About a month ago, local reporter Frances Bula ran a story in The Globe & Mail where she went out and actually talked with many of the wealthy Chinese immigrants at the heart of many local debates (mostly over housing). I thought it was a good story! I also thought it sounded a lot like the story I’d been working on getting into an academic journal with a grad student since 2014. After a lengthy review process, that story was finally accepted for publication in Social Problems (our first choice) earlier this year, but academic publishing being what it is, who knows when it will actually come out. I sent Frances a note about how much I appreciated her article and I mentioned that in many respects she’d scooped us! I attached our paper. In her generous response, she wrote up a little piece about our research, out today in the Globe & Mail under the title, “Wealthy Chinese migrants come for better housing, not money: study.”
It’s a fine little write-up. Thanks Frances! But after I sent it to my co-author, UBC Sociology PhD Candidate Jing Zhao, she suggested she would’ve substituted “homes” for “housing” in the title, which is more or less what I’ve done above. (Also the article is coming out in Social Problems instead of Social Work, but that’s a minor quibble for anyone not invested in academia!)
Here I wanted to post a link to the Pre-Print Version of the full article directly for those interested in reading it. I’m slowly getting the hang of where and how copyright works – mostly in this case just by closely reading the fine-print of the copyright agreement where it notes my rights to distributing pre-prints! Building on this, I’m hopeful I’ll get most of my old and new work out in the public domain in some form or another through this blog and other venues (like my Faculty website). So here’s today’s piece (with citation and abstract):
Nathanael Lauster & Jing Zhao. Labor Migration and the Missing Work of Home-making: Three Forms of Settling for Chinese-Canadian Migrants. Forthcoming in Social Problems.
Much of migration theory has come to revolve around the category of the “labor migrant,” without taking into account labor, like home-making, that remains unrecognized by the market. Drawing from qualitative interviews with thirty one Chinese migrants in different stages of making a move from Beijing to Vancouver, we attempt to bring better visibility to how the labor involved in home-making intersects with migration. Defining home-making as work in the pragmatic-existentialist context of the stabilization of everyday routines, we uncover three themes to home-making work: settling in, settling down, and settling for. Discussion of these themes reveals two important issues for migration theory: settlement relies upon the work of home-making and the work of home-making in many cases motivates migration. For these reasons, the work of home-making should be more carefully studied within the migration literature.