Political Science - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Millennials and the military: The emerging civil-military gap

Date created: 
2018-04-23
Abstract: 

The focus of this project is to understand the impact of the Millennial generational persona on the future of defence policy in Canada. Using focus groups and survey data, this project examines the perspectives that Millennial students have about defence issues and military organizations such as the CAF and NATO. Through this examination, it appears that Millennials are distinct from older generations on many defence issues including their evaluation and awareness of the CAF and NATO and how they understand and prioritize threats. Due to this, it is likely that the civil-military gap between civil and military society will grow as Millennials become more influential in society. Additionally, this project examines the relationship between interaction and awareness with the CAF and NATO and Millennial evaluation of these organizations. The findings suggest that interaction with the CAF and NATO has a strong impact on evaluation and awareness of military organizations.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alex Moens
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.

Using publicity to get medicine: How political participation can alter world trade policy and secure medicines for the global poor

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-18
Abstract: 

Despite HIV becoming a manageable illness due to advancements in pharmaceuticals, over a million people still die every year due to AIDS – most of them poor, in the global South, who cannot afford to pay for treatment. What might allow them to secure medicines? My study of changes in trade policy shows that agreements originally designed to favour pharmaceutical companies can be implemented in ways that lead to increases in access to medicines for the global poor. I argue that domestic and international activism creates global public pressure, and is the key to altering the trajectory of trade policy implementation. Because access to affordable medicines for the global poor is more likely to occur when trade policies face public scrutiny, I call for transparent and accessible trade negotiations and enforcement in the WTO. In essence, I call for a democratization of the international trade regime.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Laycock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Emissions Trading vs. Carbon Taxes: What Gets Us Closer to a Zero Emissions Future? Lessons from European Implementations

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-19
Abstract: 

In 2017, following the Paris Agreement, the current federal government changed Canada’s stance on climate change policy by requiring provinces to implement their own carbon pricing mechanisms by 2018. The provinces are to choose between Carbon Taxes and Emissions Trading Systems. I ask which produces the best results for provinces who have not yet implemented pricing. Using Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Spain, along with the European Union Emissions Trading System I assess the results these mechanisms have produced over an extended period of time. I find that emission reductions across jurisdictions are inconsistent but provide policy lessons for Canada, both federally and provincially. I also find that federalism in Canada provides its own toughest challenges when it comes to the implementation of consistent policies. As global pressure intensifies on carbon mitigation and emissions reduction, I find three types of costs for the federal government’s consideration to reduce its carbon footprint.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Andrew Heard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Discerning Claim Making: Political Representation of Indo-Canadians by Canadian Political Parties

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-21
Abstract: 

The targeting of people of colour by political parties during election campaigns is often described in the media as “wooing” or “courting.” How parties engage or “woo” non-whites is not fully understood. Theories on representation provide a framework for the systematic analysis of the types of representation claims made by political actors. I expand on the political proximity approach—which suggests that public office seekers make more substantive than symbolic claims to their partisans than to non-aligned voters—by arguing that Canadian political parties view mainstream voters as their typical constituents and visible minorities, such as Indo-Canadians, as peripheral constituents. Consequently, campaign messages targeted at mainstream voters include more substantive claims than messages targeted at non-white voters. I conduct a content analysis of political advertisements placed during the 2004–2015 general election campaigns in Punjabi and mainstream Canadian newspapers. The analysis shows that political parties make more symbolic than substantive claims in both categories of newspapers; however, Punjabi newspapers contain slightly more symbolic claims than the mainstream ones. The Liberals and NDP make more substantive claims in Punjabi newspapers than the Conservatives.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Eline de Rooij
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Arms Control on the Eve of Destruction? The Prospects for an Arctic Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone in an Age of Counterforce Dominance

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-19
Abstract: 

Within the context of the U.S.-Russian nuclear competition, this dissertation investigates the feasibility of cooperation on an Arctic Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone. The strategic dimension has been largely neglected in assessing the potential for establishing an arms control regime in a region of such geo-strategic importance. In the tradition of offence-defence theory, this work stems from the assumption that conditions defined by a reduction in threatening strategic behaviour must be established between the two Arctic nuclear powers before such an initiative can move forward in the form of cooperation. This work proposes a refined Offence-Defence Balance model to assess the intensity of the strategic competition between two nuclear states under conditions dominated by Deterrence by Denial versus Deterrence by Punishment nuclear strategies. Qualitative indicators of sea, air, and land-based delivery platforms for nuclear forces oriented towards the offense or defence, including plans for nuclear modernization, ballistic missile defence, and conventional counterforce alternatives, assessed in conjunction with offensive or defensive nuclear postures determine whether nuclear states are likely to engage in cooperative initiatives towards arms control or competition and arms races. The assessment demonstrates that efforts by the U.S. to achieve nuclear superiority through counterforce dominance have resulted in actions by its principal nuclear competitor to pursue nuclear postures and delivery technologies that offset the U.S. nuclear advantage. Such conditions intensify the strategic competition, creating a nuclear security dilemma, which generates new arms races, and challenge the future of arms control treaties such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and militate against cooperation on new arms control initiatives such as an Arctic Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Doug Ross
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Islamophobia: A Comparative, Multilevel Analysis of Western Europe

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-05-22
Abstract: 

This study examines the ways in which state policies recognize, accommodate and legitimize immigrant cultures, and analyzes the extent to which state accommodation leads to acceptance and tolerance toward immigrants. The study brings together social psychological and institutionalist perspectives, and argues that state recognition and accommodation of immigrant cultures normalize new practices and traditions by making them a part of the country's cultural landscape. This state-led process blurs group lines, and reduces the likelihood of prejudice against immigrants. In contrast, when a state ignores or actively excludes an immigrant culture, it frames those associated with it as outsiders or lesser-citizens, and makes tolerance toward them less likely. To test that hypothesis, the study focuses on the Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, since their case involves a salient (real or perceived) cultural distance to the host societies. The study employs a mixed-methods research. It first examines the Belgian, British and German cases, and traces the process from state accommodation to tolerance with a special focus on the legitimization of cultural elements by state recognition. Then, it conducts a systematic analysis that covers nineteen countries in Western Europe. Individual-level data for the analysis come from the fourth wave of the European Values Study. On the country-level, the study builds what it calls the Accommodation of Islam (AOI) index to measure the extent to which Western European countries accommodate Islam in a variety of realms. Then, it specifies a multilevel regression model that controls for all major alternative explanations. On the individual level, the findings reveal multiple dimensions of religiosity that have divergent influences on anti-Muslim prejudice. On the country level, they indicate that the individuals in countries that do not accommodate Islam are more likely to be prejudiced against Muslims.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Laurent Dobuzinskis
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

A comparative study of authoritarianism, perceived threat of terrorism, and anti-immigrant attitudes

Date created: 
2017-08-16
Abstract: 

Given the recent electoral success of populist political actors who promote anti-immigrant platforms and rhetoric based on the fear of terrorism, this study examines to what extent the threat of terrorism affects how individuals view immigrants. Existing research suggests that large-scale threats to national security, such as terrorism, can mobilize widespread support beyond the far-right for punitive or discriminatory policies toward groups or individuals associated with the threat. Literature on perceptions of threat suggest that an individual’s sensitivity and responsiveness to threat is based on cognitive traits that determine how one handles uncertainty and societal change. These cognitive traits are referred to as an individual’s level of authoritarianism. Using data from the World Values Survey, I find that individuals with higher levels of authoritarianism are more sensitive to the perceived threat of terrorism in Germany, Poland, and the US, while the reverse is possible in the Netherlands.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Steve Weldon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Streams of Oil and Barrels of Conflict: An MSF Analysis of Canadian Energy Policy since the Failure of the National Energy Program

Author: 
Abstract: 

Canadian policy on environmental protectionism has shifted under the Trudeau government, in line with signing onto the Paris Climate, breaking with the previous governments’ passivity towards climate change. However, the new Government’s stance appears muddled. Though Transmountain expansion was approved, Northern Gateway Pipeline was rejected. This policy change shows that the Trudeau government aims for a more environmental-economic balanced approach. I ask how this shift happened? I analyse Canadian energy policy from 1980-2015 using Kingdon’s multiple streams framework to demonstrate why previous governments have prioritised economic growth over environmental protectionism since the failure of the National Energy Program. There are two competing dialogues in Canadian energy policy: neoliberalism and securitisation. During the time-period analysed, neoliberalism has won over securitisation because economic growth was prioritised by stakeholders. As the effects of anthropogenic climate disruption becomes more concrete and irrefutable, new stakeholders have found their voice in the energy policy debate.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

Modeling Canadian Federal Electoral Reforms

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-04-10
Abstract: 

This research project is focused on developing an exploratory model that can help explain the factors that affect the political desire for electoral reform. The model, premised on institutional and rational actor theories, develops a set of “endogenous” and “exogenous” factors that allow for evaluation of electoral reform discourse. While some attention is paid to the major reforms that the electoral system has undergone since Confederation, detailed analysis is reserved to the post-1980 period. Data was collected from party manifestos and Speeches from the Throne. Because the federal government has not made any structural changes to its electoral system, provincial and international electoral reforms are considered for the potential influence by “contagion”. Institutional barriers to reform are also factored into the model. Lastly, the model introduces the element of developing web-based technologies such as social media that are changing how the electorate is exerting its influence on the federal parties. From 1980 to 2015, what factors and influences, both endogenous and exogenous to Canada’s national political framework, have affected parliamentary debates on electoral reform?

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
David Laycock
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.

The Neoliberal Biopolitics of Climate Security: Resilience and the European Union’s Securitization of Climate Change

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-12-22
Abstract: 

Contemporary understandings of resilience were initially developed in the discipline of ecology to theorize ecosystems’ capacities to absorb, adapt, and transform in the face of shocks and stresses. Since then, the concept of resilience has informed a versatile and highly mobile set of guiding principles that have migrated to numerous policy fields. In recent years, it has also been a partial yet increasingly powerful prism through which climate change has been constructed as a security threat. In this regard, some populations, mainly residing in the Global South, are deemed insufficiently resilient to the effects of climate change, thereby generating risks of societal disruption, state failure, and population displacement that may adversely affect the Global North. The critical resilience literature has argued that the rise of resilience-thinking is predicated on its intuitive resonance with a neoliberal injunction to be self-reliant. An examination of European Union (EU) institutions’ and agencies’ climate security discourse and practices corroborates this claim, while also generating novel insights into neoliberalism’s contemporary role in the social construction of threats. However, it also reveals the role of antecedent security discourses and practices – in particular human security, risk management, and the security-development nexus – in structuring climate threat discourse. Drawing from the Paris School of Security Studies and from Foucauldian writings on biopolitics, this project argues that the entanglement of resilience and climate security in EU discourse is a function of both antecedent biopolitical security practices, and distinctly neoliberal sensibilities. The EU’s securitization of climate change, in effect, transfers responsibility for managing the effects of climate change away from societies chiefly responsible for it, and onto people most burdened by it.

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