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The racialization of immigrants in Canada – a historical investigation how race still matters

Isabella Krysa (Department of Management, Fairleigh Dickinson University – Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada)
Mariana Paludi (Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile)
Albert J. Mills (Department of Business, Ita-Suomen yliopisto Yhteiskuntatieteiden ja kauppatieteiden tiedekunta, Kuopio, Finland and Department of Management, Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 1 November 2018

Issue publication date: 29 January 2019




This paper aims to investigate the discursive ways in which racialization affects the integration process of immigrants in present-day Canada. By drawing on a historical analysis, this paper shows how race continues to be impacted by colonial principles implemented throughout the colonization process and during the formation stages of Canada as a nation. This paper contributes to management and organizational studies by shedding light on the taken-for-granted nature of discursive practices in organizations through problematizing contemporary societal and political engagements with “race”.


This paper draws on critical diversity studies as theoretical framework to problematize a one-dimensional approach to race and diversity. Further, it applies the Foucauldian historical method (Foucault, 1981) to trace the construction of “race” over time and to show its impact on present-day discursive practices.


Through a discursive review of Canada’s past, this paper shows how seemingly non-discriminatory race-related concepts and policies such as “visible minority” contribute to the marginalization of non-white individuals, racializing them. Multiculturalism and neoliberal globalization are identified as further mechanisms in such a racialization process.


This paper illustrates the importance of a historical contextualization to shed light on present workplace discrimination and challenges unproblematic approaches to workplace diversity.



Krysa, I., Paludi, M. and Mills, A.J. (2019), "The racialization of immigrants in Canada – a historical investigation how race still matters", Journal of Management History, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 97-113.



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