Oral Presentation The 26th International Nursing Philosophy Conference 2023

The mechanism of the immigration system and its role in creating health inequities for displaced individuals in colonial nation-building regimes (#32)

Shokoufeh Modanloo 1 , Liquaa Wazni 2 , Wendy Gifford 3 , Thomas Foth 3
  1. Univercity of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  2. School of Nursing , University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia , Canada
  3. School of Nursing , University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

One of the social mandates of nursing is to advocate for health and healthcare justice by critically examining dominant discourses and mechanisms that serve the neoliberal interests of organizations and their effects on nursing knowledge and practice. We will draw on concepts of “Necropolitics” by Cameroonian historian and political theorist Achille Mbembe to frame our analysis of power and surveillance over migrant people that determine “who gets to live and who gets to die.”

Policies and practices of the Canadian immigration system have been built by the colonial orders of power that construct the identity of displaced people (individuals who flee their homeland in response to unsteady political, socioeconomic or environmental violence) as underserving “Others” ineligible for support and services. These practices legitimize labelling people as physically and mentally “unfit,” undeserving of publicly funded support and burdensome to the country. To understand the complexity of systematic violence toward displaced persons, an interdependent analysis of the power structures of immigration and healthcare systems within colonial nation-building regimes is required. In this presentation, we explore the confluence of the immigration and health systems practices by discussing the discursive historical, political and social contexts contributing to the displacement of people around the world. We will discuss the important role of community health nurses in promoting socio-political awareness rejecting false narratives of humanitarianism in a democratic world, and resisting the ongoing violence against displaced people. With nursing scholars and migrant women from war-torn countries as authors, we are uniquely positioned to reflect on the rise of the 21st century’s crisis against humanity that persecutes displaced peoples. As Mbembe eloquently explains, “Becoming human in the world is not a question of birth nor origin or race, but a matter of journeying, of movement, and of transfiguration.”