is a signifier of a particular economic and racial position in that it rarely conjures up an image of a light-skinned woman who speaks with a British accent. In this study, I conceptualize race and gender as “interlocking systems” thereby constructing an integrative approach to unpacking issues of intersectionality in order to better understand how these factors interact  48  to produce particular life-chances for women of colour (Glenn 1992, 3; Weber 1978, 927). Feminist theories of intersectionality, which describe how discrimination based on race, gender, and class overlap and diverge in certain ways and with consequences that cannot be wholly captured by looking at each dimension separately, provide tools for “reveal[ing] how power works in diffuse and differentiated ways through the creation and deployment of overlapping identity categories” (Crenshaw 1991, 1244). Examining how Canadian immigration programs structure women’s legal and practical ability to access the employment and educational opportunities necessary to facilitate integration in Chapters 3 and 4, I demonstrate how policy and the funded settlement services that result from these policies create gendered and racialized pathways toward low-wage, precarious forms of employment and limited forms of civic participation.   Intersectional theories provide conceptual tools for better understanding how individuals located within particular structures reproduce privilege and inequality by simultaneously drawing on and constructing identity categories, such as ‘real Canadians’ and ‘immigrant women.’ As work by Arlie Hochschild (2004), Saskia Sassen (2004; 1981), and Irene Browne and Joya Misra (2003) demonstrates, neoliberal structural adjustment policies have made migration for economic reasons more lucrative, giving rise to a pool of ‘immigrant women’ who have relocated to wealthier countries in search of greater economic opportunity. While individuals may migrate for an infinite number of reasons, intersectional approaches to understanding labour market experiences help us to explicate how race, gender, and class shape labour market opportunities in the Canadian context.  Taken together, the concepts outlined above provide tools for analyzing the social processes that gave rise to the economic and social injustices PtL program participants faced  49  after arriving in Canada. Nancy Fraser (2013, 192) offers a “three-dimensional theory of justice,” where she defines justice in terms of what she calls the “parity of participation: justice requires social arrangements that permit all to participate as peers in social life,” and includes concepts that correspond with the class structure, status order, and political distribution of power described by Weber (1978) and Bourdieu (1998; 1984). Where Fraser (2013, 192-196) is more precise, however, is in her discussion of how “distributive injustice or maldistribution” and “status inequality or misrecognition” are linked to political injustice or “misrepresentation” (see also Kemple 2014, 131–133). Fraser’s (2013) scheme of justice is formulated in terms of the redistribution of wealth and resources, the recognition of status and identity, and the representation of citizens and group members. Of particular relevance to this study is Fraser’s (2013, 196-197) discussion of how misrepresentation may arise “when the community’s boundaries are drawn in such a way as to wrongly exclude some people from the chance to participate at all in its authorized contests over justice.” Attention to “misframing,” as Fraser (2013, 197) terms it, is critical, in that frame-setting about who counts as members and non-members “effectively excludes the latter from the universe of those entitled to consideration within the community in matters of distribution, recognition, and ordinary-political representation.”  Only Canadians citizens are eligible to vote in federal and provincial elections, and immigrants are not eligible to apply for citizenship until they have met a number of requirements, including a minimum residency period within the nation-state. As a result, newcomers in Canada are “denied the chance to press first-order justice claims in [the] given political community,” a reality that prevents newcomers from countering injustices of maldistribution or misrecognition unless they otherwise develop the individual and/or  50  collective capacity to advocate for themselves in alternative political domains. While the concepts of maldistribution and misrecognition are addressed in Chapters 3 and 4, Chapter 5 highlights the way in which the Pathways to Leadership program raised participants’ awareness of how the economic, legal status, and social identity challenges they faced were the result of systemic barriers to integration rather than personal failings. This newfound awareness was critical to fostering PtL program participants’ interest in pursuing leadership opportunities, and was a first step in realizing the ideal of justice expressed in Fraser’s (2013, 199) slogan for parity of participation: “No redistribution or recognition without representation.” This slogan also highlights future directions for addressing multiple and intersecting forms of oppression related to gender, race, and class, as I argue in the conclusion.   1.8 Dissertation chapters Drawing on the terms and concepts discussed above, the remaining chapters of this dissertation will focus on the fieldwork process and substantive research findings. Chapter 2 provides more detail about my methodology for conducting fieldwork and interviews, and highlights the distinctive insights about the experiences, challenges and understandings of the women involved and participating in the PtL program. Specifically, this chapter argues that when researching a group of women with complex and diverse migration pathways, embedded fieldwork is necessary for building the trust and rapport necessary to ‘get at the heart of the matter.’ The chapter also provides detail about the writing and ethnographic conventions that I do (or do not) adhere to in the dissertation and the rationale for these decisions. The effort to reflect on the research process in order to contextualize the data  51  generation and analysis processes is in line with the feminist theories and methodological approaches guiding this study. Chapter 3 is framed by Canada’s history of immigration policy and the three major streams of immigration – economic, family reunification, and humanitarian – that have structured immigration practices since the late 1960s. Drawing on three narratives of Pathways to Leadership program participants’ experiences after entering Canada, this chapter focuses on how people engage in what I call (following Bourdieu [1984, 479-481]) ‘classification struggles’ as they apply to immigrate to Canada, and considers how the stream of immigration by which they enter has consequences for their settlement and integration experiences after they arrive in Canada, along with their longer-term trajectories of economic and status achievement in Canada. Drawing from Fraser’s (2013) concept of maldistribution, I argue that immigration programs that restrict women’s ability to work leave them vulnerable and at-risk of never achieving the ‘Canadian dream’ that motivated their migration to Canada in the first place. Focusing on the women who described precarious legal status experiences as they worked towards permanent residency and Canadian citizenship, this chapter contributes to the growing empirical literature on precarious migration status and its uneven impacts, particularly for women (Goldring and Landolt 2013; Goldring, Berinstein, and Bernhard 2009). Chapter 4 moves from the questions of class discussed in the previous chapter, both in the bureaucratic sense of being classified for the purposes of immigration and the economic sense of monetary earnings, toward a discussion of social status. This chapter examines the relationship between work and identity, and the socio-psychological consequences of having that relationship disrupted after immigration. In addition to  52  discussing the challenges that Pathways to Leadership participants faced as they struggled to regain some of the social status they had lost after immigration at the same time some were striving to attain legal status as permanent residents, this chapter explores how the post-arrival settlement programs funded precisely to alleviate these adjustment difficulties, including English language training programs, were not accessible to many of the PtL program participants I interviewed. This chapter focuses on the impact of foreign credential non-recognition, and the social status conflicts that occur as a result of the misrecognition of linguistic and educational forms of cultural capital (Fraser 2013; Bourdieu 1998; Bourdieu 1984; Weber 1978). Chapter 5 focuses on participants’ experiences in the Pathways to Leadership program, and particularly how Neighbourhood Houses offer a unique form of settlement services that serve to build citizenship. Following from Fraser’s (2013) slogan “No redistribution or recognition without representation,” I argue that the leadership skills component of the Pathways to Leadership program achieved its objective of building participants’ awareness of systemic barriers, which in turn motivated them to become more engaged citizens in their communities. The level of civic participation that women demonstrated by the end of the program was remarkable, given the relatively short term of 16 weeks. Neighbourhood Houses facilitate a sense of belonging in Canada by providing participants with meaningful opportunities for connecting with other individuals facing similar life circumstances. At the same time, the program participants gain concrete skills related to employment in Canada and are encouraged to reconnect with the self-confidence they may have ‘lost in translation’ when relocating from their home country to Canada. Taken together, this networking and skill building process promotes Neighbourhood House  53  members’ sense of civic membership in Canada even if they are not (yet) legal citizens of the Canadian state.  The conclusion highlights the key findings presented in this dissertation and its contribution to the sociological literature. It summarizes the challenges that Neighourhood Houses and other non-profits face in terms of funding settlement services, and posits some potential citizenship-related solutions to these challenges. It highlights existing gaps in Canadian immigration processes and, on the other hand, looks toward the promise of brighter days in Canadian politics and what changing immigration policies might mean for newcomer women entering Canada within the next several years. The dissertation concludes by outlining four policy recommendations at the federal, provincial, and neighbourhood levels, and directions for future research in this area.  Chapter 2: A View From Somewhere: Getting to the Heart of the Matter Through Embedded Fieldwork But that’s the name of the game. You’re artificially forcing yourself to be tuned into something that you then pick up as a witness – not as an interviewer, not as a listener, but as a witness to how they react to what gets done to and around them. – Erving Goffman, in a posthumously published talk on doing participant-observation given at the Pacific Sociological Association meetings in 1974 (Goffman 1989, 126).  As described in my introductory chapter, this dissertation is a product of a distinctive set of ethnographic fieldwork and interview experiences conducted over a prolonged period and in the context of three institutions – two Neighbourhood Houses, and one research-intensive university – with three sets of sometimes overlapping and sometimes distinct relationships. The most challenging aspect of producing this dissertation has been the process of translating the embodied and intimate nature of the fieldwork and in-depth interviews into a coherent and cohesive body of text that substantiates the analytical claims I, as sole interpreter and author, present here. Donna Haraway (1988, 589) offers a post-positivistic perspective on the necessary struggle of conducting and writing up research that the researcher acknowledges to be embodied and situated:  I am arguing for politics and epistemologies of location, positioning, and situating, where partiality and not universality is the condition of being heard to make rational knowledge claims. These are claims on people’s lives. I am arguing for the view from a body, always a complex, contradictory, structuring, and structured body, versus the view from above, from nowhere, from simplicity.   Following from Haraway’s notion of a view from somewhere, the first part of this chapter tracks the research process by discussing the methodological approaches that informed my conceptualization of the project and positioning the fieldwork in an ontological and real-time context. Then, I describe the first steps of the data generation from a reflexive standpoint. The third part of the chapter describes how I collected and analyzed the data, and accounts    55 for the messiness of the fieldwork by explaining my decisions about whom to interview. The chapter concludes with a discussion of research ethics in the context of long-term ethnographic projects.  In addition to accounting for how I generated and analyzed the data, this chapter demonstrates my embeddedness in the research sites and the depth of the relationships I formed with my research participants. The significance of this embeddedness in the generation of rich and deep narratives cannot be understated: for women who may have been excluded from formal membership and belonging in Canada, or from accessing social and health services, or isolated due to a lack of extended social networks and/or institutional supports for childrearing, the PtL program offered a space where their experiences could be shared without judgment. For many of the women participating in the program, this space was their first opportunity in Canada to describe their struggles to a group of other individuals who understood the challenges they faced.  Moreover, and shockingly, many women described the transformation they experienced when they learned through their participation in the program that they were not the only ones facing these difficulties. For many participants, the PtL program was the first instance they came to recognize how their inability to find employment was not the result of personal failings but of institutional policies and practices that structurally excluded them from the labour market. Similarly, although Neighbourhood House staff members were well versed in describing their day-to-day work, most were less used to connecting that work to their own migration experiences or articulating their personal reasons for their deep commitment to the women and families with whom they worked. With these issues in mind, I aim to demonstrate how my own vulnerabilities and presence in the research helped to    56 break down the barriers between the researcher and researched in an effort to co-create a deep understanding of women’s actual, everyday experiences as immigrants and/or advocates that would not have occurred via other research methods.  2.1 Standpoint, interpretation, and ethnography: A hermeneutic, context-oriented approach  No one who stepped into the Pathways Out of Poverty project four years ago has been unchanged by the collective experience of organizing or participating in the PtL program. Thus, it would be a mistake to write this dissertation as if the women who participated in this research remained static characters who would tell the same narrative today if I were to ask them the same questions about their experiences. For this reason, interview excerpts are presented in the past tense: there is no ethnographic present in this dissertation, because 1) the processes of immigration and integration are processes of upheaval and transformation for actual people, not deindividuated objects; and 2) as the medium for the data generation and interpretation, I do not stand outside the interactions that inform this text (Fabian 1983). By framing my analyses and commentaries on the interview excerpts in past tense rather than present tense, I follow a writing convention that nods to Dorothy Smith’s (2005, 126) methodological point regarding experience as a situated dialogue:  What we call experience is essentially dialogic. It begins where the body is, in a world known sensually, yet it is always and only an emergent in language and at the point of speech or writing. We generally think of experience as occurring before it has been told. However, if we bring to mind actual occasions of people speaking from their experience, we can see that experience actually emerges only in the course of its telling, and telling is to particular people at particular times and in particular places or, when written, to a future reader or readers.   The conversations that generated the data presented in this dissertation occurred in discrete interactions and at particular personal and historical moments. Moreover, the writing-up    57 process I have engaged in since these conversations has been geared toward the academic audience that will ultimately evaluate the rigour and original contribution of this work. These realities have shaped the project in substantial ways.  Acknowledging “that the experiential can’t be directly translated into the factual,” and that the rich complexities of lived actualities cannot be reproduced in text, Smith (2005, 124-125) nonetheless sees value in the dialogue necessary for researchers and individuals to produce the accounts “that can then be further processed into ethnography.” The keyword here is ‘processed.’ These accounts do not stand alone or speak for themselves; rather, the process of writing up ethnographic accounts involves “two stages of dialogue,” where “the primary dialogue is conversation in which experience emerges; the secondary dialogue then emerges as the researcher engages with the material produced in the first dialogue, which is now with other sources, her or his data” (Smith 2005, 142). The fieldnotes and interview excerpts presented in this dissertation are examples of the first stage of dialogue generated in situ and on particular occasions, while the thematic analyses are the result of the secondary dialogue between the material I have transformed from experience into text. At this stage of reflection, analysis, and writing, I engage in a process of tacking back and forth between my data and materials generated outside the scope of this particular study, including, for example, classical and contemporary theories, other relevant study findings, and state policy.   The decision of which tense to use when presenting data and what this means for my general approach to data generation reflects an ontological position that questions conventional social scientific notions of objectivity and objectivism, particularly in the context of an ethnographic project where the data has been generated and analyzed by an embodied researcher with a particular location the social world. I draw then from Smith’s    58 (2005, 10) method of beginning this inquiry from a “standpoint,” which she defines as “a point of entry into discovering the social that does not subordinate the knowing subject to objectified forms of knowledge of society or political economy.” The concept of standpoint is critical to Smith’s (2005, 10) “institutional ethnography,” a “method of inquiry that works from the actualities of people’s lives and experiences to discover the social as it extends beyond experience.” While this research project adopts some key concepts from institutional ethnography as a method of inquiry, it is not an institutional ethnography as Smith would define it: it does not go far enough in analyzing textual documents produced from lived actualities, and it does not place the same emphasis on textual documents to map ruling relations. In contrast to Smith’s (2005; 1987) suspicion of abstract theory, I occasionally adhere to the more conventional sociological tradition of drawing on abstracted concepts to make sociological sense of analytical points throughout the dissertation. On the whole, however, an inductive approach that emphasizes ‘standpoint’ is best-suited for exploring the key questions guiding this ethnographic research project, which focuses on the experiences of an underserviced group of immigrant women who have been largely excluded from receiving institutional support as a result of a variety of life circumstances that can be tracked to intersecting issues of gender, class, and legal citizenship status.   Methodological debates about the generation and interpretation of sociological data have existed since the discipline’s earliest days. Largely considered the founder of sociology, Emile Durkheim published The Rules of Sociological Method in 1895 (1982), where he delimits the subject matter of sociology and outlines a strictly objectifying methodological approach. According to Durkheim (1982), sociology should operate using methods as similar as possible to those of the natural sciences, which means the sociologist should abandon all    59 preconceptions (72), clearly categorize the subject matter of the research into a group of phenomena (75), and define the object of research as objectively possible (82). Durkheim’s aim was to transform sociology into a science by implementing a more scientific approach that did not rely on “ideological analysis” (60). This method poses significant challenges for sociologists and social scientists in general – namely, how do they go about objectively approaching the subject matter, classifying it into groups of phenomena, and objectively defining these groups in terms of social facts when they themselves exist within the phenomena they are attempting to study?  A similar ambiguity presents itself in Weber’s (1978, 4, emphasis mine) definition of sociology: “Sociology is a science concerning itself with the interpretive understanding of social action and thereby with a causal explanation of its course and consequences.” Weber’s definition and view of sociology includes the concept of interpretive understanding (Verstehen), an improvement over the objectifying pursuit of Durkheim’s social facts. For Weber, sociologists can understand “social facts in their cultural significance and explain them as culturally determined” through the use of “ideal-types,” which he defines as methodological devices that account for objects and events that influence human activity (Giddens 1971, 147–149). At the same time, Weber emphasizes the “empirical-analytic task of using proven lawlike hypotheses to explain social action and make conditional predictions” (Habermas 1988, 12). That the sociologist must determine the motivational link or inference in explanatory understanding is the interpretive element of Weber’s method – a method that may be capable of producing “objectively valid meanings” if one approaches the act to be interpreted as some motive, whether rational, habitual, emotional, and so on. Bauman (1978, 87) offers a summary of Weber’s emphasis on meaning, motive, and    60 understanding this way: “Granted that meanings are subjective; granted that historical categories, to make sense, must be relevant to these meanings; we can still have objective social science.” Thus, while interpretation may provide depth to sociological findings, the rigorous pursuit of “an objective science of the subjective” nevertheless remained ideal for Weber (Bauman 1978, 72).  In his critique of attempts to explain the social world using natural science approaches, Hans-Georg Gadamer (1989, 293) posits an alternative approach to interpretation: “the circle of understanding is not a ‘methodological’ circle, but [it] describes an element of the ontological structure of understanding.” For Gadamer, ‘truth’ is not an essence that can be mined out through interpretive methods; instead, the very act of interpretation relies on the interpreter’s application of his or her fore-understanding that is brought to the situation or text to be interpreted. In other words, the problem of “the hermeneutical experience itself” is that “the interpreter does not know that he [sic] is bringing himself and his own concepts into the interpretation” (403). In light of the implicit ways in which these fore-understandings are manifested at each stage of the interpretive process, the interpreter must be open and reflexive about what he or she brings to the encounter. From this perspective, continual interrogation and awareness of the assumptions and pre-understandings that one brings to any research undertaking is imperative in the pursuit of ‘truth.’  Tying together Michel Foucault’s (2003) notion of “games of truth” to “games of power,” Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s (1999) critical discussion of anthropological conventions seems useful for grasping what the social scientist aims or should aim to accomplish in the course of research. In tracing the history of games of truth, Foucault (2003,    61 38-39) explains how, “since the age of the Greeks, our society has been marked by a lack of a precise and imperative definition of the games of truth which are permitted to the exclusion of all others.” Foucault (2003, 38-39) argues that the distribution of truth reinforces the distribution of power, since truth is established through consensus among free individuals “who find themselves within a certain network of practices of power and constraining institutions.” Thus, networks of power are maintained through games of truth where what constitutes ‘truth’ is often vague and the boundaries undefined. With Foucault’s argument in mind, Spivak (1999, 6) interrogates the notion of the “native informant,” that is, the traditional subject of any anthropological ethnographic account, which she describes as “a name for that mark of expulsion from the name of Man – a mark crossing out the impossibility of the ethical relation.” In the act of privileging the voices of the native informant while denying her or his full humanity, a hierarchy of power is instituted or reinforced in which the anthropologist-ethnographer gains a privileged voice and controls the regime of truth.   Situated within the university institution’s academic game of power, the ethnographic researcher may be authorized to pen “great narratives” of truth, where “cultural identities and roles are negotiated and renegotiated, implicitly and explicitly” through “meticulous scholarship” (Spivak 1999, 8). This knowledge-work involves what Foucault (2003, 39) calls a “care of the self,” defined as ethical and proper practices of freedom in the pursuit of truth and its accurate description. As Foucault (2003, 39) argues with respect to this tradition of scholarship, “a person giving an anthropological description of a society supplies not a construction [of truth] but a description, which itself has a certain number of historically changing rules, so that one can say that it is to a certain extent a construction with respect to    62 another description.” In this account, “truth” is not fixed, but nor is it a “void” where “everything is a figment of the imagination” (Foucault 2003, 39). Likewise, ethnographic description is both restricted and open to possibilities, in that “the person who has the capacity to formulate truths also has a power, the power of being able to speak the truth and to express it in the way he wants” (Foucault 2003, 39).    In her discussion of “stranger fetishism,” Sara Ahmed (2000, 57) examines how the Other is articulated in ethnographic research encounters. In her critique of methods that assimilate what is foreign in one’s own grammatical rules and language system, Ahmed (2000, 58) states that “cultural translation” is a “central model for the production of ethnographic knowledge.” Through this translation, a process of assimilation is at play in the interpretive act of ethnographic research and writing, where the “strange culture” is translated into “the language of ethnography, the language of the one who knows” (Ahmed 2000, 58, emphasis mine). Again, interrogating the concept of knowledge becomes key for inscribing the data of experience and its subsequent analysis. Throughout this process, however, the fundamental question concerning how the “professional stranger” comes to possess the “technique for the accumulation of knowledge” remains (Ahmed 2000, 60). If social scientists are ideally figured as professional strangers, then do research methodologies that present themselves as recipes for acquiring and analyzing data gloss over experiences and social, economic, and political relations that are otherwise too complex to be reduced to computer codes or statistical formulas? According to Liisa Malkki (2007, 166), anthropologists such as “Malinowski, Boas, and other pioneers of anthropology pursued empirical research that they never hesitated to regard as both scientific and also as interpretive and experience-based.” Malkki (2007, 170)    63 defines ethnography in way that is sensitive to the critiques discussed above, namely, as “situated, long-term, empirical field research (as opposed to its other meaning as a genre of writing and a practice of representation), [which] is simultaneously a critical theoretical practice, a quotidian ethical practice, and an improvisational practice.” Ethnography is theoretical because of its attention to the “the form and ‘object’ of knowledge, about the categories that structure the enquiry” (Malkki 2007, 170). As Bronislaw Malinowski (1935, 321) describes this method of inquiry,  The fieldworker in collecting his [sic] material has constantly to strive after a clear idea of what he really wants to know […] And since this idea has gradually to emerge from the evidence before him, he must constantly switch over from observation and accumulated evidence to theoretical moulding, and then back to collecting data again.   Further, these theoretical practices have ethical implications; fieldwork is “not a matter of the gradual accumulation of ‘data’ into a stable structure, but of moments of puzzlement and sudden realization, of making and unmaking” (Malkki 2007, 175). These everyday moments of puzzling through the form and object of the inquiry during the fieldwork itself entail ethical decisions: sorting out whom to interview and not to interview, for what purpose, what to say or not say during participation observation, and anticipating the consequences of these interactions. The importance of acknowledging the temporality of fieldwork cannot be overstated. Ethnographic fieldwork is improvisational in the sense that “the ethnographer has to negotiate fieldwork in real time, in ‘live’ social contexts,” and in the sense that “life happens in the course of the work, as it should” (Malkki 2007, 185). At the individual level, the members of the Pathways to Leadership Advisory Committee and women who joined, completed, or left the program have had babies, lost partners, passed away, been hospitalized, seen their children move across the country, improved their English, secured employment,    64 completed educational programs, received permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship, or moved to other cities (to the best of my knowledge, however, no one has returned to her home country). At the organizational level, funding structures have changed and some staff positions at the Neighbourhood House have been rejigged and renamed as a result. At the federal level, this fieldwork was completed toward the end of the Conservative government’s nine years in power under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The Conservatives changed the face of Canadian immigration during their leadership by restricting the criteria to apply for permanent residency and by reducing the number of accepted permanent residency applications through family reunification immigration programs. Instead, the Conservatives emphasized economic class immigration by introducing revised and new initiatives, including Express Entry. In the time since I completed my data generation, the Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau has been elected and initiated the resettlement of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in partnership with settlement service provider organizations, signaling a return to Canada’s commitment as a country that values humanitarian and compassionate class immigration.  The theoretical and temporal details presented in this section are critical to understanding the methodological and historical context in which this dissertation was generated. The use of past tense is intended to remind the reader that history and truth are not fixed but are instead co-created in moments of shared dialogue. Smith (2005, 77), borrowing from Valentin Vološinov, describes how interindividual territory, the notion that the use of language creates a reciprocal relationship out of speaker and hearer, “comes into being for them as their consciousness are coordinated in language.” I co-created the first stage of dialogue with the women who participated in this study, while the second stage of dialogue    65 has been created by my interpretation of fieldnotes and interview transcripts from the first stage of dialogue in relation to sociological texts. I have done my best to attend to my participants’ meanings, but the interpretation is ultimately grounded in my perspective as the ethnographer-researcher and presented in the format of an academic text.  2.2 Out of place to settling in the ‘field’: Reflexivity and positionality At the time I started this degree in 2010, I knew very little about any of these personal, organizational, or political issues. Following my Master’s research, which focused on the relationship between women retail employees’ work and personal identities, I was interested in generating a deeper theoretical understanding of how an individual’s labour market position is related to one’s position in society and the larger classification struggles that people take up as they negotiate their class and status positions relative to other members of society. Beyond these academic interests, I was committed to developing a research agenda that would make an original contribution to the discipline of sociology and that could simultaneously be used to engage multiple audiences in order to advance social justice aims. Moreover, I knew I wanted to engage with organizations outside the university as part of a collaborative project that would take the form of an “organic public sociology” (Burawoy 2005). The short description of my project presented in the introductory chapter presents my process of becoming involved and conducting research in the Pathways program as a linear trajectory. In the discussion that follows, I weave a more reflexive interrogation of my standpoint into the description of the messy realities and often non-linear paths I experienced as I navigated my involvement in the program and came to understand the sociological significance of the program participants’ integration and citizenship struggles.     66 I initiated my volunteer work with the Pathways project because I was genuinely excited about the collaboration between organizations and partners from various social locations, but the path to this dissertation project was hardly straightforward. I wore multiple hats before taking on the role of a PhD researcher in the Pathways project, and I knew very little about the substantive issues around employment and immigration when I first joined the Advisory Committee. For example, I remember asking someone in an early meeting what they meant by the acronym ‘PR’ (permanent resident – the most basic term when discussing issues of immigration). I was more familiar with the term ‘landed immigrant,’ now an outmoded iteration of ‘permanent resident.’ In hindsight, I am surprised they allowed me to remain involved with the project after I asked such a silly question that revealed my naiveté. What that experience demonstrated, however, is how I came to the topic of women’s experiences migrating to Canada and attempting to secure paid employment with very little knowledge or presuppositions about what was or was not working at the settlement organization or government levels. Instead, I came to the project eager to learn from the women themselves about how they were navigating and making sense of their lives in Canada.  In November 2015, I attended a party for Tamara, one of the external consultants on the Advisory Committee. Francine, the other external consultant of the Advisory Committee, hosted the party and I spent most of the evening catching up with Neeharika. At one point, the four of us were talking about the Pathways program and the number of years we had all been working together. Tamara looked directly at – and almost through – me, shaking her head with a slight smile on her face. She commented at how much I had changed since our first conversation on the phone in September 2012, during which she had vetted my    67 participation in the project by reviewing my vita and asking me some questions about why I was interested in participating in the program evaluation. It was at the end of that phone call that she had invited me to attend the first meeting for the project, the meeting I describe in the opening pages of this dissertation.  Driving home from the party, I reflected on Tamara’s assessment and thought back to an early meeting I had with Marta and a Master’s of Social Work student who was initially going to be involved in the evaluation but did not end up continuing with the project as it did not fit with her academic work. This meeting took place on a grey rainy day in October 2012, at a Blenz coffee shop on Oak and 17th Avenue that no longer exists. I was a 28-year old and well-funded PhD student who should have been entirely focused on her comprehensive exams and work as a teaching assistant for a sociological theory course. As far as I know, no other graduate students in my department were volunteering on interdisciplinary, collaborative projects with multiple partners and stakeholders, and I had no experience with such initiatives. But, I was interested in working on this project because I was desperate to do something. I wanted to meet people who were connected to or working on the frontline of service organizations and interfacing with policy, and I wanted to know what was going on in the world outside of my books and theoretical concepts. It was this same motivation that had encouraged me to join the Board of Directors for Positive Women’s Network, Canada’s longest-running and largest service provider for women living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in the summer of 2012, although I had quickly realized that opportunity would help me gain new skills related to governance but not the kind of frontline experience I desired.  Marta and the other social work student, however, had much more experience working with mothers, new immigrants, and organizations: Marta’s family had come to    68 Canada as refugees when she was just a child and she been working in the childcare sector for over a decade, and the other student had been employed as a social worker before starting the Master’s program and she was herself a married, working mother. I, on the other hand, knew so little that I offered to take notes for meetings so that I could go home or to a nearby coffee shop and Google-search all the acronyms the meeting participants used to describe different organizations, government programs, training initiatives, settlement service organizations, and grassroots groups before sending the minutes to the meeting chair for feedback about whether I had gotten the details correct. In short, the fall of 2012 was an exercise in listening carefully, in order to learn a new language composed entirely of acronyms and to develop a mental map of the key players – agencies and individuals – in settlement matters at the local, provincial, and federal level. Even before our meeting at the Blenz about evaluation strategies, I was cognizant of my own lack of lived experience, comparatively speaking. Yet, I was troubled at that meeting by the way in which Marta and the other student spoke about employment as something for all women to attain and especially all “moms,” as the women were frequently called at the Neighbourhood Houses. At the time, I was working on a comprehensive exam in Work and Society that focused largely on women’s employment experiences and I felt as though a perspective that emphasized securing paid work measured all productivity using a baseline of paid employment. I was concerned that such a perspective devalued the work that women did at home and elsewhere by only recognizing work as something that occurred in the sphere of the paid labour force. During the meeting, however, I was intimidated by Marta and the other woman’s lived experience and confidence in their knowledge of these issues, and worried I would be seen as entirely clueless if I were to ask them whether their understanding of paid    69 work as the standard to which all women should aspire only served to perpetuate a lack of recognition for the very real work that stay-at-home mothers (SAHM) and other women perform. So instead, I sat and listened. And in listening throughout the first cycle of the program, I learned more about the value of having one’s skills recognized and valued in the context of the market, and just how powerful the option of paid employment can be for women, for their sense of power in intimate relationships, their self-confidence, and their perceptions of what it means to be a productive citizen. By tacking back and forth between the data I was generating and the theoretical and academic literature – a hermeneutic method I explored in my PhD coursework with Dr. Lorraine Weir (summarized in the previous section), and taught to Field School students in 2014 (see Cerwonka 2007, 15) – I developed a more complex understanding of the relationship between employment and notions of citizenship; or, to use Nancy Fraser’s (2009) term, I began to pose questions about the recognition of women’s pre-migration skillsets as assets in the Canadian context.  I was similarly intimidated as well as overwhelmingly nervous the first time I travelled to Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House for a program information session. These sessions were intended to raise awareness about the program and to give potential participants a sense of the content that the program would cover. Additionally, the Advisory Committee wanted to be transparent about their plans and reasoning for conducting a thorough program evaluation that tracked participant outcomes through pre- and post-program meetings: as a pilot project funded by a local philanthropic foundation, the Advisory Committee recognized that demonstrating the improvement in women’s employment readiness and leadership experiences by checking in with them in one-on-one meetings    70 before and after their participation in the Pathways program would bolster attempts to secure ongoing and sustainable funding. My notes from that day in November 2012, read:  I had never been to FLNH before this morning, so it was a new experience for me. I left the house early in order to meet with Neeharika prior to the session. My Apple maps app ended up sending me to the wrong location. Standing on the street corner, looking at my screen with the blue dot sitting on top of the red dot, and then looking up at a school and houses but not a Neighbourhood House got me thinking to what it feels like when you have an expectation that something will be there, or be a certain way before you arrive, but then it ends up to be out of place, non-existent, or completely mystifying. In some senses, that must be what it is like to come to a new country full of expectations and careful plans, and to end up completely upside down and out of place. After finding the right address using the Google Maps (NOT Apple Maps!), I got back in my car and drove to the correct location, feeling humbled and in the right mental place to start the morning’s session.13   This short passage provides a brief description of my spatial and mental orientation process on the morning of my first meeting with potential Pathways to Leadership participants. Without having met the women with whom I would work closely during the first cycle of the PtL program as a volunteer, I got a sense of what it might feel like to have a destination in mind only to end up in a different position – economically, socially, and linguistically – than one had originally intended.  Yet, I was pleasantly surprised and my nervousness dissipated when the women gathered in the multipurpose room at the Neighbourhood House and started speaking to one another about the ideas and experiences they had in common:  We had arranged the seats to form a smaller circle and Serena and Neeharika told the group that they had just discovered their sons were the same age – 17. I mentioned how that is such an interesting age because boys seem to just sprout at that age and I said that my 26-year old brother just seems to fill every room he enters. The conversation started by speaking about sons, the size and presence of men, and how as they grow up they seem to take up more room, and how they are towering over you when you tell them that they can’t do something, and how they use their physical size to posture in defiance. Serena said that when her son does this she tells him “don’t do                                                  13 Fieldnotes are italicized throughout the dissertation.     71 that body thing to me.” Already, an interesting dynamic of openness about children, family, and relationships with men was filling the room.    The arrangement of chairs in a small, intimate circle in the middle of the room and the conversations about how men occupy space as compared to how women occupy space demonstrate how Serena, the FLNH staff member, and Neeharika, the independently contracted program facilitator, set a tone for the session. Their conversation at the front of the group established the information session as a relaxed, women’s-only space, where frankness and intimacy were encouraged. As a novice researcher, I was shocked at the openness with which women discussed these gender and family issues, and I remember asking Neeharika after the session if this kind of conversation was common. She explained that women were not always that forthcoming on the first meeting, but she emphasized the importance of the facilitator’s role in terms of encouraging women to build connection through conversation. The interindividual territory – the act of coordinating consciousnesses through language (Smith 2005, 77) – that was established through these first few exchanges was further developed as we took turns introducing ourselves and establishing our respective standpoints that morning:  The session started with Neeharika introducing the program and sharing a little bit about the format and what she hopes the program will offer. She discussed her own experiences as an immigrant woman in Canada, working with other women, and being self-employed. Marta introduced herself next, describing her immigration experience from a Spanish-speaking country and how her family had come to Canada through the refugee program. And then I introduced myself. I explained that I had been born in Canada but that my parents were both immigrants. I said that I was a graduate student at the University of British Columbia. Because I didn’t have children or a partner, I instead commented on how nice it was to hear about people’s family lives and to see their children, and I explained that my motivation for participating in the program is to help build a better community for my family today and hopefully the family I will have in the future, and for all of our families. Then, the participants started talking and I was surprised by how open they were about their struggles and what they shared with the group.      72 The three fieldnote excerpts above show just how much of a fish out of water I was when I started my fieldwork. At the time, I felt as though I did not belong in these meetings because unlike the others – Serena, Neeharika, and Marta – I was not myself an immigrant, and I did not have children or much experience with children. I felt juvenile and embarrassed that I did not even have a serious partner that I could use as a kind of leverage to build rapport with the women, and the statement about my hopes for eventually having a family are evidence of that insecurity.  In hindsight, the things I identified as lacking in myself were, in fact, useful for helping me to perceive and recognize how these discourses of what it means to be an immigrant, mother, and/or wife functioned in the context of an employment and leadership skills program. The distance between my lived experiences and those of the women organizing and participating in the program – our differences in age, education, marital status, motherhood status, and so on – led us to question each other in more detailed ways about our respective lives. Just as I was curious to know about how the program participants were deepening romantic relationships or raising children in a new culture where they were already navigating their own changing sense of self, my lifestyle as a Canadian-born, mostly-single, university-educated woman living in downtown Vancouver with my sister was similarly of interest to the women participating in the program. In many ways, I became a ‘native informant’ for my research participants as they sought to generate their own understandings of what it means to be a ‘real Canadian,’ a term they frequently employed and I take up for discussion in Chapter 5.  I was open with the women participating in the program about how little I knew about immigration and settlement services, and did my best to tune into the experiences and    73 concerns they raised. In general, the women organizing and participating in the program responded to my inquisitiveness and willingness to learn with stories about their everyday lives as mothers raising children in a new culture, and as job-seekers preparing resumes and cover letters in a language they were just learning or mastering. Through these conversations, I was transformed from a naïve graduate student to a scholar with an in-depth knowledge of what it meant for these participants to be non-native English-speaking immigrant women, and often mothers, seeking employment in Canada. I also became a resource to them – my notes from the first session at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House end with a description of how one woman came up to me and asked me for advice about her son’s interest and eligibility to apply to the University of British Columbia.  At my dissertation proposal defense in May 2013, a committee member commented on the uniqueness of my relationship to my fieldsites and asked what it would mean for me to begin fieldwork in new and different cycles of the same program where I had already spent a significant amount of time as a volunteer and, briefly, as a research assistant. This concern about my embeddedness in the field and how it might blunt my ‘ethnographic eye’ is certainly valid. As Goffman (1989, 130) points out, “there is a freshness cycle when moving into the field. The first day you’ll see more than you’ll ever see again. And you’ll see things that you won’t see again. So, the first day you should take notes all the time.” Although I had taken notes during my volunteer work, as evidenced by the excerpts presented above, these were not always systematic and do not always adhere to the conventions that Robert Emerson, Rachel Fretz and Linda Shaw (2011) outline for writing thick and vivid fieldnote accounts. By the time I began my fieldwork, my fieldsites, and the members of the Advisory Committee who came to be research participants, were no longer ‘fresh’ to me.     74 Without dismissing the value of freshness, however, the nature of long-term and transformative academic research experiences begs the methodological question of what it means to describe a ‘field’ or ‘project.’ Is an ethnographic research ‘field’ less fresh and therefore not an ideal study site if it is only a 15 or 20-minute drive from your house, as my mine are (Gupta and Ferguson 1992)? And how does an ethnographer analytically account for one’s own and one’s participants’ personal development over the course of a long-term project in which all parties are embedded, embodied, and continue to encounter one another in a variety of spaces and places? I argue that my personal relationships and institutional connections to my fieldsites and women who participated in this project helped to generate deeper, more trusting relationships that enabled me to provide a stronger analysis than would have been possible if my fieldwork at been limited to the eight-month period when I systematically observed the last two cycles of the Pathways to Leadership program, recorded fieldnotes and conducted most of my qualitative interviews. Recall, for example, the longstanding institutional bonds between Neighbourhood Houses and universities I described in the introductory chapter, and the reality that newcomers have repeatedly retold the narrative of their migration experiences to immigration offices, service providers, and in casual interactions. Both Neighbourhood House staff and the program participants have been asked repeatedly to explain their roles or experiences to less familiar individuals and university researchers. In turn, they have developed rehearsed accounts to provide in response to the typical questions they assume they will receive. The most stark example of rehearsed narratives came during the pre-program interviews we conducted as part of the program evaluation, when neither myself or Marta were familiar to the program participants.     75  Over time, however, I gained a more nuanced understanding of organizational dynamics and developed deeper relationships with the Neighbourhood House staff and program participants that encouraged greater trust and disclosure. For example, some women had brought typed notes about their immigration experiences to the pre-program meetings I had conducted while volunteering with the program evaluation prior to the first cycles of the program in December 2012 and January 2013. By comparison, none of my participants brought typed notes to the interviews I conducted for my dissertation research, as I discuss below in the section on my procedure for conducting the qualitative interviews. Having read a number of reflexive research reports produced by the students I taught in the Urban Ethnographic Field School, who were placed in the same organizations for just six weeks, I know that the time I spent in each Neighbourhood House was a key factor in recruiting for my interviews and connecting with my research participants. When the Advisory Committee asked me in the early fall of 2012, when I first joined the Pathways project, whether I was interested in pursuing my own research within the program I had said no because I was not yet at that stage of my doctoral degree. Rather, my interest in conducting a dissertation project focused on the experiences of the participants and the need for a program such as Pathways to Leadership evolved as I became more familiar with the program and developed an understanding of the unique settlement and citizenship work it was engaged in. As a result, the Advisory Committee were very encouraging when I approached them in the spring of 2013 with the idea of focusing my dissertation research on the Pathways to Leadership program.  Participating in Neighbourhood House and PtL program evaluation activities on a consistent and reliable basis for such a prolonged period eased my ability to gain research    76 access to the fieldsites. I had been working with the individuals involved in organizing the Pathways to Leadership program for at least a year, and in the case of the staff members involved in placing and supporting Field School students, for more than two years. As a result, all of the members involved in organizing the Pathways to Leadership program were comfortable with my approach toward community work. In other words, I had cultivated an understanding and trust about my intentions as a researcher among the program organizers and Neighbourhood House administrators who helped facilitate my access to the research sites. From there, key relationships with the staff at the two Neighbourhood Houses, the external consultants, and the program facilitator provided the social capital necessary to connect with the women participating in the Pathways to Leadership program. In fact, the Neighbourhood House staff and the program facilitator were often vocal about my personal credibility, as my fieldnotes from the first session of the second cycle of the program at Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House (the cycle that began in January 2014) attest. These fieldnotes include a detailed description of how I introduced myself and my research to the program participants, and the facilitator’s response, which I summarized this way: “Neeharika followed up by telling the women that I am wonderful and amazing, and a bunch of other adjectives that made me blush.”  While the propinquity effect may be one explanation for these connections, i.e. the frequency of contact over time encourages the formation of social bonds, my commitment to learning about the context and services of the organizations by way of my volunteer work as a program evaluator also established a level of trust among the organizational gatekeepers and research participants. As Susan Lewis and Andrew Russell (2011, 398-399) describe, such practices of “ethnography grounded in embedded research” appear to be growing in    77 value to the “wider, non-academic community.” Lewis and Russell (2011, 400-401) characterize embedded research as having two key elements: 1) the research is conducted as “some kind of team member”; and 2) the relationship between the researcher and collaborators is one where the researcher has independence, but “the depth of knowledge acquired by the researcher will be of most value to the organization being studied if fed back as soon as possible.” The dynamic of my work with the PtL program Advisory Committee fits this model of ‘ethnography grounded in embedded research,’ insofar as the community partners were happy to encourage independent and academically rigorous research with the expectation that my findings will offer critical insights and recommendations to improve their practices.  Support for my research was especially evident among the program directors and administratively-oriented staff members who spend a great deal of their working hours seeking and applying for grants, and writing reports for funders: they recognized that a systematic evaluation of the program would enhance their grant applications (for a critique of the non-profit industrial complex, see the work by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence 2007). Because their standpoint involves work processes that require them to submit text-based documents with evidence to support proposed activities and/or their impacts to funders – grant applications, quarterly or annual project reports, and end-of-project reports, for example – administratively-oriented staff members recognized how the written output from this project (or even a summary of it) could render their activities “accountable within the ideological schemata of the institution” (Smith 1987, 176).  Frontline staff members who worked directly with Neighbourhood House program users accepted the need for evaluation given the funding landscape but were more hesitant    78 than administrators about the presence of a researcher. One clear indication of this hesitancy became evident during the program information session at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House that I begin to describe earlier in this section. After the introductions at the program information session, Marta and I were explaining the program evaluation plans, and Serena asked us, in front of all the women, whether we would be like other researchers who come in and collect data only to leave the organization and not return with their findings. I explained that the Pathways to Leadership program had been funded as a result of Dr. Chun’s Neighbourhood Cafes research (Chun and Cheong 2011) and that we intended to build on that success by demonstrating the outcomes of the program in an evidence-based evaluation report that the Advisory Committee could use to apply for future funding. I remember being surprised that Serena chose to ask this question in front of the women interested in joining the program when she could have instead opted to ask it at an Advisory Committee meeting. Serena remained aloof throughout the first cycle of the program at the Neighbourhood House, but did become more supportive of the Pathways to Leadership program and my research project as I developed greater rapport with her. This change in the dynamic of our relationship did not occur until the second cycle of the program at Forest Lawn in September 2013, which was almost a year after her comment about researchers disappearing with the data. My relationship with Serena is just one example of the length of time it can take to build the trust necessary for meaningful collaboration in the field.  I encountered a similar situation at Crystal Pond, where all the staff members except one were enthusiastic about the research process. Unlike Serena at Forest Lawn, the staff member at Crystal Pond, Katherine, did not criticize the program evaluation process outright but seemed resistant to helping us organize the pre-program interviews. Once again, I was    79 able to establish more rapport by working closely with her over the subsequent year. She became friendlier after I discussed my own project and intentions with her in greater detail, at which point she told me that she recognized the potential value of my research project in terms of what it might do to raise awareness of issues that women who have immigrated to Canada face when settling in urban Vancouver. This relationship only developed after my volunteer work ended in September 2013 but before I began my research at Crystal Pond in January 2014.  I developed more insight into Katherine’s hesitation to support the evaluation of the program during our March 2014 interview for my dissertation research: she revealed that she is paid for 35 hours of work per week but that she sometimes spends 60 hours at the organization trying to catch up on everything because she feels so connected to the importance of the work. As she told me: “You just keep working and working and working. That's the joy about this work. It comes with love. It's good for us.” Moments prior, however, she had explained that “we” – the Pathways program organizers, staff, volunteers, practicum students and researchers – need to be cautious about the expectations that we have for the women participating in the program, as these expectations can domino into additional work for Neighbourhood House staff. During my volunteer work, I learned more about the time and talent that went into coordinating logistics, and the extent to which program participants approached Neighbourhood House staff in order to complete their homework assignments or for administrative support in accomplishing the ‘civic engagement projects’ that were part of the program curriculum. For Neighbourhood House staff members, the additional workload related to the Pathways to Leadership program began months before the program started: they sought to    80 recruit participants, distribute application forms, process completed applications,14 coordinate with Marta and myself to schedule pre-program meetings with the first cycle of women participating in the program, secure space at the Neighbourhood House for the pre-program meetings, book rooms for the program sessions and rooms for the childminding, and hire the childminders. This coordination of activities required a great deal of time and energy for the staff, as Rebecca from Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House explained in our interview:  So, [my role] is to also work with staff to help them manage their time, so that they're doing the best for that particular program, but also helping them find a balance between the demands of that program and the demands of every other program that they need to be in. Because everybody here is very passionate, so if we're not careful, people can become unbalanced because you want to do 110% for maybe three programs. Right? When they should only be doing 30% for each one [...] For an example, when you guys came and said you needed all these interview hours [for the pre-program evaluations], that puts a huge pressure on everybody. Right? That's a fact of life here. So, my job is to say, "OK, I see you need to do that." But, also, Katherine can't spend all those hours doing those interviews, because she also has responsibilities to these other two programs. So again, it's working with the whole team to say, "Yeah, I can see why you need that, but it may not happen the way you think because these people also have responsibilities, or the rooms have been booked, and we need to find another way. Or, did you guys think about the childminding [while the women participated in the pre-program interviews] and how that may impact the finances and these issues, as well?   Rebecca’s point-by-point discussion of limited resources and time pressures highlight the organizational realities that exist in most non-profit organizations. Rebecca’s comments describe the time and labour required to coordinate research requests in the context of an already-full program calendar. Rebecca and other Neighbourhood House staff members were clearly committed to their roles and to supporting program participants and researchers’ requests; these commitments, however, often came in tension with realities of limited time,                                                  14 Despite the Advisory Committee’s initial worries about an influx of applications every woman who applied to the program was accepted into the program. The number of applications by women who could commit to participating in the program did not exceed the number of seats in the room or childminding resources.     81 space, and funding. With that said, program staff and management went above and beyond in supporting the evaluation components of the program, and women’s progress and participation in the program, and this dissertation research project.  While Katherine’s words of caution about the Advisory Committee’s expectations for the women participating in the PtL program were directed toward the additional support work that program participants sought from Neighbourhood House staff members they trusted to help them, Rebecca’s comments speak more broadly to the extra work entailed by the ambitious nature of the program. This extra work included the collaborative planning process involving multiple Neighbourhood Houses, the-more-extensive-than-usual evaluation process, and the goal that participants would develop both a career plan and a civic engagement project (these program components are described in greater detail later in the dissertation). The Advisory Committee expected that PtL participants would work on these activities during the three hours of independent work they had committed to completing each week (in addition to the weekly three-hour program session) when they registered for the program. During the first cycle of the program, however, the Advisory Committee came to recognize participants’ need for one-on-one support to develop their career actions plans and civic engagement projects. While Marta and myself were crucial in offering this support, several women participating in the program felt more comfortable asking Neighbourhood House staff for support.  Recognizing the organizational impact of launching a new program provides insight into the realities of conducting community-based research projects in partnership with community organizations. My experience collaborating with staff members at the Neighbourhood Houses showed me how important it is for researchers to acknowledge the    82 time and energy that organization staff members contribute to research endeavors, and for researchers to find ways of giving back to the organizations and individual staff members whose connections are so crucial to the success of research projects (Gibb and Hamdon 2011). Giving back in a meaningful and lasting way can be difficult to accomplish during the data collection phase of a project, but I made a concerted effort to support the women participating in the program (which was also an attempt to alleviate some of the extra work for Neighbourhood House staff members), and to participate in collecting, analyzing and writing up program evaluation data for the purposes of securing funding to operate subsequent programs with a similar structure and operational philosophy. While these activities are described in more detail in the section on relationships and reciprocity at the end of this chapter, it is worth noting here how the recommendations that emerge from a dissertation project such as this one can be useful tools for funding applications, reports, and program development. Yet, these benefits are not always evident or clearly communicated to the frontline staff members, although these individuals are the ones who are most frequently asked to support day-to-day tasks of participant recruitment and data collection. 2.3 Methods and methodological strategies I started writing notes during my volunteer work with the first cycle of the Pathways to Leadership program but not in a consistent fashion: I mostly wrote notes when participating in what I considered to be ‘remarkable’ conversations – that is, conversations where explicit discussions of experiences related to gender, race, discrimination, employment, or shifting attitudes related to any of these concepts, occurred. I always took notes at Advisory Committee planning meetings, and these notes became more extensive as my intention to conduct my dissertation research with the Pathways Project firmed up.    83 Administrators at both Neighbourhood Houses were aware and approved of these activities, and I sought the permission of the individuals on the Advisory Committee to take notes during meetings.  As described earlier in this chapter, I initially passed my notes from meetings onto to the meeting chair before circulating them to the wider committee in order to ensure that I had captured the finer points of the discussion, such as acronyms, names of different government offices and non-profit organizations involved in migration-related settlement practices, earlier steps that had been taken in the program planning process, and so forth. I stopped this practice when my notes began to shift from meeting minutes to include more analytical content, such as questions about the dynamics between the external consultants and frontline staff members related to misunderstandings about their different work processes and forms of embodied knowledge (Campbell and Gregor 2004). These ruptures became interesting openings for exploring how participants came to know what they know and their reasons for adopting everyday practices to organize their social world in relation to others who are similarly and actively, if not consciously, organizing their own everyday actualities (see Chapter 5).  The analytical questions recorded in my early notes informed the interview schedule for my dissertation research, while organizing the pre-program meetings for the program evaluation guided me in timing and designing the different phases of my data collection. A number of the women who participated in pre-program meetings during my volunteer work in the first cycles of the program were not forthcoming, showed up late, or did not show up at all. Although frustrating at the time, it is obvious in hindsight why this occurred: Marta and myself were essentially nothing more than prying strangers, asking women to tell us about    84 the social and economic experiences that, in many cases, have disrupted every facet of their sense of self. Moreover, we were asking them to use English to tell us about their deeply personal experiences of dislocation and reintegration; as a second language for most participants, the struggle to communicate these vulnerabilities in English highlighted their assimilation struggles more intensely (Brubaker 2001).  Because we were not able to contact the women directly to schedule the pre-program meetings and had to rely on the Neighbourhood House staff to organize these for us, there was little opportunity for Marta or myself to build rapport by providing context for the interviews prior to talking face-to-face. While some women did ask for copies of the questions in advance – so that they could translate words they would not immediately recognize during our meeting – it was not originally intended to be the standard practice but it came to be something we did for all of the pre-program meeting participants. One byproduct of sharing the questions for the pre-program meetings was that women prepared notes that they read from during the meeting, as mentioned earlier in this chapter. This practice was most common among the women who were most nervous about these meetings, which reinforced my understanding of how important it is to have trust and rapport before attempting to conduct interviews about highly sensitive experiences. The members of the Advisory Committee were also concerned about the quality of the pre-program meeting data and communicated that they would prefer for the women to participate in these meetings without their children present. Some women did bring their children (particularly their very young children), and others found alternative care. For women who told us that they would be unable to participate without childcare, we organized a morning of meetings with childminding provided.     85 Each of these early challenges with the pre-program evaluation presented an opportunity to learn and improve the data collection practices for the post-program meetings and my own data collection. When I was organizing my own research interviews, for example, I ensured that I had a sense of familiarity and ease with each participant before approaching her to arrange a post-program meeting or interview. Additionally, I circulated copies of the consent form and interview questions in advance, worked with women’s schedules to arrange meeting times that would be the least disruptive for them and their children, and offered them a variety of meeting locations. The women occasionally brought their children to these interviews and I made sure that the children had activities to occupy them (toys to play with or crayons to draw with, depending on their age) while I spoke to the woman about her experiences participating in the Pathways Program. As a result, I did not experience the same problems scheduling the post-program evaluation meetings as we had faced during the pre-program meetings – no participants cancelled in advance, and participants largely showed up on time. This was true even though five out of eight of the post-program meetings were with the women who had completed the program at Forest Lawn, where the women seemed to face more challenges related to economic instability and domestic disharmony15 (I provide more details about the post-program meetings and interviews in Section 2.3.2).                                                   15 I debated whether it would be appropriate to include detailed descriptions of the Neighbourhood Houses and key differences between the two fieldsites, eventually deciding that do to so would significantly reduce the likelihood of maintaining participants’ anonymity. I choose to use the Pathways to Leadership program’s real name because I thought it was a critical and characteristic example of the project’s emphasis on empowerment and I received the program organizers and participants’ permission to do so. Yet, to include both the program’s name and vivid details about the fieldsites could make members of the respective organizations highly recognizable.     86 I should note that there was not a budget for childminding during the post-program interviews or my dissertation research. The Advisory Committee raised the possibility of conducting post-program meetings by telephone with those women who did not feel that they could have their child(ren) in the room because the child(ren) would be too disruptive. As described in the introduction, many of the women participating in the program found the telephone to be a source of great anxiety and so I did not conduct any meetings or interviews over the phone. At least five of my dissertation interview participants described, unprovoked, how nervous they felt when speaking on the phone due to their lack of confidence with the English language. As Sunhe (35, South Korea16) explained, for example:  I have to, you know [set up], TV and Internet, hydro, and actually my English was okay, but when I talked to them on the phone, it was a different story. So I was like, “What did you say? What should I do?” Like I was really scared if I made some mistakes and my bills goes up high or they explain the channels and, you know, they try to charge me more, try to sell something more to me. But yeah, that was sort of the scary part.  Sunhe’s worries about speaking on the telephone indicate how this activity is tied to anxieties around language, and her fear that the telephone call will leave her vulnerable to paying more for services she may not necessarily want. Developing a greater awareness of childcare and language issues was useful in planning my own research methods; moreover, these early experiences highlighted how face-to-face interviews are preferable to almost any other data                                                  16 I include information about Pathways to Leadership program participants’ age and home country subsequent to their name throughout the dissertation. I recognize that this convention runs the risk of invoking stereotypical ideas about participants’ social location pre- and post-migration, but decided that this contextualizing information is helpful in terms of giving readers a shorthand sense of PtL program participants’ varied stages in the lifecourse and the countries from which they migrated. Please consult Appendix B for more extensive participant demographics.     87 collection method when the population in question is comprised of newcomers to Canada for whom English is a second language.  In my reflections on why the post-program meetings were worlds apart from the pre-program meetings, a key difference seemed to be the dyadic relationships I had formed with each participant. By the end of the program, I had assisted most of the women with a personal or professional issue and so we had established a level of familiarity and trust. With my own project, I was also able to ensure that I had developed a good rapport with participants prior to arranging the qualitative interviews. While conducting pre- and post-program interviews is necessary in an experimental design where the aim is to capture a baseline in order to measure performance outcomes, as the program evaluation aimed to do, my dissertation project instead aimed to generate a deeper understanding of how people make sense of their lived experiences related to migration and integration. As such, I generated the data presented here using ethnographic methods of participant-observation and in-depth semi-structured interviews. The multiple opportunities to interact in a variety of settings helped to foster the intimacy necessary to share highly sensitive and personal information within a context of trust.  Through extended, multi-sited participant-observation and interviews with program participants and key individuals involved in organizing the Pathways Out of Poverty project I came to understand how everyday practices and experiences connect to, reproduce and/or undermine extra-local relations of ruling at multiple levels. This conceptual thinking and language borrow from “the method of inquiry” that Smith (2005) calls institutional ethnography. These multiple levels include: 1) the standpoint of individual and interindividual experience, 2) the group dynamic in classroom sessions, 3) the institutional    88 organization of the Neighbourhood Houses and funders, and, ultimately, 4) the provincial, and 5) federal levels of government. By approaching the research questions with these five local and extra-local settings in mind, I gained a deep sense of how the relationship between the standpoint of lived experience and the social organization of everyday life influences the labour market experiences of immigrant women participating in a particular employment and leadership skills program at a local community organization. This method informs and guides my approach to the research as a whole, in that my research questions and sites evolved from my role in the previous cycle of the Pathways to Leadership program and from the time I spent listening closely to the concerns and experiences of the women organizing and participating in the program.   The approach of institutional ethnography and method of inquiry that Smith (1987) proposes requires a new mode of telling. If the relations of ruling are predominantly textually mediated, the sociologist wishing to work against this tradition must be cautious to avoid generating an account that seems to stand outside the world she is attempting to account for (Smith 1987, 17, 140). This task is challenging, since “sociology has developed powerful methods for producing texts that will operate in the extended relations of ruling,” and we cannot “magically transform those relations by writing our texts in different ways” (Smith 1987, 140). Despite the absence of an immediate antidote, the sociologist can proceed towards “a faithful telling” by committing to “an inquiry that is ontologically faithful, faithful to the presence and activity of her subjects and faithful to the actualities of the world that arises for her, for them, for all of us, in the ongoing co-ordering of our actual practices, both those within and those beyond our reach” (Smith 1987, 143). While sociological projects continue to produce texts for and within institutional settings, these texts ought to go beyond    89 reporting experiences and should instead strive to develop a knowledge of the “social relations within which we work and struggle as subjects” (Smith 1987, 140–141). This project strives to meet that standard of accountability by recognizing and problematizing the academic, organizational, and commonsense understandings of issues related to class, status, and citizenship in settlement processes.  My committee approved my methodology and methods during my dissertation proposal defense on May 31, 2013, and my project received approval from the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board on September 18, 2013 (Approval Certificate #H13-02360). I began my research on September 20, 2013, and concluded my fieldwork and interviews on April 7, 2014, thereby ending the formally sanctioned research phase of my involvement with these Neighbourhood Houses. Nevertheless, I continue to be involved with the Pathways to Leadership project and am a current member of the project’s Advisory Committee.  2.3.1 Participant-observation and writing fieldnotes Participant-observation and focus groups provided the richest sources of data during my time as a program volunteer and the success of these experiences informed the data collection strategy for my dissertation research. Participants seemed most comfortable expressing themselves in interactions that are less structured than interviews. For example, participants were likely to share the most personal kinds of information immediately after the tape recorder was turned off. Such self-censorship in the face of a tape recorder might be a result of their previous experiences with high-stakes interviews required to attain particular documents and visas during the migration process, or distrust stemming from experiences with authorities in their home countries and Canada (see Higgins 2004, 697, on the    90 challenges of interviewing immigrants from countries with oppressive government regimes). Some discomfort may have also be related to a heightened self-consciousness about being tape-recorded and observed while communicating in English. English was not a native language for any of the PtL program participants, with the exception of two program participants I did not interview (see Section 2.4).  Because there were no pre-program meetings for the two cycles of the Pathways program in which I conducted my research, I did not meet the women or introduce my research project until the first session of the program, at which time I provided a brief explanation of my role as a participant-observer in the program and stated that I would be inviting them to participate in a one-on-one, in-depth interview with me about their migration and employment experiences. I also circulated a half-page description of my research project and information about how I would be taking notes during the program sessions for the purposes of my research (see Appendix C for the letter of introduction I circulated to the participants in the second cycle of the Pathways Program at Forest Lawn and Crystal Pond Neighbourhood Houses). I explained that I would distribute notes by email after every session.  As part of my ethics application, the Neighbourhood Houses where I conducted my research provided letters of support that explicitly outlined their approval of my research methods, such participant observation in the Pathways to Leadership program sessions and in-depth interviews with the program participants and Neighbourhood House staff. After consulting with my committee and considering the UBC BREB’s rules and guidelines, I determined that the institutional approval was sufficient and that I would not seek program participants’ active consent for the participant observation component of this project. Instead,    91 I took a passive consent approach: the half-page description of my research project encouraged women to let me know by email if they would prefer that their participation not be included in my fieldnotes. I did not have a single woman approach me to have her comments excluded from my fieldnotes.  I took fieldnotes during every session of the program, and I attended all of the sessions at each Neighbourhood House for the duration of my fieldwork from September 2013 to April 2014 with the exception of one session at Forest Lawn that I missed while attending an academic conference. In total, I conducted approximately 150 hours of participant observation during my official period of fieldwork (September 2013 to April 2014). I left each session and promptly went home or to a nearby coffee shop to transcribe these jottings into full and detailed fieldnotes. Each set of fieldnotes is approximately 7,000 words.  Once I had finished transcribing my jottings into fieldnotes I would prepare a set of ‘class notes’ for the session that outlined the content covered and links to resources that were mentioned during the program, and I would distribute these notes to participants via email within 24 hours of the program session. Distributing the notes from each session helped me to create a record of what happened during each session, and these notes served as a tangible deliverable that I provided to participants for the privilege of allowing me to attend each session of the program as a participant-observer. These notes were especially useful in helping to keep participants on-track with the program content and homework, and this was especially true for women who had to miss sessions due to sick children and conflicting appointments.     92 2.3.2 Qualitative interviews I conducted 41 in-depth, semi-structured qualitative interviews with program participants (n=31), members of the Advisory Committee (n=9) and a funder (n=1) for the purposes of this project. Of the 31 interviews with program participants, 8 were post-program meetings with participants from the first cycles of the PtL at Crystal Pond and Forest Lawn. I originally conducted these meetings for the program evaluation and they were not added to the data analysis for this project until I sought an amendment from the UBC BREB in February 2013. I sought the amendment to include these interviews in my dissertation research project because they were conducted in July 2013 – two and half months after the first cycles of the program ended – and so they offered a more reflective sense of what women gained by participating in the program. The UBC BREB approved this amendment and I contacted the women by email to seek their approval to have the data from these meetings included in this research project (see Appendix D for the email message). All of the women who participated in the post-program meetings agreed to have their responses included as data for this dissertation project. With regard to the interviews conducted during the second cycles of the PtL, eleven of the program participant interviews were with women registered in the second cycle of the PtL program at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House, and twelve interviews were with women registered in the second cycle of the PtL program at Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House.  The consent forms (see Appendix E and F) and interview schedules for these different sets of interviews are appended to the dissertation (see Appendix G, H, and I). After scheduling the interviews with the women, typically in person before or after program sessions or during program breaks, I would follow up with an email message that confirmed    93 the time and location that we agreed on. I would also attach the consent form and interview schedule to this email so that women could take the time to read the documents over carefully and translate any words or phrases that they did not understanding into their first language. Because I was quite open in program sessions about the nature of my research project – I brought my research project up whenever possible, in order to remind the participants that I was not a Neighbourhood House staff member or practicum student – the consent form and interview schedule did not raise any questions among the women. I would bring two copies of each document to each interview: one copy of the consent form for the participant to sign and return to me before the interview started and the other for her to keep, along with copies of the interview schedule for each of us to refer to throughout our conversation.  Providing women with a copy of the interview schedule by email and in person at the interview served multiple purposes: 1) it provided a document for women to reference in case they were unsure of the meaning of a particular English word or phrase and, 2) it kept the discussion focused on the research project rather than content from the program sessions or other aspects of participants’ everyday lives. I recognize that it is unusual for qualitative researchers who use semi-structured interview methods to provide participants with copies of the interview questions but I found this level of transparency about what participants could expect from the interviews was important in term of minimizing PtL participants’ nervousness about having a detailed and in-depth conversation in English, and reassuring the Neighbourhood House staff, Advisory Committee members, and the funder that I would not be asking them to disclose sensitive or confidential information about the operation of their organization or personal lives. Additionally, because I had relationships with the women I    94 interviewed prior to arranging the interview component of my research project, it would have been very easy for these conversations to digress from the focus of the research.  I adhered fairly strictly to the interview schedules (see Appendix H and Appendix I) to ensure that I largely asked participants the same questions where relevant (e.g. I would not ask a participant to tell me about her employment experiences in Canada if she had not worked in the country). The consent form and adherence to the interview schedules demonstrate the extent to which language served to coordinate the research encounter, creating a shared understanding based on the two-sided act of speaking and listening (Smith 2005, 77). The use of text as a tool and medium for organizing the research encounter is evident in the fact that the analysis presented in this dissertation partially relies on two-dimensional, text-based interview transcripts produced from audio-recorded, three-dimensional conversations that occurred between two individuals who had face-to-face conversations organized by the typed words presented on the sheets of paper that sat between and in front of them.  These interviews were between one and three hours in length and took place at a variety of locations throughout the Lower Mainland. While the participant-observation provided rich data, the act of conducting interviews is a form of labour that participants, Neighbourhood House staff and the committee members of the Pathways Out of Poverty project understand as ‘research;’ in a project where I embodied multiple roles, conducting interviews helped position me in the field as a researcher and participant-observer more than as a volunteer or evaluator for the second phase of the Pathways to Leadership program. Scheduling and conducting interviews therefore served two purposes: one, to generate data, and two, to make clear my standpoint as a graduate student researcher in the ongoing    95 activities of the project and program. The consent form (see Appendix E and Appendix F) outlined what I intended to do with the information they would provide in the interview, how I would manage the information, and other generalities about what we could expect from one another. The textually-mediated interindividual territory of the explicitly research-focused encounter helped coordinate my subjectivity as a researcher; at the same time, the women who signed the consent form and participated in conversations guided by an interview schedule were aware that they had agreed to take on the subjectivity of a research participant.  I did not schedule my first one-on-one qualitative interview for my dissertation project until October 15, 2013, which was nearly a month after I started my fieldwork in the second cycle of the Pathways to Leadership program at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House (see Appendix A for a timeline of research activities). This gap between the beginning of the program and the first interview provided program participants with ample time to become familiar with me before they agreed to engage in a private, one-on-one conversation. This familiarity also provided me with opportunity to ask probing questions based on information I gleaned during PtL program sessions. I created a similar gap between the start of my participant-observation and in-depth interviews when beginning fieldwork at Crystal Pond in January 2014. As I experienced when organizing the post-program meetings in summer 2013, allowing the time to build rapport seemed to positively affect participants’ willingness to attend the interviews and be forthcoming in terms of discussing their lived experiences.  My first interview took place at a participant’s home: Cynthia’s (46, China) daughter had recently moved away to attend university and she was living alone in a condominium on the UBC campus (see Table 2-1 for a list of locations where I conducted interviews). She seemed eager for our meeting and put out a dish of sliced fruits and crackers for us to share.    96 To my surprise, the interview lasted two and half-hours! Prior to meeting with Cynthia I had been nervous about starting the interviews – I worried that I was asking for too much time and intimacy from the women in the program, and worried that they would only offer to participate in interviews because they wanted to appease me. I had anticipated that my interview with Cynthia would only last an hour to an hour and a half and had planned accordingly. Yet, I had underestimated her desire to talk, share her experiences, and discuss her plans for the future. The interview with Cynthia helped me to realize that she was gaining something from the act of sharing her story and having someone bear witness to the difficulties she had encountered after arriving to Canada with a PhD from China and being unable to find employment her in field.  As the interviews progressed, however, I recognized that the early interviews were with participants who were the most forthcoming and relaxed. In hindsight, I suspect this difference was due to the participants’ eagerness: the early interviewees were those who had taken the initiative to immediately volunteer for an interview and they did not need reminders about scheduling a time and place to meet. Instead, they came up to me at the beginning or end of program sessions and inquired about setting up an interview. Mid-way through the interviews with PtL program participants at Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House, I realized that the women whom I had not yet interviewed might have some hesitations about speaking to me. Fortunately, the women who had already participated in the interviews often went back to the group and told the other women how much they enjoyed the opportunity to share their experiences. I am grateful for those women who vouched for me to the other participants, as I am certain that these endorsements alleviated the apprehensions that may have prevented several women from speaking with me. Two notable examples were of    97 Jennifer (35) encouraging Isa (31), both from Peru, and Alice (38) encouraging Nikki (48), both from the Philippines, to participate in interviews with me. For the women who were less social and seemingly more introverted, a short conversation with them about whether or not they would be interested in meeting with me to discuss their immigration and employment experiences was often enough to schedule an interview.  I conducted interviews at a number of locations (see Table 2-1). I offered participants a list of places where we could meet and asked them to select the most comfortable and convenient location for them. Participants’ homes were the most common interview location and this was especially true for women with small children. I drove to North Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, and East Vancouver for these interviews, which alerted me to the distance that some women were travelling to access free, low-barrier programming in Vancouver. While some participants lived within walking distance of the Neighbourhood House, others took public transit for 45 minutes each way with a hyper 3-year-old. That women travel this distance with small children highlights the need – and lack – of low-barrier programs with free childcare for immigrant women. Interview location Number of interviews At their home 14 Forest Lawn Neighbourhood House 8 Crystal Pond Neighbourhood House 7 In my home 6 At various library branches throughout Greater Vancouver 4 Another Neighbourhood House At the external funders’ office 1 1 Total 41  Public libraries and a researcher’s home are less conventional locations for conducting qualitative interviews. I offered these options to all participants with the Table 2-1 List of locations where I conducted the interviews     98 recognition that many of the women had anticipated that they would achieve a better economic and material status in Canada than they had so far, and I did not want them to feel embarrassed about their homes or to feel as though I had forced myself into their private lives. Additionally, I was cognizant of the fact that some women were involved in relationships that might be considered abusive and wanted to ensure that they felt as though they could speak at the interview without fear of reprisal if overheard. The library was offered as neutral territory, and I met participants at the Vancouver Public Library’