Brokering Identity and Learning Citizenship: Immigration Settlement Organizations and New Chinese Immigrants in Canada


  • Yidan Zhu University of Toronto



This paper examines citizenship learning and identity construction of new Chinese immigrants in a Canadian immigration settlement organization (ISO). I address the gap between the concept of “settlement” and “citizenship” generated by government-funded ISOs and new immigrants’ actual practices in these programs. I adopt Dorothy Smith’s approach of examining the social organization of people’s everyday lives (Smith 2005) in order to unpack the ruling relations behind the immigrant settlement services and to take the standpoint of Chinese new immigrants. Under this framework, I analyze a Canadian federal government’s funding criteria for ISOs and a settlement program’s annual report to unpack the ruling relations behind the texts. I further conduct in-depth interviews with two Chinese new immigrants in a Canadian ISO to understand the ruling relations behind citizenship learning and brokering activities in Canadian ISOs from the immigrants’ standpoint.

Author Biography

Yidan Zhu, University of Toronto

Ph.D student in the Adult Education and Community Developnent program at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.