CHET Seminar Series

Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education & Training (CHET)  presents:

Complicating the Entrepreneurial Self: Professional Chinese Immigrant Women Negotiating Occupations in Canada

Hongxia Shan
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Studies

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
12:00 – 1:30 pm
West Mall Annex, Room 216
1933 West Mall


A core mode of governance in the era of neoliberalism is through the production of an ‘entrepreneurial culture’ and ‘entrepreneurial self’. Drawing on two qualitative studies that use a combination of life history interviews with Chinese immigrant women and institutional ethnographic analysis, I explore how the “entrepreneurial self” is produced for the women in Canada. In both studies, the women respondents displayed extraordinary entrepreneurialism by actively repositioning themselves occupationally and investing in Canadian training and education. Becoming entrepreneurial, however, is not merely an individualized response to the supremacy of the logic of the market for the women. It has to do with the ideology of meritocracy cultivated through the highly competitive education system in China that has been traditionally perceived as the venue for upward social mobility. It is also inextricably linked to the western-centred “credential and certificate regime” (Shan, 2009) in Canada that participates in the (re)production of existing social order. As a result, aspiring as they are, the women are largely channeled into a labour market segmented by gender, race, class and other relations of differentiation.
Posted By Maren Elfert