Sociology and Anthropology - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

Beyond food as fuel: Women athletes’ relationship to food, sporting cultures, and body ideals

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-10-12
Supervisor(s): 
Travers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This thesis examines women athletes’ relationship to food through a critical feminist lens to reveal how the ideal athletic female body is constructed at the intersection of race, class, and sexuality. Although body ideals vary across sporting cultures, idealized bodies are generally unattainable, with their pursuit emphasizing individual effort, dietary discipline, and bodily control. Interviews with nine women athletes from a variety of sports and two coaches of women’s teams at a NCAA Division II university provide the data for the thesis which centres the voices of athletes in the conversation about disordered eating and women’s health in sport. An emphasis on food as “fuel” for the body, a focus on eating for health, and the resonant silences around disordered eating in the interviews demonstrate that food and nutrition become instruments for controlling the (unruly) athletic body. At the same time, women athletes’ counter-narratives of agency demonstrate their resistance to hegemonic bodily control in sport.

Document type: 
Thesis

“Hungry all the time”: Contemporary experiences of and perspectives on traditional food access in Inuvik, NWT

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-11-27
Supervisor(s): 
Pamela Stern
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This study seeks to understand traditional food sharing and selling networks in Inuvik, NWT amidst dramatic societal change and growing food (in)security concerns. Country (traditional) foods continue to have roles that are foundational to a sense of individual and community well-being for the local Indigenous peoples, many of whom describe feeling “hungry all the time” when they are unable to consume it. I argue that the high degree of transience and employment in wage labour, weakened social connections, limited buying options, and exclusive country food sharing arrangements have contributed to the large variability in access to this valued foodstuff. While some groups such as Elders and single-parents are prioritised for traditional food sharing, professional adults without the skills or time to hunt may experience what I refer to as ‘country food insecurity’. This study also explores perspectives on the commercialisation of country foods, one proposed solution to the issue of access.

Document type: 
Thesis

"Nisa Homes" interpersonal and structural violence against displaced Muslim women

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-12-10
Supervisor(s): 
Parin Dossa
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the experiences of diverse Muslim women and what it means to resist marginality every day. One-on-one interviews with women who stayed at a Muslim shelter also reveal experiences of gendered Islamophobia as marginalized visible Muslims. Drawing from the everyday analytic, we can see women’s resourcefulness and resistance to interpersonal and structural violence. In this study, I centre the voices of participants resisting oppression against them as racialized and poor Muslim women. Participants understand their suffering is a direct outcome of the systems that economically, politically, and socially isolate to marginalize them. Women also describe the solidarity and self-healing in sharing their experiences with other shelter stayers. The themes developed in this work show the intersections and multifaceted violence faced by women fighting for asylum, seeking refuge, and struggling for safety.

Document type: 
Thesis

Testing the limits of geographical indications: The curious case of baklava

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-07-21
Supervisor(s): 
Yildiz Atasoy
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

Baklava is a famous, culturally significant and rather contentious dessert. In Turkey, Antep Baklava/Gaziantep Baklava, from Gaziantep, was granted national and international Geographical Indication (GI) designations. GIs, protected by national regulations and international agreements, require considerable involvement from state institutions for establishment and maintenance and are designed to protect farmers and other food producers from inequalities created by the current food regime. The decline of state institutions has been considered as a significant characteristic of the current food regime and scholars of food regime theory primarily focus on social movements when analyzing opportunities to resist the inequalities within the food system. I argue that GIs are valuable tools of resistance and should be included in the analyses that utilize food regime theory. Thanks to its GI designations, baklava has a realistic chance to withstand the challenges present within this food regime and retain its specific qualities for years to come.

Document type: 
Thesis

Knowing the land as home and alive: Re-centering Snuneymuxw’s relationship to Saysutshun in co-management

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-07-15
Supervisor(s): 
Pamela Stern
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

The overall goal of this thesis is to center ways Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN) have known how to live collaboratively and collectively with their territory since time immemorial. This project looks specifically at the co-management of Saysutshun (Newcastle Island Provincial Marine Park) between SFN, BC Parks, and the City of Nanaimo. Co-management has been a strategy used by Indigenous peoples, including Snuneymuxw, to disrupt the power of the colonial state and reclaim aspects of self-determination. However, co-management structures often become another way the state maintains control over land and decision-making. Based in Indigenous methodologies described by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, anthropological policy and document analysis, and interviews Snuneymuxw, this thesis finds that there is a need to move beyond colonially-centered co-management and to re-centre Indigenous processes and institutions.

Document type: 
Thesis

Matters of the womb: Muslim women's narratives of fertility, family, and the Indian State

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-12-23
Supervisor(s): 
Stacy Leigh Pigg
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

India’s population control policy has long narrowly focused on curtailing reproduction, even after it was rebranded in the late 1990s as family planning. It continues to prioritize a target-oriented approach limiting birth rates instead of promoting the well-being of families. In particular, deep-seated class prejudices against the low-income Muslim community have led to academic debates and policy interventions to curtail what is considered to be the high fertility rate of Muslims across the nation. Against this backdrop, my dissertation examines the ways that low-income Muslim women imagine, embody, and negotiate family planning in the context of their everyday lives. Drawing on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Delhi, I explore how women limit fertility and build families. Their narratives provide a critique of the neoliberal framework of choice that celebrates freedom, autonomy, and individual rights in the pursuit of reproductive goals. In contrast, women’s decision making reveals how reproductive choice is embedded within the context of social, familial, and kinship relations, gendered dynamics inside and outside the household, neighborhood and migration histories, and state-imposed programs. Through a feminist analysis, I foreground the relational and contextual aspects of family building practices. I argue that women challenge the state’s classed, gendered, and prejudiced discourses through their pragmatic family building rationales, which they commonly refer to as samajhdari ki yojana, or wise planning, especially within the context of scarce resources and infrastructural constraints. Women cultivate an ethos of judiciousness and responsibility; they understand their own physiological and mental health to be intrinsically connected to the well-being of their families. Thus, women navigate state and familial institutions while negotiating the use of both invasive and non-invasive contraceptive technologies such as sterilization, intrauterine devices, and oral pills. In this regard, I illustrate how their willingness to use IUDs is intertwined with their hopes for the safe delivery and immunization of their infants; how familial, medical, and social anxieties compel them to seek different contraceptive pathways to avoid failures and side effects; and how contingent circumstances and relations with community health volunteers motivate them to adopt or evade sterilization. This dissertation contributes to an understanding of women’s challenges and contradictory and ambivalent negotiations with care arrangements within both familial and institutional settings. It also contributes to an understanding of how social ties and the dynamics of neighborhood building shape the parameters of intergenerational family building.

Document type: 
Thesis

In Lulije's shoes: Doing gender and family in rural Kosovo

File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-04-21
Supervisor(s): 
Pamela Stern
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

My thesis describes the practices associated with being a rural Kosovo nuse, an Albanian word referring to both brides and young married women. These practices, which Kosovo people regard as prescribed by tradition, include but are not limited to wearing distinctive outfits and jewelry and performing specific tasks such as serving refreshments to in-laws and visitors. I frame these practices as doing gender and family and explore how they facilitate the creation and maintenance of affinal relationships in the context of the still widespread patrilocality of rural Kosovo. I pay special attention to the rich material culture, which accompanies nuse performances, and briefly engage with their embodied nature. A fictional account is woven into the text with the aim to bring closer the complexity and minutiae of the wedding rituals and the patrilocal life afterwards.

Document type: 
Thesis

Vintage (of) identities: Creation of immigrant identity in the third-generation immigrants from Gorno Vranovci to Izmir

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-05-13
Supervisor(s): 
Pamela Stern
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the identity building within the third-generation members of an immigrant community in Turkey, a group whose grandparents immigrated from the former Yugoslavia to Turkey following the Free Migrant Agreement of 1953. The focus community immigrated to Turkey without knowing the language; however, they lost their mother tongue, a dialect of Macedonian, within two generations and blended into the wider Turkish society. Nevertheless, the discourse of being immigrants is still prevalent even in the third generation. The existing literature on this topic concentrates on the reasons for Balkan immigration to Turkey and its effects on the lives of first-generation immigrants. Little is known about the impact of immigration on subsequent generations. With the analysis of the data I have collected through field research including in-depth interviews and participant observation; I have come to the conclusion that three main factors were visible on the narratives of immigrant identity younger generations have; the political environment during the time of immigration, exclusion, and discrimination that the first-generation faced when they immigrated to Turkey, and the current political atmosphere in Turkey.

Document type: 
Thesis

Changing voices: A study of transfeminine vocality

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-04-22
Supervisor(s): 
Travers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
Abstract: 

This thesis examines how the voices of trans women are produced and experienced. I explore the various social forces that affect the production of voice, how voice affects trans women’s ability to move through the world, and the steps that many trans women take to change their voices. I also examine how some trans women feel about their voices, the social systems that influence those feelings, and how that in turn affects the ways in which they speak. I argue that the social nature of voice and vocal practice can advance an understanding of trans body modification that is less concerned with medical intervention or the choices of individual trans women to pursue or reject normative standards. To do this, I use voice as an example of an adaptive and dynamic process that has high stakes for trans women and is always inseparable from its social context.

Document type: 
Thesis

Technologies of the natural: ‘Male enhancement’, gender confirmation surgery, and the ‘monster cock’

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-12-04
Supervisor(s): 
Travers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.
Abstract: 

Responding to Susan Stryker’s (2006) call to identify the “seams and sutures” of the ‘natural body’, this dissertation analyzes the social incarnation of the ‘natural male body’ through ‘male enhancement’ discourse in Canada and the United States (247). As one of the few sociological investigations into the medical practice of male enhancement, this research reorients our analytical gaze away from the somatic transformations of historically-oppressed people’s sexed bodies, towards bringing the male body, cis masculinity, and whiteness into the spotlight of critique. This investigation is grounded in fifty hours of online observations of a male enhancement forum for cis men interested in augmenting their genitals; and twenty in-depth, qualitative interviews with medical practitioners who specialize in male enhancement procedures. Drawing on the theoretical and analytical tradition of somatechnics, I juxtapose bodies and somatic transformations in relation to each other to reveal the underlying assumptions, justifications, and prohibitions for particular forms of bodily being. I first compare how male enhancement for cis men and gender confirming genital procedures for trans people are discursively produced in contrasting ways, despite how both sets of these procedures use overlapping medical knowledges to intervene on genitals, aiming to produce similar aesthetic results and to reduce patient suffering. Yet male enhancement is discursively framed as ‘restorative’ or ‘augmentative’ of the natural male body, whereas gender confirmation surgeries are rendered ‘constructive’ of an unnatural body. In the second half of my analysis, I demonstrate how male enhancements that result in ‘monster cocks’, by definition, make penetrative sexual practices impossible or cause sexual partners pain, thereby creating a tension between sexual practices that male the body, and dominance practices that accomplish masculinity. Reading the monster cock in relation to discourses about the ‘female reproductive body’, dyspareunia, and racialized bodies, I trace how male enhancement discourse works to shore up the contours of whiteness, cis masculinity, and the male body. This project aims to disrupt the naturalized white male body against which all others are measured, and attempts to make an intervention into how bodies come to matter.

Document type: 
Thesis