Smoke and mirrors: How an allegedly inclusionary strategy perpetuates an exclusionary discourse
The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the meaning making theoretical perspectives underlying the creation and development of a public mentoring program, allegedly designed as an inclusionary strategy for facilitating newcomers' labour market integration. Building upon findings outlined in the program's latest Evaluation Report (Bejan 2011) and drawing upon participant-observation as an inductive field-based research strategy, this paper questions the uncontested legitimization of the cited program as a positive inclusionary strategy and claims it perpetuates the very same discriminatory practices and systemic barriers that impede immigrants' ability to fully participate within the Canadian labour market. It further argues that, despite its affirmed inclusionary objective, the program's formation is rooted in theoretical perspectives that justify exclusion, reproducing and maintaining, by extension, an exclusionary status quo. As a result, it rejects the application of social capital and social inclusion/exclusion theories, those hypothetically deemed to be guiding the program's development, and those traditionally used as explanatory for newcomers' inability to successfully participate within the labour market. It then proposes a structural perspective as a theoretical base to direct the program's future design. Its conclusion emerged from the author's interpretative framework, that only a structural approach will draw attention to the power imbalances and discrepancies between Canadian-born individuals and newcomers, as they relate to the issues of labour market participation and subsequent economic gains.
Bejan, R. (2011). Smoke and mirrors: How an allegedly inclusionary strategy perpetuates an exclusionary discourse. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 43(3), 165-181