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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Class and ethnicity : the social organization of working class East Indian immigrants in Vancouver Cassin, A. Marguerite

Abstract

The thesis is concerned to explicate the social organization of ethnicity and ethnic relations in the Canadian setting. The work is developed from an ethnography of the East Indian 'community' in Vancouver, British Columbia and from other theoretical work done on ethnicity. The argument which is presented is that ethnic relations are special -forms of class relations, which are mediated by the socially organized practices of the social institutions of the society. The method of work proceeds in two ways. In the first place I begin from the categories and concepts present in the theoretical literature and return those to the social relations which they name; which are actual activities of individuals. In the second, I articulate on the basis of the actual activities of individuals who are part of and related to the social organization of a particular ethnic community, how the social organization of that ethnic community arises and is maintained. The first part of the thesis reviews the literature, presents the theoretical framework which is developed out of this method of work, describes the particular research procedures and provides an initial overview of the community I studied. The later chapters explicate the social relations and describes family organization, labour force participation and the market relations of East Indian individuals. A central focus in the later chapters is to examine the work procedures of individuals who conceptualize and organize the 'community'. The thesis provides brief concluding remarks which tie the different arguments in the thesis together, and point out areas where the work must be further developed.

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