A “Great” Large Family: Understandings of Multiculturalism among Newcomers to Canada


  • Christopher J. Fries
  • Paul Gingrich




Analysts have taken positions either supporting or attacking multicultural policy, yet there is insufficient research concerning the public policy of multiculturalism as it is understood and practiced in the lives of Canadians. This analysis approaches multiculturalism as a text which is constituent of social relations within Canadian society. Data from the Regina Refugee Research Project are analyzed within Nancy Fraser’s social justice framework to explore the manner in which multiculturalism and associated policies are understood and enacted in the lived experience of newcomers. Newcomers’ accounts of multiculturalism are compared with five themes identified via textual analysis of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act—diversity, harmony, equality, overcoming barriers, and resource. Embedded within the accounts newcomers offered of Canadian multiculturalism are relations of ruling that can be understood within the context of struggles for recognition and social justice. Further research is needed to investigate the relational processes in which differing perceptions of and experiences with multiculturalism are embedded and to compare the present accounts with those of other groups of immigrants and Canadian-born.


How to Cite

Fries, C. J., & Gingrich, P. (2011). A “Great” Large Family: Understandings of Multiculturalism among Newcomers to Canada. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 27(1), 36–49. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.34350



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