Minority agency, experiences and reconstructed identities
How migrants negotiate racially stratifying systems
in Critical race theory and inequality in the labour market
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Although racial stratification influences the outcomes of groups and their members, this chapter shows that it is not deterministic because individual migrants can and do express minority agency which influences labour mobility and intra-group hierarchy. This dialectical interaction between minorities and racially stratifying systems in their new country of settlement is the focus of this chapter. It presents a framework for interrogating the migration to labour market participation process within four strands that every migrating person goes through: expectation, experience, negotiation and identity reconstruction. It also presents the typologies identified from migrants’ trajectories that reveal five characteristic labour market experiences which in turn become solidified into reconstructed identities. Just as racial stratification has been argued to do in this book, its presence in the labour market participation process selectively metes out an endemic colour-coded migrant penalty which proliferates racial inequality.

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