Criminology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Rationalizing professional misconduct: An examination of techniques of neutralization in lawyer discipline proceedings

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-11
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the use of neutralization techniques by lawyers to justify, excuse, and rationalize their behaviour in disciplinary action for misappropriation, real estate fraud, and conviction for serious financial criminal offences. In addition to assessing the nature and frequency of lawyer neutralizations, this study also considers the extent to which law society discipline hearing panels evaluate and respond to these defence and mitigation strategies in making a sanctioning determination. The dataset consists of 393 law society discipline decisions from eight of Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies decided between 1990 and 2017. Content analysis addresses the characteristics of these lawyers, how they use techniques of neutralization and are disciplined by the law societies, and how hearing panels evaluate and respond to these rationalizations. The research findings have implications for neutralization theory and its application to lawyer discipline, for stakeholders and policymakers. The conclusions focus on three issues: 1) the prevalence of substance use and other mental health concerns in lawyer discipline cases, 2) the role of post-offence mitigation in the sanction determination, and 3) the suggestion that mitigating factors should be re-examined as techniques of neutralization with the goal of neutralizing some of them when imposing sanctions in disciplinary cases.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Joan Brockman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Exploring the covariates of domestic terrorism in Canada: A model of provincial variation in terrorist incidents

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-14
Abstract: 

The majority of research on terrorism is focused on the United States, with very few studies examining terrorism in the Canadian context. Additionally, no studies have examined structural-level factors associated with terrorism in Canada. Therefore, the present study aims to understand the covariates of terrorist incidents within Canada informed by social disorganization theory related to population composition, economic factors, trends in immigration, among other theoretically relevant variables retrieved from the Census of Canada. A series of negative binomial generalized estimating equations and generalized linear models are conducted to provide an in-depth understanding of the factors associated with terrorism within Canada. The results show that the social disorganization perspective provides considerable utility in aiding the understanding the macro-level covariates of terrorism. Trends regarding the characteristics of terrorist incidents within Canada are also outlined, along with how the face of terrorism in Canada has changed over the years.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Garth Davies
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

"Drop the body": Body disposal patterns in sexual homicide

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-21
Abstract: 

The current study investigates body disposal patterns in sexual homicide cases, and examines whether offender’s behaviour differ between solved and unsolved cases. To address these two research questions in line with rational choice perspective, a series of logistic regression analyses was conducted on a sample of 250 solved, and 100 unsolved sexual homicide cases in Canada. Within solved cases, results show that if victim is a prostitute, body found concealed, and found lying face down, it is likely the body was moved. For unsolved cases, the role of victim as a prostitute, and evidence of stabbing influenced whether the body was moved. Further, results indicate that post-crime phase factors predicted the most whether the victim’s body was moved in solved cases. Whereas within unsolved cases, pre-crime phase factors contributed the most at predicting whether the body was moved post-homicide. Theoretical and practical implications from this study are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eric Beauregard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

From reefer madness to regulation: Analyzing Canada’s strategies to evaluate the public health impacts of recreational cannabis legalization

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-13
Abstract: 

On October 17, 2018, cannabis became legal to possess and use for recreational purposes in Canada. Canada’s approach to cannabis regulation was initially constructed as a deviancy issue, and is now being constructed as an issue central to public health. However, there is currently no consensus as to what specifically a public health approach to cannabis legalization entails. Literature from relevant jurisdictions with legal recreational cannabis has outlined some important public health metrics to consider with respect to cannabis legalization. The current study explores five of these public health metrics regarding cannabis legalization in Canada, in order to determine how well equipped Canada is to evaluate the public health impacts of cannabis legalization, and the current research strategies in place to evaluate this unprecedented policy change. Analyzing these strategies is important in order to determine whether recreational cannabis legalization in Canada can indeed be considered a public health success.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Neil Boyd
Tamara O'Doherty
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Men's formal help-seeking experiences following female perpetrated intimate partner violence

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-09-09
Abstract: 

Traditionally, IPV has been viewed as a gendered phenomenon, with a focus on women. However, victimization surveys and emerging research have started to explore the experiences of male victims, particularly in relation to their reluctance to seek help and their predominantly negative experiences upon doing so. To expand on the literature, this qualitative study is exploratory in nature and aims to better understand the formal help-seeking experiences of male victims of severe female perpetrated IPV. A total of 389 male victims responded to an open-ended qualitative survey question administered in the United States. Thematic analysis of their responses was conducted, and five main themes and a number of sub-themes were identified, namely: the context of formal help-seeking and types of abuse experienced, negative experiences with police, courts, and IPV victim agencies, and barriers to formal help-seeking. The gender paradigm theory and stigmatization theories informed the discussion of the results, and ultimately it was found that male victims who seek formal help report overwhelmingly negative experiences as a result of societal expectations surrounding gender roles and hegemonic masculinity, and male victims who do not seek formal help report barriers related to internalized stigma, shame, and embarrassment in their reasoning. Various recommendations for policy and practice are discussed in light of these findings, and issues of generalizability are taken into consideration.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alexandra Lysova
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Spawning trouble: A criminological examination of salmon aquaculture in coastal British Columbia

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-23
Abstract: 

Despite considerable evidence of ecological harm, ongoing breaches of law and regulation and systemic failure on the part of regulators, the salmon aquaculture industry has to date been spared criminological consideration. This dissertation aims to begin to address this lacuna through an interrogation of the discourse of environmental harm and risk associated with salmon farming in British Columbia, as represented through a significant moment in its history, the Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River. An ethnographic content analysis of the Commission hearings was undertaken, which drew on the Framework methodology. In making meaning of the data, I enlist several theoretical frameworks, including political ecology and risk as theorized in risk society and governmentality scholarship. To this end, I draw on the work of Ulrich Beck, for whom the development of the “risk society” in which a critical-reflexive engagement with the ecological risks of techno-industrialization is a central preoccupation. This is compared with analyses derived from Michel Foucault, where risk is viewed as a form of governmentality. I contend that the environmental governance of salmon aquaculture through “sustainable development” manifests an expression of biopolitical power, deriving from and operating upon a network of relations between the population, the resources upon which it depends and the environment. Material relations are also considered through the lens of Treadmill of Production theory, with a focus on both the drivers of the treadmill as originally conceptualized – capital, labour and state – and countervailing forces such environmental and Indigenous groups. Through a process of capital accumulation via intensive agri-industrial production, the salmon aquaculture industry externalizes the costs of its ecological additions and withdrawals, engendering local, regional and even global impacts through spatially and temporally networked global systems of production and consumption. In this dynamic, the regulatory system is a site of contestation. I consider this adumbration of the material and ideological relations of power with a generative intent and take up some of its overarching implications for engaging with the regulation of salmon aquaculture and with other systems of ecological governance in British Columbia and beyond.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Joan Brockman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Upvoting extremism: Exploring a far-right ‘virtual community’ on Reddit

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-24
Abstract: 

Since the advent of the internet, right-wing extremists have been exploiting online platforms to build ‘virtual communities’ among like-minded peers. Research in this area has tended to focus on extremists’ use of internet platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. Overlooked in these discussions, however, has been an exploration of the social news aggregation site: Reddit. In response to this gap, the current study explores the nature of right-wing extremism in user-submitted comments posted to r/The_Donald, a notorious subreddit community, through the lens of social movement theory. The results of the thematic analysis highlight that, on r/The_Donald, right-wing extremists use Reddit’s unique voting algorithm as a tool to mobilize like-minded members by promoting the community’s most extreme othering discourses against two prominent out-groups: Muslims and the Left. In particular, r/The_Donald’s ‘sense of community’ facilitates identity work among its members by creating an environment wherein members’ extreme views are continuously validated.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Garth Davies
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Unraveling the foster care effect: An examination of criminal outcomes

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-15
Abstract: 

Youth who are dually involved in both foster care and criminal justice systems represent a small minority of individuals with multi-problem risk profiles. Indeed, prior research has found that foster care youth are disproportionately more likely to continue a chronic level of offending in adulthood (Yang, McCuish, & Corrado, 2017). However, the nature of this relationship remains theoretically underexplored, and empirically underexamined. Extant research suggests that adverse childhood experiences have prevailing effects beyond the developmental period of childhood, and thus longitudinal research is required to further elucidate the effects of foster care on offending. The current thesis was guided by three theoretical frameworks under the developmental life-course criminology paradigm (propensity, developmental, and life-course theories). Using data from the Incarcerated Serious and Violent Young Offender Study, the criminal offending trajectories of 678 incarcerated youth were examined. A history of foster care placement was predictive of a high rate chronic offending trajectory, and this relationship was independent of hypothesized moderating variables including gang involvement, negative self-identity, substance use versatility, and parental maltreatment. Findings suggest greater need for ongoing support for foster care youth in their transition to adulthood.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Evan McCuish
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Risky places and criminogenic facilities: Understanding property crime at micro-spatial units

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-06-24
Abstract: 

Criminologists have long-known that spatial crime patterns vary across different geographic areas. Until recently, research has shown that crime is highly concentrated at a small number of micro-places. Subsequent studies have found that these spatial patterns are generalizable across different urban settings and are relatively stable over time. Although more scholars are beginning to recognize the importance of measuring crime at places, little is known about the explanatory factors of crime at the micro-spatial scale. Using police incident data and land-use information obtain from the Vancouver Open-Data catalogue, zero-inflated negative binomial models were used to understand the spatial patterns of various types of property crimes at street segments. The results demonstrate that certain facilities have a significant impact on these crime types at the micro-spatial level. Depending on the crime type, the strength of the relationship varies in magnitude and level of significance.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Andresen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

When survivors speak, what does Twitter say?: A multiple case study of #metoo

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-23
Abstract: 

On October 15th, 2017, actor Alyssa Milano tweeted “#metoo” in solidarity with women coming forward with allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, stating that she too had experienced sexual violence. Since then, #metoo has seen unprecedented numbers of people participating in discussions across the globe, challenging the culture of silence that often envelopes sexual violence. To provide insight into how society discusses sexual violence, this study uses a multiple case study design involving three prominent hearings in which women give a victim impact statement or testimony: the Larry Nassar sentencing hearing, the Bill Cosby sentencing hearing, and Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing. Through a content analysis of 2419 tweets, the findings reveal that the majority of Twitter discourse ties into larger discussions on privilege, provides survivors with support, condemns the accused or convicted, or critiques the #metoo movement and survivors of sexual violence.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Richard Frank
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Criminology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.