Getting Carded: Border Control and the Politics of Canada’s Permanent Resident Card

Browne, Simone
Citizenship Studies

This article is concerned with the ways in which border control has been reconstituted through Canada's Permanent Resident Card (PRC). Some questions examined with this paper include: how did the PRC come to exist as a technology of border control? Does it function as a symbol of the Canadian nation-state's imperative to manage transnational movement and access to the geopolitical space of the nation and, if so, how? Through what means does the PRC and the events surrounding its introduction and use facilitate processes of serialization and racialization? Does the PRC, as a technique of reason of state, do the work of producing the category “responsible immigrants”? The notions of “economies of bodies” and “bordering” are important here. “Bordering” opens up the concept of the border from a fixed place to a verb, or a process. Given this, bordering does not only occur at the territorial boundaries of the nation-state, it can also be internal to it. By examining how the category of “permanent resident” is organized, gains meaning and is maintained, this article demonstrates how the technology of the PRC and similar technologies of the regulation of mobility operate as practices of bordering and nation-making and constitute Canadian citizenship.