Mexican Youth in Canada: A Political Economy Analysis of Motivations for Immigration, Labour Market Integration, and Transnational Practices

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Hernandez-Ramirez, Jesus Alejandro




This dissertation investigates and illuminates the factors that led 35 Mexican immigrant and refugee youth in Ottawa and Montreal to develop transnational practices. Among these factors are their class location before migration, motivations for immigration, and type of economic integration once in Canada. I identified three different types of economic integration among my participants, which were central in differently shaping their production of sociocultural, economic, and political transnational practices or lack thereof.

I contextualized these various processes in the historical and politico-economic context of Mexico and its relationship with Canada, a relationship mediated, in turn, by the one sustained between these two countries and the United States. In addition, I locate the particularities of Mexican immigration in the broader Latin American immigration to Canada, particularly since the 1970s.

Making use of Bourdieusian theory, segmented markets theory, and a transnationalism approach, my dissertation responds to the limited scholarship on Latin Americans and transnationalism in Canada.

My analysis thus offers a complex account of how transnationalism from below is shaped by immigrants and refugees' pre- and post-migration class location (including migration status, age, and gender). It is also shaped from above under a Canadian immigration model that privileges economic immigration over family and humanitarian immigration, along with the expansion of Canadian, Mexican, and global capital.

The comparison of economic integration among immigrants and refugees living in a small, Anglo-Canadian (capital) city vis-à-vis those living in a sizable French-Canadian city (Ottawa and Montreal respectively) also offered an interesting insight. For instance, I illuminate the effects that the expansion and accumulation of (trans)national and global capital have in shaping national and sub-national models of immigration and integration in Canada.

Finally, my research also contributes to the understanding of the little explored arena of reasons for immigration, types of economic integration, and transnational practices of high-skilled and educated immigrants. The traditional emphasis of Canadian and American literature on low-skilled workers has not assisted us in having a better understanding of the economic integration experiences of (Mexican) skilled immigrants, and the extent to which they generate transnational practices and ties in the North American region.


Individual and Family Studies
Ethnic and Racial Studies
Social Structure and Development




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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