Daniel Joseph Hiebert

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not looking for graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows. Please do not contact the faculty member with any such requests.


Research Classification

Research Interests

immigration, diversity, national security
social policy
urban geography

Relevant Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters


Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Making home in Little Syria: gendered geographies of refugee placemaking (2021)

Refugee resettlement is described by the UNHCR as a ‘durable solution’ to the problem of human displacement. Resettlement is also preferred by refugee-receiving states, such as Canada, who prefer resettlement to unwanted migrant/refugee arrivals at the border. Yet, while often framed as a solution, critical scholarship increasingly recognizes the complexity of resettlement as it is experienced by refugees. This dissertation picks up on this theme to understand how one group of refugee women make sense of being resettled. The central question guiding this work is: How have refugee mothers created their worlds and made meaning for themselves? This dissertation draws on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork with Syrian refugee families living in a spatially concentrated community in an economically marginalized and socially stigmatized neighbourhood in one Canadian city. In taking an ethnographically informed, geographically specific approach to understanding refugee resettlement, this dissertation makes the following three arguments:First, processes of refugee resettlement and ‘integration’ need to be geographically informed and take seriously the relations that exist between migrants and non-migrants. I argue that in attending to what Miraftab (2016) calls a “relational sense of place,” we deepen our conceptual understandings of integration to include relations and encounters that are not visible through other methods. This includes understanding the decision-making processes, priorities and agency that refugees bring to where they choose to live. Second, by centering the experiences of refugee women, this research explores the powerful ways migrants make meaning and build lives for themselves and their families even in the wake of violence and dislocation. Syrian refugee mothers find comfort and continuity in their role as mothers and caregivers, while also struggling under the double burden of providing care to relatives overseas and learning how to navigate the work of mothering, as racialized minorities, in Canada. Finally, from the perspective of refugee mothers, resettlement is best understood as a strategy, rather than a solution (Hyndman & Giles, 2017). While human security is largely assured through resettlement, the radical disjunctures caused by ongoing restrictions on mobility and the dramatic reorganization of family life opens up new forms of precarity and displacement.

View record

“We can’t arrest our way out of this” police responses to gang violence in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland (2020)

Gang violence in the Lower Mainland is the focus of much media, political, policy, and police attention, but a lack of Canadian studies on police and policy responses hinders an evidence-based approach to prevention and control. In light of the gaps in the Canadian knowledge base, this research is an effort to contribute to the understanding of gangs in British Columbia (BC). The empirical data is derived from semi-structured qualitative interviews with 42 police officers and two civilian employees across three jurisdictions: Surrey, Abbotsford, and Delta. These interviews sought to assemble police perceptions and understanding of Lower Mainland gangs with respect to their organization, structure, and the nature of their activities. This examination includes an overview of dial-a-doping as an important characteristic of gangs in BC, perceptions of the implications of ethnicity, and the ways in which what have been termed non-traditional risk factors for gangs present themselves in the BC context. From the interviews, this research describes the policy instruments deployed by police across the three jurisdictions in gang prevention, intervention, and suppression efforts. Given the lack of available empirical data on the efficacy of these efforts, the findings will analyze the efficacy of these responses to suggest ‘what has worked’ as perceived by the police officers tasked with program implementation, and consider police perceptions of the structural, capacity, and resource challenges that may limit the success of police-based policies, strategies, and programs aimed at preventing and controlling gang violence. Finally, a way forward is suggested noting that the response to gang violence in BC requires engagement beyond the police, acknowledging the need to reduce the demand for supply of illicit narcotics, and the need to limit the capacity for predatory wealth accumulation that the police interviewed in this research suggested is the primary motivator for gang participation in BC’s Lower Mainland. This call to address the larger social problems related to mental health and substance abuse, thereby reducing the demand for supply, is in keeping with the longstanding position reiterated by police organizations across the Lower Mainland: “We can’t arrest our way out of this”.

View record

Countering violent extremism in a multicultural city: from national security to local implementation in Melbourne, Australia (2019)

Since the events of 9/11, counter-terrorism has been a top priority for governments around the world. Concern over “homegrown” or domestic terrorism has led many governments to consider community engagement as fundamental to counter-terrorism and national security policy. Preventative frameworks are now commonplace. “Soft” approaches to counter violent extremism (CVE) rely on community-based models to tackle the underlying causes of violent radicalisation. Counter-terrorism and CVE programs have been seen to disproportionately target Muslim youth, typically seeking to address disenfranchisement, alienation and social exclusion as factors contributing to trajectories of radicalisation to violent extremism. Critics have described a national security paradox, in which soft security measures have “securitised” integration, social cohesion, and multicultural policies and programs.Implicit to the examination of national security policy in a multicultural setting are the scalar dynamics that shape how national policies are translated and implemented. By adopting an approach that cuts across multiple scales, it becomes clear that when paradoxical national security policies are ported to the local scale, significant negative consequences can follow. Under Australian national security policy and rhetoric, Muslim communities have been targeted, anti-Muslim sentiment and suspicion of Muslims has been endorsed, and belonging and access to welfare services rendered conditional upon self-identification as “at risk” of radicalisation.This dissertation is motivated by a pressing central question: what is at stake when social policy is predicated on fear? Drawing on semi-structured interviews with state and local government workers and extended participant observation in a Melbourne local government this dissertation uncovers how policy practitioners negotiate two potentially conflicting objectives—multiculturalism and national security policy. The extended case study highlights capacities at state and local levels to mitigate the detrimental effects of hostile national security rhetoric, policy contradictions, and the stigmatising effects of participation associated with CVE.This dissertation argues that combining multicultural social policy with a national security agenda risks undermining positive social relations and service delivery for marginalised communities. However, it also highlights the conditions under which local government can afford resistance to the securitisation of Muslims, extend new spaces of belonging, and to promote a meaningful politics of diversity.  

View record

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.

View record

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.

View record

Vancouver's night markets: Intercultural encounters in urban & 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.

View record

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?

View record

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.

View record

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Building a life: integration outcomes among government-assisted refugee newcomers in Greater Vancouver (2019)

This thesis focuses on integration outcomes among government-assisted refugees (GARs) who arrived in Canada between 2007-2016. I explore how this cohort is faring relative to basic indicators like employment, health, and social connections, and I examine how GARs themselves understand integration as a concept. I explain my mixed-methods approach to answering these questions, and I present the results of fieldwork undertaken in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia in early-mid 2019. I also provide a short review of the literature of integration, and I wrestle with ethical and methodological issues raised by the process of researching a vulnerable group. I conclude that legislation changes at the federal level have impacted the demographic characteristics of refugees selected for resettlement, with newcomers facing substantial barriers with respect to labour market integration, access to stable housing, and overcoming trauma. I also conclude that refugees’ own understandings of integration do not differ substantially from the framework proposed by Ager and Strang (2008). Finally, I offer recommendations for future research into migration and changes to family dynamics, the impact of degree recognition programs, and facilitating the social integration of LGBT+ refugees.

View record

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.

View record

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.

View record

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

This thesis explores the ways in which the youth from the Punjabi-Sikh community in Vancouver, Canada relate to three historical episodes associated with the community, namely, ‘Events of 1984’(The Indian Army’s 1984 attack on the Golden Temple in Amritsar, as well as, the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, India), ‘Events of 1985’ (The Air India bombings) and the Komagata Maru episode of 1914. Exploring the youth narratives and non-narratives on these violent episodes intrinsically connected with the Sikh diasporic community in Canada, provides for an analysis of the meaning-making processes that the youth engage with to make sense of these episodes. By emphasizing on how the youth remember, what they remember (and what they forget), I draw attention to linkages between these processes of recall and the present day realities of the youth. By juxtaposing the dominant narratives on the episodes with the youth narratives, the research also explores the relationship of these ‘grand’ narratives with the personal narratives of the youth, the space and reception of the contending forms of remembrances of these violent histories, and its effect on present day politics.

View record

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

In this thesis I explore the way Muslim women in Vancouver, B.C. narrate stories of belonging. Addressing the way in which Muslim women have become a popular symbol for the perceived incompatibility of multiculturalism and specific cultural practices, I focus on how this group has been affected — resists and negotiates — the changes to Canadian policy and the social landscape in the last two decades. I examine how these women come to see themselves in relation to the framing of their social, cultural and religious practices as inherently incompatible with aspects of Canadian society. What stories of belonging do they tell? How are these affected, produced, or outside of, state narratives of being in Canada? I draw from feminist, anti-racist scholarship calling for more nuanced and critical approaches to concepts of integration, multiculturalism and nationalism. I argue that these women’s stories can best be understood through the theoretical lens of (un)belonging; spaces, moments and attachments that develop outside of normative belonging. Finally, I seek to ask whether we can “keep our senses open to emergent and unknown forms of belonging, connectivity” and “intimacy” (Puar 2007, p. xxviii) and what these might inform or enliven in studies of immigration, settlement and multiculturalism in Canada.

View record

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.

View record

Current Students & Alumni


Membership Status

Member of G+PS
View explanation of statuses

Program Affiliations



If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Learn about our faculties, research and more than 300 programs in our 2022 Graduate Viewbook!