Daniel Joseph Hiebert

 
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Professor

Research Interests

immigration, diversity, national security
social policy
urban geography

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Institutional humanism and the animalization of criminalized refugee youth in Canada (2016)

Drawing on interviews with youth and youth professionals, this dissertation explores institutional humanism in the lives of the young people who took part in the study by focusing on the operationalization of humanist categories and exclusions in criminal justice, immigration, social welfare, and education policies. Examining the role of policy in the production of precarity, I argue that humanism is smuggled into institutional practice through racism, sexism, classism, ageism, and ableism, which, as expressions of being less than human, depend on the separation of the human (culture) from the non-human (nature) at the core of humanist thought. By creating conditions within which certain bodies are dehumanized and others are humanized, policies perform particular figurations of the human and sub/non-human; via these processes law and policy maintain race, class, gender, and species hierarchies. To make this argument, I analyse four performances that establish the separation of criminalized refugee youth from the human category: the erasure of personal histories, denial of human rights, production of disposability, and subjection to violence. These conditions are prompted by existing narratives that construct criminals, Muslims, Black people, youth, and refugees as less than human (closer to nature). Institutional policies and practices both reinforce and are sustained by discourses of humanity and animality that produce precarity as part of the “anthropological machine” that determines whose body and knowledge matters and who may be subjected to violence and denied rights and protections. These ontological and epistemological questions underscore the fragility of the human conceived as a separate and superior species. Focusing on species also offers a new way to consider how power and identity are inscribed in the lives of refugees and criminalized persons in Canada. Since addressing injustice at a deep level requires consideration of how human/nature dualisms underwrite violence, dispossession, and injustice, my aim is not the extension of liberal humanism to excluded Others, but a transformation of humanism.

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Through the border : Senegalese gendered migration to Spain (2005-2010) (2013)

This dissertation provides a geopolitical and gender analysis of the border that was built between 2005 and 2010 to stop unwanted migration from Senegal to Spain. I combine an investigation of institutional practices and of the experiences of migrants who crossed (or tried to cross) that border. This work constructs a genealogy of the Spanish - Senegalese border, including the obstacles placed to stop unwanted migration and the strategies adopted by migrants to enter EU space. To do so I draw from three bodies of literature: scholarship on migrant transnationalism, critical geopolitics, and feminist political geography. This analysis is built on extensive primary research complemented by secondary data, includinglife histories, participant observation, and interviews with migrants, members of their transnational social networks, former smugglers, service providers, supra-stateorganizations, state bureaucrats, and state security forces, as well as official statistics, legislation, and media accounts.I contend that gender is an articulating factor of international migrations. In the case of contemporary Senegalese migration to Spain, I argue that the re-enforcement and militarization of the border was disproportional to the number of migrants using land andsea routes. These efforts were partly responsible for a decrease in illegal migration by land and sea after 2007, but migration by air and secondary migration from other countries of the EU (which represent the majority of the migrant flow) was unaffected. Despite the obstacles placed to stop it, the migration of Senegalese continued and even increased during this period, mainly thanks to the support that transnational social networks provided to migrants. The main consequence of the preventive and defensive anti-immigration measures adopted was a re-territorialization of the EU border.The findings suggest the importance of integrating a variety of scales in the study of the processes, actors, and mechanisms involved in the territorial re-definition of state and supranational borders. In the case of the EU, I contend that as a response militarization is ethically questionable, economically wasteful, and inadequate. Finally, this study suggests the need to engage in a mobile cartography of the migrant transnational network to account for its transformations across time and space.

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Vancouver’s night markets : intercultural encounters in urban and suburban Chinatowns (2013)

This study compares two Chinese-themed night markets in Vancouver, Canada. The Chinatown Night Market is held in the City’s downtown historic Chinatown, while the Summer Night Market is held in the suburb of Richmond. Night markets are iconic elements in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and have a specific sensorial design created by tightly packed crowds, loud music, dim sum, and vendors selling pop culture goods. The central question of this research concerns the role of the everyday for intercultural understanding and engagement. As such, it places the night markets at the centre of three inter-related debates in the literature: the role of space in everyday encounters with difference; the interplay of structure and agency in the construction and representation of Chinatown; and the role of marketplaces specifically in fostering meaningful intercultural exchange in plural societies. This thesis compares Vancouverites’ experiences with difference in the two marketplaces, drawing on 88 interviews with consumers and vendors, ten in-depth key informant interviews (with market administrators and city officials), and hours of participant observation over the course of two years. The overarching contribution of this research is to demonstrate that the night markets, as everyday spaces, foster intercultural interaction and engagement. These everyday encounters with difference, however, do not occur in a vacuum. This research makes three inter-related arguments. First, the night market phenomenon in Metro Vancouver is a project in re-writing both the City landscape and the suburban landscape in a way that challenges imposed notions of “Chineseness” by city governments and multicultural planning discourses. As such, these cases reveal the struggle between structure and agency in the representation of Chinatown. Second, the different trajectories of the two marketplaces reveal a shift in the scale of diversity management planning discourses, from mosaic to micro-scale. Third, the night markets both reveal and contribute to the social normalization of ethno-cultural diversity in Metro Vancouver’s public realm.

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Finding a home : the housing experiences of government assisted refugees and refugee claimants in Winnipeg and Vancouver (2011)

This study compares the housing experiences of government assisted refugees (GARs) and refugee claimants (RCs) in two Canadian cities: Winnipeg, MB and Vancouver, BC. Drawing on 20 key informant interviews and 80 interviews with GARs and claimants, this research explores the ways in which local context and legal status influence refugees’ ability to obtain adequate and affordable housing. In so doing, this dissertation asks, is it legal status, place or something else?The implementation of the Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA 2002) introduced significant changes in the profile of GARs resettled to Canada. Previous research on the housing challenges faced by government-assisted refugees and refugee claimants indicates refugee claimants have more difficult pathways to housing owing to lack of social capital and temporary status (Murdie 2008; D’Addario, Hiebert and Sherrell 2006). Within this research, however, those GARs with low literacy, little formal education and large families experience the greatest challenges with respect to housing and income security. This finding marks a dramatic – and troubling – shift from earlier research. Unlike claimants, whose difficulties primarily relate to their temporary status (e.g. lack of access to information and formal assistance), the challenges facing GARs relate to the changing profile of refugees who have been sponsored in the post-IRPA era. This research extends the existing literature on newcomers and housing, as well as the wider geographic literature, by advancing our knowledge about the intersections of legal status and place on housing outcomes, as well as through a detailed consideration of the influence of housing on long-term social inclusion. The resettlement of increasing numbers of high needs refugees in the context of extensive housing affordability problems in Canadian cities, and low prospects for employment, creates the potential for the emergence of many of the factors commonly associated with a multi-generational cycle of poverty: high unemployment and/or lack of appropriate job skills, high rates of welfare dependence, a large number of single-headed households, and low educational attainment among children. The question arises, then, whether we are witnessing the emergence of a refugee underclass in Canada, and if so, what can be done to prevent it?

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Globalizing Canadian education from below : a case study of transnational immigrant entrepreneurship between Seoul, Korea and Vancouver, Canada (2008)

This study explores a form of transnational economy that involves cross border movements of students, families and business people that are motivated by education. A main objective of the study is to explore the interplay of structural factors and the agency of migrants in the development of this industry. Using interview data collected in Seoul, Korea and Vancouver, Canada, this study demonstrates that the globalization of the international education industry is not simply an economic process but a by-product of complex relations between many economic and non-economic factors. The intensification of globalization in general, and the rise of neo-liberalism in particular, have introduced macro structural changes in the political economies of both Korea and Canada that have had important implications for growth in the education industry. The role of nation-states is critical in that both Korean and Canadian national governments have delivered more relaxed policies regulating international migration and educational flows between the two countries. At the local level, both public and post-secondary educational institutions in Vancouver have become actively engaged in recruiting fee-paying international students.Ordinary migrants, both permanent residents and temporary visitors, play an important role in promoting Canadian education in the global market as well. The successful recruitment activities of local schools (and school boards) have been facilitated by Korean international education agencies operating in Vancouver. Relying on close social and cultural linkages between Korea and Canada, the transnational entrepreneurial activities of Korean immigrants demonstrate how globalization actually works in practice. With strong motivation and spatial mobility, the rising demands of Korean students and their parents have also been an important precursor of recent industrial growth. This seemingly smooth growth of the international education industry between Seoul and Vancouver, however, masks more complex dynamics of the process. I provide four critiques on taken-for-granted approaches towards neo-liberalism and economic globalization. Exploring immigrant participation at the heart of the knowledge economy (education), this study also asks if the entrepreneurial opportunities that are being cultivated by Korean-immigrants represent an innovative shift from traditional and low-level ethnic niche economies toward more lucrative opportunities.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Divergent intersections : multicultural education and peer interactions in schools (2017)

For decades, Canadian multiculturalism policy has promoted a vision of integration in which all people have the right to practice and maintain their culture of origin while at the same time helping to build a diverse nation. Critics, however, argue that the policy tends to essentialize cultural identity and serves only to “manage” diversity. On a smaller scale, schools are a primary site for integration and identity negotiation for young people in Canada. In British Columbia, multicultural curricula in secondary schools aims to celebrate the contributions to society of “other” cultures, as well as acknowledge Canada’s racist past. Critical questions of privilege, power, and oppression are often left out of this discussion, and scholars have rightly asked whether multicultural education is able to address systemic racism and inequities. This research contributes to our comprehension of how and to what extent multicultural education in schools affects interactions among peers from many different ethnocultural backgrounds. I interviewed 30 students enrolled in a Grade 11 Social Studies course at a secondary school in Abbotsford, British Columbia to ask them how the process of multicultural integration materializes in their everyday lived experiences of identity formation, sense of belonging, and peer interaction. I find that students’ lived realities of multiculturalism, racialization, privilege, and oppression, both intersect with and diverge from the British Columbia Social Studies curricula. Their embodied experiences are far more complex than any simple definition or stated aim of multicultural education. These findings justify the implementation of critical multicultural education in schools, which might welcome students’ lived realities into discussions of multiculturalism and racialization, thus bringing the hidden curriculum to light.

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Fitting in and standing out : immigrant youth negotiating new citizenships in multicultural Canada (2015)

Youth are forceful political actors who challenge mainstream conceptions of what it means to be a citizen, immigrants and a young person, contesting what it means to be representatives for these titles. We fail to realize that these individuals, especially youth who don’t fit neatly into these categories, have their own personal stories and experiences that often go unheard.This project is about the process of negotiating belonging and citizen action in Vancouver, British Columbia. The primary contribution of this project is towards understanding how Service Provider Organizations (SPOs) can create space and guidance for immigrant youth. My thesis rests both on academic and popular research, and interviews with refugee youth who have participated in an integration program called MYCircle. I present some of the ways people feel (dis)connected to the place they live, and integration in a multicultural society. Ultimately, this project sheds light on the youth’s attitudes and opinions towards the integration process as well as conflicts and collusions between migrant youth and Canada during that process.

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Memory-making of historical episodes by Punjabi-Sikh youth in Vancouver (2015)

No abstract available.

(un)belongings: Mulsim women in multicultural Canada (2012)

No abstract available.

Hanging on the edge of the house: African refugees, housing, and identity in Metro Vancouver (2010)

For African refugees arriving in Metro Vancouver, housing is a crucial component of settlement and integration. Given Metro Vancouver’s expensive housing market, high levels of homelessness, and consistently low vacancy rate, how are they coping in Vancouver’s housing market? What barriers do they face and what are some possible solutions? By providing an overview of the housing challenges African refugees face and identifying gaps in available services, this study expands the knowledge base upon which improved settlement policy and service provision may be built. The results show that, due to a complex combination of factors, including lack of affordable housing, discrimination, low incomes, and long application processing times, African refugees are facing a housing availability and affordability crisis in Metro Vancouver that forces them to accept substandard housing which is unsuitable, inadequate, and unaffordable. These unstable conditions are both symptomatic and generative of other problems, including poverty, debt, hunger, and a high risk of homelessness. Importantly, the study also reveals how these material conditions, which are the effect of policies grounded in theoretical perspectives around multiculturalism and notions of Canadian identity, are reflective of those underlying ideological frameworks. The author also argues that an enhanced understanding of the historical roots of current discriminatory practices is required in order to effect positive social change for the future.

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