The Construction of Migrant Work and Workers by Alberta Legislators, 2000-2011

Foster, Jason and Barnetson, Bob (2015) The Construction of Migrant Work and Workers by Alberta Legislators, 2000-2011. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 47 (1). pp. 107-131. ISSN 0008-3496

[img] [English] PDF (The version available in this research repository is a postprint. It has the same peer-reviewed content as the published version, but lacks publisher layout and branding.) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (140kB)


This paper uses narrative analysis to explore how Alberta government Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) “constructed” migrant work and migrant workers in legislature and media statements between 2000 and 2011. Government MLAs asserted that migrant work (1) was economically necessary and (2) posed no threat to Canadian workers. Government MLAs also asserted that international migrant workers (3) had questionable occupational, linguistic or cultural skills and (4) caused negative social and economic impacts in Canada. Taken individually, these narratives appear contradictory, casting migrant work as good but migrant workers as bad. Viewed together, these narratives comprise an effort to dehumanize temporary and permanent international migrant workers. This (sometimes racialized) “othering” of migrant workers justifies migrant workers’ partial citizenship and suppresses criticism of their poor treatment.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 14057
Department(s): Divisions > On the Move Partnership
Date: 26 March 2015
Date Type: Publication
Related URLs:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics