Coffee Hour: The Miller Lecture-Geraldine Pratt

Friday, April 13, 2012 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Refreshments in 319 Walker Building at 3:00 p.m. Lecture in 112 Walker Building at 4:00 p.m.
Temporary Foreign Workers and Their Children: 
(Neo)Liberal Compromises and the Violence of Inclusion


In 2005 the Global Commission on International Migration determined that, worldwide, the old
paradigm of permanent migration and settlement has given way to temporary and circular migration.
It recommended that states in the global south learn from the Philippines; as the world’s largest
exporter of labour it has “a wealth of experience” supplying temporary workers to global labour
markets. At the other end of the process in the global north, liberal political theorists are pondering
the ethics of temporary labour migration cite Canada’s Live-in Caregiver Program, which brings
mostly women to Canada to work as live-in domestic workers, as an exemplary temporary worker
program that lies within acceptable limits of liberal-democratic principles of inclusion. My work with
the Philippine Women Centre of BC sits at the intersection of these two state policies in the Philippines
 and Canada. We assess the paradigm shift to temporary migration through close ethnographic
engagement with Filipino families who have been separated by and then reunited after temporary
labour migration through the Live-in Caregiver Program. We work against the geographies that mask
 both workers’ experiences and the effects of temporary migration, to reveal the long term impacts of
 temporary migration, in particular within the lives of Filipino youths. There is nothing temporary
about temporary labour migration as it reaches into the next generation, deskilling Filipino youth and
systematically structuring the economic and social marginalization of a large portion of a racialised
community in Canada. Pratt mugshotGeraldine Pratt is Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia.
She has research interests in gender and labour markets, and artistic practice as a
mode of geographical theorising and research dissemination. She has collaborated
with the Philippine Women Centre of BC for the last 17 years, researching various
aspects of Canada's temporary foreign domestic worker program, including the
marginalisation of immigrant Filipino youth.
She is author of Working Feminism (2004) and Families Apart: migrant mothers and
the conflicts of labor and love (2012)
, coauthor of Gender, Work and Space (1995), and co-editor of
The Global and the Intimate (2012), and the 4th and 5th editions of the Dictionary of Human
. She co-wrote Nanay, a testimonial play, which was staged in Vancouver and Berlin in
2009. She is currently coauthoring a book on the City and Film.