Anthropology Publications

Title

'They can learn to say my name': Redistributing Responsibility for Integrating Immigrants to Canada

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Journal

Anthropologica

Volume

58

Issue

1

First Page

46

Last Page

59

Abstract

Newcomers to Canada whose names index identities other than ‘‘white’’ and ‘‘English’’ face pressure to alter their names to facilitate integration. Some immigrants oppose the forces of conformity and refuse to assimilate their names. In interviews, they explain this stance using discourses of agency centering on a belief in true names, a moral obligation to get names right, and a need for a strong self. Focusing on ideologies of identity and language in their meta-agentive discourses, I argue that the act of immigrants keeping their ethnic names is a political move to redistribute responsibility for the integration of newcomers into the host society.