Home and Native Land: Unsettling Multiculturalism in Canada

By Vadi, Priya | British Journal of Canadian Studies, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Home and Native Land: Unsettling Multiculturalism in Canada


Vadi, Priya, British Journal of Canadian Studies


May Chazan, Lisa Helps, Anna Stanley and Sonali Thakkar (eds), Home and Native Land: Unsettling Multiculturalism in Canada (Toronto: Between the Lines, 2011), 256 pp. Paper $29.95. ISBN 978-1-897071-61-8.

This edited collection critically examines multicultural policy in Canada, both post-9/11 and historically. The aim of the book is to highlight the manifestations of multiculturalism 'in discourses which say little about diversity, integration, and other explicit preoccupations of traditional understandings of multiculturalism' (p. 3), and argues a need for re-examination of multicultural policy post-9/11, especially over concerns of security and racialization of visible minorities. The book has 11 contributors, 11 chapters, and is divided into four parts themed: unsettling multiculturalism, labour, lands, and bodies - how individual experiences are enacted and experienced, with each part demonstrating how understandings of multiculturalism are reflected through various scenarios.

The section on unsettling multiculturalism discusses various debates surrounding multiculturalism in Canadian society. The main argument presented in this part is about racial political recognition. Whilst Canadian multiculturalism is celebrated as being a 'cultural mosaic', it is contradicted by processes of social exclusion, racialization and colonization, thus leading to questions about citizenship and belonging for multiracial populations. Galabuzi (ch. 4) argues that although Canadian multicultural policy has acknowledged the demands of a more inclusive society and cultural difference, it has obscured issues of marginalization. Clarke (ch. 3) proposes a 'manifesto' offering possible amendments which reflect Canadian ideals of multiculturalism. Many of the suggestions made are proactive, however some are far-fetched.

The section on labour focuses on multiculturalism and the nation, and the influence of immigration policy and its importance in state-building. …

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