“Interrogating Borders: A Transnational Approach to Refugee Research in Vancouver”
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Immigration is predicated on the centrality of the nation-state. The authors argue that analyzing settlement patterns and successful integration within a strictly national context is insufficient to understand the political, social, and economic relations which shape the lives of refugee immigrants in Canada. To support this claim, a less state-centric theoretical framework of transnational migration is outlined. The paper examines methods emerging from transnational migration, focussing in particular on research with Burmese refugees who have settled in the Greater Vancouver Area. Based on 50 personal interviews conducted with refugee newcomers from Burma who are now settled in the Lower Mainland, the authors use the case study as a basis to raise methodological and theoretical questions about immigration research. We argue that the very politics of doing research with this group of refugees and other immigrant groups are shaped by the relations Of power experienced before arriving in Canada.