Latin American Studies - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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China "Going Out" to Ecuador: Barriers of Communication

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-04-13
Abstract: 

Encouraged by the Chinese government’s “Going out” strategy. Chinese investment in Latin America has increased significantly over the past decade. In parallel, tensions between Chinese enterprises and the local communities in which they operate have also risen significantly. This study examines how two Chinese companies operating in Ecuador, interact, communicate and manage relationships between their Chinese employees and managers and their Ecuadorian counterparts and community groups. Both companies have experienced great difficulty in intercultural communication due to inherent differences such as language, habits and customs, social norm and value divergences, along with a sense of pride gained from an ethnocentric view of those differences. Moreover, heightened concerns revolving security, protection of state secrets, policies that do not encourage Chinese spouses and families to join employees have also contributed. Despite their shared culture, these two companies exhibit different intercultural communication approaches that stem largely from their differing economic and structural realities.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alexander Dawson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Managing stakeholder ambiguity in the international mining sector: the case of Goldcorp Inc. in Guatemala

Date created: 
2015-04-13
Abstract: 

Canadian mining companies operating in the developing world face a complex business environment where substantial stakeholder ambiguity must be managed. Stakeholder ambiguity occurs when stakeholders interpret company actions or information they receive in different ways depending on their individual goals, demands, and opinions. Through interviews with company managers and leaders of civil-society organizations, this study endeavours to determine how Canadian-based senior mining company Goldcorp Inc. manages the stakeholder ambiguity it faces at its Marlin mine in Guatemala. The study finds that several aspects of this business environment contribute to stakeholder ambiguity, including poorly functioning governments and a large presence of anti-mining NGOs. The case study examines three examples of institutional strategy undertaken by Goldcorp. Institutional strategy involves working to transform institutional standards to establish a strategically favourable set of conditions. Findings suggest these initiatives are well designed and have been effective, but structural barriers prevent them from reaching their potential.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jeremy Hall
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Sustainable Marketing for Aquaculture in Veracruz, Mexico: Vulnerabilities Assessment.

Date created: 
2015-08-12
Abstract: 

Employing interviews and participant observations during 2013, the present study examines three fish farms in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. The study’s aims were to ascertain how the farms’ stakeholders describe the socioeconomic and environmental vulnerabilities related to their operations and how, and to what extent, notions of sustainable marketing could contribute to mitigating such vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities varied depending on farm size. The smallest farm exhibited the greatest vulnerability to financial and environmental risks due to a Federal decree prohibiting the usage of the river's water that it employs to operate. The medium size farm is exposed to social risks resulting from protests that prevented consumers from reaching the farm. The large farm demonstrated fewer vulnerabilities attributed to a governmental "macro-investment" in 2009. The results should assist aquaculture owners/managers, governments and other stakeholders in making informed decisions to ensure the sustainability of aqua farming in Veracruz Mexico and beyond.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
June Francis
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Child Sponsorship: The Approaches Adopted by Two NGOs in Response to Child Poverty in Guatemala

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014-12-10
Abstract: 

Child poverty is one of the fundamental issues currently confronting Guatemalan society. This study examines the efforts of two international NGOs to address child poverty in this country. Compassion Guatemala is a faith-based evangelical NGO which enables foreign donors to sponsor individual Guatemalan children by funding the costs of support services in areas of the child’s educational, health and spiritual development, from pre-school years through to secondary school completion and beyond. Conversely, Plan Guatemala is an agency with no religious affiliation which has adopted the rationale that a greater positive impact on child poverty can be achieved through the implementation of community development projects which target health, sanitation, food security, education and civic participation. The strategies adopted by these two NGOs raise the question: is child sponsorship an effective response to child poverty in Guatemala?

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alexander Dawson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

"I Want to Keep Fighting for my Education": Stories of Temporary Dropout in Urban Honduras

Date created: 
2013-08-14
Abstract: 

Only about one-fourth of Honduran youth graduate from high school, a very low number even as compared to the regional average in Latin America (about 50%). Research on high school dropout typically focuses on the moment of dropout, framing this decision as a permanent withdrawal from schooling. However, this thesis demonstrates how dominant constructs for understanding dropout fall short of accounting for the lived experiences of many young people in Honduras. By analyzing ten students' experiences of "temporary dropout," this thesis explores the phenomenon in which working-class students drop out and return to school during adolescence, in response to factors of structural violence in Honduras. Ideologies for life success and social mobility, which students use to contextualize their experiences, are also discussed. Through an analysis of students' narratives, I illustrate how understanding temporary dropout is essential in order to improve educational outcomes in Honduras.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Nicole Berry
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Examining the impacts of Progresa-Oportunidades on poverty and inequality: A case study in Las Margaritas, Chiapas, Mexico

Date created: 
2014-04-24
Abstract: 

In a short period of time, Conditional Cash Transfer programs (CCTs) have expanded throughout Latin America and beyond, becoming one of the main approaches to combat poverty at the global level. Among the pioneers of these types of programs is Progresa-Oportunidades, which was implemented to invest in the human capital of the rural poor with the goal of enhancing their productivity, thereby, helping to insert them into more profitable labour markets. The central argument of this research is that Progresa-Oportunidades is not only limited in its ability to reduce poverty, but is also contributing to increasing regional and intraregional inequality. In addition, the program has become a contributing factor to the worsening of labour conditions in Mexico. I argue that Progresa-Oportunidades has been an integral component of Mexico’s neoliberal development strategy, aiming to relocate subsistence farmers while providing cheap labour to other sectors of the economy. However, the failure of neoliberal policies to produce sustained economic growth and jobs, particularly in those rural areas where the program operates, has resulted in rural out-migration to urban and semi-urban areas. The result of this out-migration is that the human capital and productivity gains, as well as a portion of the cash transfers themselves, are transferred from the country’s poor rural areas to more dynamic urban centers. A case study is provided to illustrate the program’s impact on poverty and inequality in the rural and very poor municipality of Las Margaritas, Chiapas.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gerardo Otero
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Pineapple, Palm, and Peons: Non-Traditional Agricultural Exports and Labour in Self-Managed Agricultural Production Cooperatives in Costa Rica

Date created: 
2014-04-07
Abstract: 

A self-managed cooperative is conceptually defined as an organization owned and managed by workers. This mode of production assumes an urgent relevance in light of ongoing challenges posed by global neoliberal capitalism. This study endeavours to historicize the shift towards non-traditional agricultural exports (NTAEs) in the operations of self-managed agricultural production cooperatives in Costa Rica; explore the social relations of production apparent in two case studies; and situate the reorientation of cooperative agriculture and transformation of cooperative labour within the context of global neoliberal capitalism. Through an ethnographic investigation of two self-managed agricultural production cooperatives, this investigation seeks to link daily realities to prevailing socioeconomic structures. Findings suggest that self-managed agricultural production cooperatives in Costa Rica have assimilated the NTAE imperative of the state and capital and have concurrently intensified the employment of hired workers from outside cooperative membership in apparent conflict with the tenet of worker self-management.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Hannah Wittman
Alexander Dawson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Participatory agency: Redefining development processes in CED initiatives on the Bolivian altiplano

Date created: 
2013-06-11
Abstract: 

This thesis examines participation in two Community Economic Development projects in rural Bolivia. Community-based projects enable communities to improve their livelihoods in a locally defined manner, especially via exerting control over projects from planning and implementation through to maintenance. The national decentralization process, begun in the 1990s and greatly expanded by the Morales administration, has given indigenous communities increasing funding and political autonomy. However, participatory agency for CED projects depends not only on larger-scale factors such as political/fiscal decentralization and relations with NGOs, but also crucially on local/community dynamics arising from traditional inter-personal relations and social structures, as well as community-municipal institutions. Such factors profoundly influence the ability of project participants to define their development goals, and organize and control projects appropriate to their needs, wishes and conditions.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Brohman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Reconciliation in post-transitional Uruguay? A critical look at transitional justice and justice cascade

Date created: 
2013-08-22
Abstract: 

A key controversial issue in Uruguay has been the nation’s inability to achieve a lasting reconciliation regarding human rights violations after a twelve year dictatorship. While other scholars have identified factors that caused the resurgence of the demand for human rights prosecutions, I focus on the nation’s eventual failure to do so. This, I argue, is a result of the executive, the civil society and the politicization of human rights violations. I offer a critical reading on transitional justice and the justice cascade as explanatory frameworks to understand how societies confront their authoritarian past. Although these concepts both seem relevant, they are inadequate in the Uruguayan context. The project was undertaken using a historical research methodology focusing on archival research. I conclude that Uruguay has not experienced a unique water-shed moment because the military has never been fully discredited. This has hindered the process to reach an enduring reconciliation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alexander Dawson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: International Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Argentine wine industry: creating new spaces for coordination?

Date created: 
2013-02-14
Abstract: 

The purpose of this study is to understand the effects of public policies and institutional support in the development of the wine industry of Argentina. It is concerned principally with understanding how interaction and coordination among actors within this sector aids the developments of this industry. It relies upon the Triple Helix approach of university /research-industry-government interaction to compare and examine the institutional arrangements in the wine industry of three Argentine provinces and at the national level. It finds that this approach is useful for understanding the institutional foundation for innovation, knowledge diffusion, and economic success; however, it struggles to explain how different actors make sense of coordination and how the latter is achieved. This study demonstrates that it is necessary to first build a sense of collaboration and coordination among the relevant institutional spheres to reproduce a Triple Helix framework in practise.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Latin American Development Studies
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.