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Social Science Emigration & Immigration

Containing Diversity

Canada and the Politics of Immigration in the 21st Century

by (author) Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Ethel Tungohan & Christina Gabriel

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2022
Emigration & Immigration, Social Classes, Cultural Policy, Discrimination & Race Relations, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2022
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Although Canada is known internationally as a leader among industrialized countries for inclusive practices towards immigrants and refugees, the twenty-first century has witnessed a rise in the number of refugees and temporary migrant workers who are often denied citizenship and may also experience detention and deportation. Containing Diversity examines to what extent Canada’s long-standing support for immigration, multiculturalism, and citizenship has shifted in favour of discourses, policies, and practices that "contain" diversity.


This book reflects on how diversity is being "contained" through practices designed to insulate the Canadian settler-colonial state. In assessing the Canadian government’s policies towards refugees and asylum seekers, economic migrants, family-class migrants, temporary foreign workers, and multiculturalism, the authors show the various contradictory practices in effect. Containing Diversity reflects on policy changes, analysed alongside the resurgence of right-wing political ideology and the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, Containing Diversity highlights the need for a re-imagining of new forms of solidarity that centre migrant and Indigenous justice.

About the authors

Yasmeen Abu-Laban is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. She has published widely on issues relating to the Canadian and comparative dimensions of gender, ethnicity and racialization processes, border and migration policies, and citizenship theory. She is the co-editor of Surveillance and Control in Israel/Palestine: Population, Territory, and Power (with Elia Zureik and David Lyon); co-editor of Politics in North America: Redefining Continental Relations (with Radha Jhappan and François Rocher); and editor of Gendering the Nation-State: Canadian and Comparative Perspectives. She is also the co-author (with Christina Gabriel) of Selling Diversity: Immigration, Multiculturalism, Employment Equity and Globalization.

Yasmeen Abu-Laban's profile page

Ethel Tungohan is the Canada Research Chair in Canadian Migration Policy, Impacts, and Activism and an assistant professor of politics at York University

Ethel Tungohan's profile page

Christina Gabriel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Pauline Jewett Institute of Women`s Studies at Carleton.

Christina Gabriel's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Containing Diversity makes what is often invisible, visible, shedding new and substantial light on the struggles of im/migrant groups who are at once essential to national economies, yet multiply marginalized on intersecting grounds of oppression.”

<em>Canadian Ethnic Studies</em>

"One of the most exciting contributions to the immigration literature in the last few years, Containing Diversity is a valuable resource not only for migration scholars, but also for policy analysts, as well as immigrants themselves who wish to learn about Canadian immigration policies."

École nationale d’administration publique, <em>International Journal</em>

“With Containing Diversity, Abu-Laban, Tungohan, and Gabriel not only offer a convincing and disconcerting appraisal of the politics that shape 21st century immigration policy in Canada, but also a carefully articulated ethical path forward – one that supports a politics of social and global justice”

<em>Canadian Ethnic Studies</em>

“In addition to both its new arguments and impressive synthesis of existing literature that will appeal to both new and senior scholars, it is easy to envision how this volume will be an excellent teaching resource for advanced undergraduate or graduate courses. Containing Diversity would work well as a core text addressing the politics or sociology of migration in Canada whose chapters each address a core theme, or as an assigned book for students to review and contend with its framework.”

<em>Journal of Australian, Canadian, and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies</em>