(Em) Bodies and Documents: Examining Information-Sharing Practices in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program

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Clause, Courtney Jane




This study examines information-sharing practices within the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP). Drawing on Foucauldian theory and critical discourse analysis (CDA), I analyze 61 documents for their content, codification of stakeholder relationships, and use of discourse. Documents were selected based on creation, use, or circulation within Ontario, and "official" status - at least one stakeholder group would look to the document for (perceived) reliable information. I argue that documents function as material actors, alongside (sometimes beyond) human actors, making physical impact on SAWP bodies and realities. Documents communicate, discipline, and uphold neoliberal structures surrounding the program; through consistent sharing of narrow, "work-related" information, and the rare inclusion of more well-rounded, "non-work" knowledge, documents subtly discipline the boundaries of acceptable/unacceptable communication. In doing so, material actors perpetuate a program which does not consider the varied, complex needs of "whole workers" (McLaughlin et. al., 2017), but treats them as disposable labouring bodies.


Mass Communications




Carleton University

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