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

Receive updates for this collection

Gender equality, the state and civil society: A comparative case study of Rwanda and South Africa

Author: 
Date created: 
2012-04-19
Abstract: 

This paper examines the evolution of gender equality as manifested and protected by the state in both Rwanda and South Africa since 1994. As a liberal democracy, South Africa should, in theory, allow for the influence of citizens in policy making and be held accountable for its shortcomings regarding its commitment to gender equality and ending violence against women. Evidence reveals that the South African state falls far short of these ideals, particularly in its relationships with women’s organizations in civil society. Conversely, the Rwandan state, under authoritarian leadership, demonstrates significantly greater commitment to gender equality, and civil society groups report positive relationships with the state. Four factors explain this disparity: the context of each country’s political transition, the origins and ideology of the ruling party, the extent and type of state corruption and neopatrimonialism, and the role of civil society in a semi-authoritarian state versus a liberal democratic state.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Paul Warwick
Nicole Jackson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Charm of the Dragon: exploring China’s relationship with Africa and its implications for resource security, soft power and development

Date created: 
2011-12-14
Abstract: 

This paper explores the relationship between China and Africa within the context of China’s resource security endeavours. It focuses on Chinese investment and soft power in Africa, and how they connect with African development. Is China in Africa to build mutually-beneficial relationships or to extract resources? Connected to this, are China’s soft power initiatives contributing to African development, or are they merely incentives for African states to do business with China? By examining Chinese soft power, the motivations and actions of both Chinese and African players, the author concludes that Africa is benefiting from Chinese investment, though to what extent varies based on the country. Conversely, the author finds little evidence that China’s soft power initiatives are supporting country development. Finally, the Sudan and Zambia case studies illustrate how Africans are far from passive actors, as external and internal pressures are slowly changing how China does business in Africa.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Determining the vulnerability of women to the effects of climate change: A study on the economic, social, and political implications of climate change on the women of three rural communities in the Valles Cruceños region of Bolivia

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-12-14
Abstract: 

The few climate change studies that have been done in the Valles Cruceños region of Bolivia have mainly focused on investigations of climate change impacts on the natural system. Adaptation and mitigation measures, therefore, addressed only the biophysical vulnerability of the system. This preliminary research on three rural communities in the Valles Cruceños region explores the social construction of women‘s vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Formal and informal institutions determine and distribute entitlements, and a system‘s level of vulnerability or its capacity to cope with external stressors is defined by its ability to access these entitlements. Although all community members are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, women in particular, have specific roles and responsibilities in the household and community levels that disproportionately affect their resilience to shocks and stresses. I argue that the vulnerability of women to the effects of climate change in the Valles Cruceños region of Bolivia can be attributed to the absence of support from formal institutions and the presence of constraints from informal institutions.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Michael C. Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Essays on international development: Natural resources and development: Past, present, and future -and- What makes cooperatives work? Social dynamics and international development

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-12-16
Abstract: 

Essay 1) What role do natural resources play in development? In the past, societies were dependent on their immediate natural environments for survival. As industrialization and globalization took hold, however, resources became more than just a means of subsistence. In today’s world, resources are both mobile and valuable, which can have positive and negative impacts on development. Looking to the future, the potential for resource scarcity to have a significant impact on international development cannot be overlooked. Potential approaches to managing resource scarcity and intergenerational equity must therefore be considered. Essay 2) Cooperatives should be autonomous and independent from external interference. However, in the context of international development, would-be cooperators often lack the necessary skills and resources required to establish and operate successful cooperative businesses. This essay explores this paradox by outlining the social dynamics at play in cooperatives and suggesting how international institutions and governments can aid the formation of cooperatives while still maintaining the most important aspects of spontaneous cooperation.

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

The impact of civil war on gender roles: A Somaliland case study

Date created: 
2011-12-14
Abstract: 

This MA Project advances an explanation for the evolving relationships between Somaliland men and women following the civil war in 1991 and the subsequent peace-building process. Drawing from 28 interviews and one month of field research , it develops a case study of the gender roles in Sheikh, Somaliland. In this project I detail my qualitative ethnographic research exploring the roles of men and women in a village in the Somali highlands. I will argue that, while civil war has resulted in a movement towards relative gender equality, it has also forced women out of necessity to adopt duties that were traditionally considered ‘men’s work’ while still maintaining their own responsibilities. As long as the latter continues, I suggest there will be stagnation in the development of Somaliland. This paper begins with a discussion of the pre-war social structure governing men and women. The analysis will then discuss past and current gender roles in Somaliland. Using these two time frames I will show how the Somali Civil War has shaped the status quo and permanently altered the fabric of Somali culture.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeffrey Checkel
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

The role of host countries in diaspora-driven development: Canadian policy and practice

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-12-06
Abstract: 

Current research on diaspora and development has two major gaps: 1) inquiry focuses primarily on the potential of remittances and investment and overlooks the broader impacts of diaspora-driven development; and 2) the diaspora-development nexus is often considered a dyadic relationship of diaspora and their ‘home’ countries and overlooks the role of developed ‘host’ nations. Diaspora-driven development occurs when transnational networks forged between their ‘host’ society and ‘home’ country/place of attachment, facilitate economic, knowledge, social, and political interchange. Becoming diasporic means acquiring the agency (the awareness, commitment, and attachments to a wider community) to engage in development beyond the maintenance of familial ties and transmission of remittances. This agency requires attainment of a certain level of settlement, success, and fluency (in education, employment, integration, etc) in the host society. Various aspects of Canadian policy in regard to diasporic potential to positively impact both home and host countries are discussed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
James Busumtwi-Sam
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Of no consequence: the ICC, criminal deterrence and the reality of sexualized violence in the DRC

Date created: 
2011-04-26
Abstract: 

In addition to its retributive and restorative functions, by its mere existence the International Criminal Court is slated to play a deterrence role never before seen in international criminal law. However, unabated sexualized violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo evidences limits of the permanent ICC’s deterrent capacity. Despite the ICC’s investigation, and indictments and proceedings against Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo for sexually violent war crimes and crimes against humanity, the nascent court is yet unable to elicit preventive effects. While deterrence theory is logically compelling, mechanisms and assumptions underlying it prove impractical when deterrence is assessed in reality. First, the ICC cannot execute certain, severe or swift enough punishment to generally deter. Second, deterrence theory’s assumption that perpetrators are rational actors engaged in utilitarian calculations of legal risk is dispelled by an analysis of Congolese perpetrators’ accounts. Evidently, prosecutions alone will not end sexualized violence in the DRC.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Tamir Moustafa
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan alliance: assessing the potential of a Persian-speaking association

Author: 
Date created: 
2010-12-15
Abstract: 

Iran has suggested the formation of a Persian-speaking Association in collaboration with Afghanistan and Tajikistan, a collaboration that focuses on facilitating trilateral trade. Using the gravity model of trade, the author confirms that creating this regional trade association would potentially result in considerable increase in trade among these states. This study further evaluates Iran’s use of the Persian identity, language and culture to unite itself with Tajikistan and Afghanistan, in order to position itself as a contender for regional superpower status. Iran’s motives for creating the Association are as follows: increasing its influence in Tajikistan and Afghanistan; acting as a counter-balance to TÜRKSOY and the League of Arab States; preventing the increasing dominance of Russia in Tajikistan; alleviating the consequences of the American and NATO presence in Afghanistan; increasing trade; and finding new economic partners in the wake of the external sanctions due to its nuclear plans.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stephen T. Easton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Design and impacts: a review of the contemporary research on household mobility in India's rural agrarian economy

Date created: 
2010-08-27
Abstract: 

Study of social and economic mobility at the household level is a vital area of research. Relatively little has been done in this realm as it relates to India’s agrarian economy. This paper seeks to examine those studies of household social mobility that have been carried out since the time of the first introduction of green revolution technologies in India. The merits and limitations of the design and methodology of these studies are considered. The insights their findings impart are synthesized in the context of the agricultural and rural development history of India, and ultimately, taken up in a discussion of dynamics of agrarian change. The final conclusions of this research are that large-scale inequalities in India’s economy persist; although India’s particular development trajectory is ultimately uncertain, our understanding of it can be strongly augmented by comprehensive research at the village level.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Harriss
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

The evolution of microfinance in Bolivia: a commercialized industry

Date created: 
2010-08-21
Abstract: 

As the microfinance industry has grown into a worldwide development, many different strategies and lending technologies have surfaced. With a focus on sustainable and profitable operations, the commercialization trend has taken over much of Latin America. This paper examines the impacts of, and the motivations and methods behind the commercialization process by exploring the highly commercialized microfinance industry in Bolivia. The Bolivian case study demonstrates how the commercialization of the microfinance industry in that country has expanded outreach, increased efficiency and created a competitive industry that integrates the informal population into the formal banking system. With strong institutions and a solid regulatory framework, financial sector development is the primary benefit of a commercialized industry. Although poverty alleviation is not the principal objective of the Bolivian microfinance sector, the numerous positive aspects of the country‟s model should be given merit.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alvaro Pereira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School for International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.