International Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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From the field to headquarters: What is learned from nursing insight on quality of care in humanitarian settings?

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-12-04
Abstract: 

Quality of care in humanitarian healthcare is a challenge requiring a partnership between the project and the operational center, necessitating a way to bridge the divide between “on the ground” knowledge and the understandings in headquarters (HQ). Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) data collection from internationally recruited nurses (IRN) leaving humanitarian healthcare projects is meant to addresses this challenge. The objectives of this study are to appraise if MSF’s “End of Mission” (EoM) survey is an effective means of harvesting knowledge about the quality of care in projects and analyze the disjuncture or congruence between MSF field and HQ perceptions. This study uses a mixed methods approach combining survey analysis and interviews with key informants, including nurses and MSF HQ coordinators. Findings indicate that the EoM survey data is effective at transferring some knowledge but lacks the breadth of nurses’ experience-based knowledge that can be found in stories which create context.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Elizabeth Cooper
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Understanding women's autonomy: Wives of Punjabi truck drivers in Punjab and BC

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-01-18
Abstract: 

This study examines the widely held view that Punjabi women lack autonomy, having relatively little freedom to make their own choices. Through a survey questionnaire and in-depth interviews, the research explored understandings of their autonomy among 17 truck driver wives in Punjab and 14 in British Columbia, taking account of the implications of the lengthy absences of the women’s husbands. The study finds that the way women perceive and experience autonomy must be understood and measured with more nuance than is the case in much previous research. This has placed too much emphasis on attempts to compress perceptions and experiences of autonomy into discreet, quantitative measures. Research for this paper revealed many inconsistencies in commonly understood indicators of autonomy, highlighting the importance of examining the diverse circumstances of women and the unpredictability of human agency.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Irene Pang
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Brazil as a case of North-South research collaboration: Potential and pitfalls

Date created: 
2020-07-29
Abstract: 

International research collaboration (IRC) has been on the global governance agenda since the mid-20th century, gaining steam especially after the Cold War and the rise of neoliberalism in the 1990s. As a means to promote social, intellectual, and economic development in the global South, North-South research collaborations have been encouraged in discourse and practice by development agencies, education ministries, and prestigious universities around the world. This study takes the case of Brazil to investigate how researchers perceive the role of collaboration in mitigating or reproducing North-South power imbalances, and what these perceptions reveal about the potential of IRC in bridging the global knowledge gap. Drawing on primary data obtained through 26 in-depth interviews with Brazilian and Northern researchers, this study identifies macrostructural, intermediate, and individual factors that have shaped their experiences. Two issues stand out: knowledge dissemination challenges; and the individualization of advantages, both of which speak to opportunities as well as limitations of North-South collaboration in fostering capacity building in the South.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Elizabeth Cooper
Leslie Armijo
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

How do international students understand the concept of “integration”, and how does this relate to their experiences settling into life in a host country?

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-17
Abstract: 

The number of international students in tertiary education has soared in recent decades, driven by rising student demand and countries competing to boost their economic and human capital. International students are often considered “ideal” migrants, yet they are frequently overlooked in the integration literature despite having the same vulnerabilities as other immigrants. This exploratory study investigates what integration means according to 16 Indian students who studied at Canadian postsecondary institutions. Via interviews and a survey, it found participants had a multicultural understanding of integration that emphasizes sociopolitical and, secondarily, economic dimensions. This understanding differs from dominant conceptualizations of multicultural integration as it underscores the role of the immigrant in being open to other cultures, and considers “horizontal” processes of integration to be as important as “vertical” factors such as immigration policies. Participants’ adjustment strategies and trajectories were affected by their views on what integration should mean; their existing economic, social and cultural capital; and their original motivations for moving to Canada. Highlighting how integration is highly context-dependent, this study reveals processes that are commonly overlooked by theories and measures of integration.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Irene Pang
John Harriss
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Rolezinhos in Brazil: Social and political significance

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-12-05
Abstract: 

Contemporary Brazil has experienced a wave of large-scale urban social gatherings at shopping malls of underprivileged youth known as rolezinhos. While neither illegal or explicitly political, these gatherings generated deep unease among the middle-classes and the municipal authorities. This thesis investigates the rolezinho phenomenon in São Paulo as a social-movement cycle. It is first situated in the long historical context of colonial and imperial urbanization, slavery, and social repression and, subsequently, in the immediate contemporary context of the seemingly similar, yet more explicitly political, Movimento Passe-Livre (MPL). The research findings suggest that the rolezinhos participants, who are discriminated against and had their actions criminalized in urban spaces, saw themselves as young people aiming to express their unique cultural and social identities from the periphery. Given the reaction from the upper and middle-class with concerns over social order and crime, illustrated by brutal police response and criminalization of the rolezinhos, the local government under the Workers Party (PT) administration decided to intervene, negotiate and coopt leaders of the movement. Thereafter, the movement declined and later collapsed when the Social Democratic Party

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Gerardo Otero
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Ecofeminism and the MST’s educational programs: A case study from the Brazilian state of Paraná.

Date created: 
2019-08-01
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the overlapping ideological and pedagogical tenets between Ecofeminism and the MST’s (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra / Landless Worker’s Movement) educational model. One of the tools the MST uses to advance the rights of landless workers are settlement schools, in which classes are used to construct a new epistemology. This thesis focuses on how the Colégio Estadual do Campo Contestado (CECC), a specific settlement school in the South of Brazil, tries to advance these overlapping ideological tenets – intersectional aspects of social justice, acknowledgment of the unachievable, undesirable and unsustainable aspect of the catching-up development strategy, and the need for a new epistemology on socioeconomic development – on the ground. Overall, this thesis argues that the Brazilian public education system, along with patriarchal aspects of rural dynamics; the contradictions within Contestado’s own settlement regarding organic production; and the strength of Western scientific paradigms, together limit the CECC’s practical advancement of ideological and pedagogical tenets shared by the MST and Ecofeminism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Christopher Gibson
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Obama in Cuba: A ‘culturomic’ analysis of frames in digital news media content

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-16
Abstract: 

This study uses computational methods associated with the growing field of ‘culturomics’ to examine frames produced by digital news media sources during American President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba in March of 2016. Using a corpus of 192 newspaper articles, ngram frequencies, topic models, and semantic characteristics (sentiment polarity and subjectivity) are assessed to identify prospective frames. Articles published by Cuba’s Granma and the American New York Times are selected as cases for comparison to represent how differences in frames manifest across media environments. Results of this analysis highlight differences in how Obama’s visit to Cuba was framed in Granma, the Times, and across the remainder of the sample. These results affirm the utility of computational methods in the study of frames, as well as other aspects of digital media content.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Gerardo Otero
Leslie Armijo
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Food oppression – What are Rio’s favela youth eating?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-04-15
Abstract: 

Food consumption patterns have been acutely changing in Brazil since the 1980’s. As food consumption is representative of the material conditions and living standards of a particular group or society, consumers from different socioeconomic backgrounds will not have the same access to foods. Low-income individuals will be restrained to basic foods while more affluent consumers will be able to afford a wider variety. Diets make social disparities and structural domination explicit. I have presented the systemic mechanisms that reinforce oppression through food consumption. This study analyzed the structural relations between food consumption and social classes in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have focused on youth, which is the group more acutely moving away from traditional food consumption patterns. Specifically, I focus on low-income teenager residents of the favelas as they are also the most socially vulnerable group in the city. The overarching research question I have tried to answer is: In what ways is food becoming a new form of oppression for the already vulnerable low-income populations in Rio’s favela? From my research I found the ways in which the political structure, market organization and socioeconomic status are translated into this new form of oppression, not from the deficiency of food but abundance of low-quality unhealthy food items. The narratives collected from Rio’s residents during the research showed the discrepancies in access and agency among different social classes. From my research, I found the connections between the food system and systemic oppressions that appear on the food consumption patterns of the population.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Gerardo Otero
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Global health crises and international cooperation: A comparative framing analysis of narratives told during cholera outbreaks in 1851 and 2017

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-10
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the following questions: can global health crises provide effective opportunities for international cooperation? More specifically, what is the relationship between how a crisis is framed, and policy responses? To answer these questions, this thesis conducted a comparative case study and framing analysis of narratives told during two cholera outbreaks: the 1829 second cholera pandemic; and 2017 cholera outbreak in Yemen. This entailed analyzing proceedings of the 1851 International Sanitary Conference, 2017 Security Council meeting records, and Global Task Force for Cholera Control documents. Documents were analysed using two techniques: (1) narrative analysis to identify narratives constructed around the two cases; and (2) framing analysis to identify which global health frames actors used in narratives. This thesis argues that health crises can provide opportunities for cooperation, if cooperation is framed as a global public good and if actors refer to existing norms and laws governing state behaviour.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nicole Berry
Department: 
Arts and Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A South African Developmental State? The Need to Overcome Incapacity and Pursue Embedded Autonomy in the 21st Century; - AND - On the Fringes: Housing Policy, Urban Slums, and the Necessity for a New Direction in South Africa

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-08
Abstract: 

1) In the years leading up to and immediately following the African National Congress’ landslide victory in the country’s first truly democratic elections, much anticipation and hope about South Africa’s future were held by all. However, despite its transition to democracy and departure from the institutionalized racism of apartheid in 1994, South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in today’s global system. This essay explores the applicability of the developmental state framework given South Africa’s unique history and circumstances, considering arguments that assert South Africa can become a developmental state in spite of its deficiencies and arguments that argue against such assertions. This essay aligns with the former, arguing that while South Africa suffers extreme deficiencies that currently preclude it from becoming a 21st century developmental state, this does not mean that it can never become one. 2) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) enshrines the right to adequate housing, a concept that includes attributes such as security of tenure, protection from eviction, availability of services, and affordability. Since 1948, globalization and industrialization have ignited increasingly intense rural-to-urban migrations that strain cities’ abilities to house people. In South Africa, urban slums are prominent features of cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban. Since 1994, the African National Congress has battled to deliver housing to the poorest of South African citizens, but evidence shows that its efforts, mandated by national housing policies, are failing. This essay investigates this failure by examining the neoliberal underpinnings of South Africa’s various housing policies and exploring the arguments of two camps in the literature – one that argues for greater inclusion of slum communities and one that argues for a more enabling policy environment. Through this exploration, the essay suggests that a combination of these two approaches presents the best suited housing strategy for South Africa moving forward.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Christopher Gibson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.