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

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Women, methadone, and the politics of supervised exclusion

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-03-27
Abstract: 

This study examines women’s participation in methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) in British Columbia, Canada and concerns the intersections of addiction trajectories, clientization, and social exclusion. Drawing on life stories, physician interviews, and analysis of MMT (documentary) texts, the study explores how women experience MMT and other services in their efforts to improve life chances and social circumstances. Clientization in this case hinges on complex meanings of the body and care and can involve contestation of knowledge at various service sites. Five women’s life stories, told from the vantage point of their mid-adult years, confront the normative progress story that MMT involvement suggests and illustrate how participants actively navigated program demands and service relationships, as well as challenged moralizing and individualizing notions of the woman MMT client. Physician perspectives and MMT texts show narrow understandings of the woman methadone client and reveal the glaring need for broader supports for women experiencing drug use troubles. I develop the term “supervised exclusion” to show how medical subjectivity in this case minimally alleviates the participants’ experiences of social marginalization and complicates their economic and political marginalization. I argue that supervised exclusion is the intertwined process of “supervision” and “exclusion,” and MMT as a supervised treatment asserts a contradictory care and control element which additionally disempowers women who have few resources due to their long-term social, economic, and political exclusion. Women’s marginality persists in this context because although they actively challenge policies and discrimination at the level of MMT and broader service provision, they cannot dismantle such a complex problematizing of their lives without far more resources and political power.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jane Pulkingham
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

The Ambiguity of Resistance: Civil Society Engagements with Neoliberalism

Date created: 
2017-02-24
Abstract: 

Resistances to neoliberal capitalism primarily occur within the realm of civil society today. There are varying theories that speak to the ability of such resistances. On the one hand, a theory of neoliberal ontology posits an inescapable structure that delimits our capacity to effectively resist. On the other hand, a theory of intentional economy asserts an ability to contest and transform dominant structures. Through a qualitative semi-ethnographic extended-case study conducted with two para-capitalist organizations operating within southern British Columbia, this thesis examines and nuances notions of resistance via a Polanyian and Marxist theoretical framework, and advances an argument for a theory of the ‘politics of ambiguity’. This captures the simultaneous positionings of resistance groups within a neoliberal ontology and intentional economy form. As determined, these groups necessarily demonstrate ambiguity to varying degrees, on the one hand reproducing neoliberal paradigms and structures, while concurrently working to forge emancipatory realities and understandings.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Yıldız Atasoy
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Temporary Foreign Workers in British Columbia: Unfree Labour and the Rise of Unscrupulous Recruitment Practices

Date created: 
2016-10-25
Abstract: 

The political and economic processes of neoliberalization have led to the intensification of worker exploitation. In Canada, Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) who enter through the Low-waged Streams of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) are amongst the most vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. This thesis uses theories on unfree labour, state transformation, and anti-racism, along with data generated through qualitative research, to examine the state legislated exploitation of TFWs in British Columbia. I argue that the unscrupulous recruitment of TFWs into British Columbia is the functional process through which labour flexibility and unfreedom is achieved within the larger project of neoliberalization. I conclude by considering how regulatory reform of labour markets can be used in conjunction with anti-racist and anti-imperialist political demands that aim to challenge the functional processes of neoliberalization.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kendra Strauss
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The flipside of the world: Sound, sleep, and willful unbelonging among sailing cruisers

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-09-29
Abstract: 

Long-term cruisers spend years living and travelling on small or medium-sized sailboats. They balance individualized, flexible lives with ongoing responsibilities to their boat, crew, and a fluid cruising community. They defy mainstream ideals linked to biomedicine, self-help, and economic productivity. While cruisers sometimes mobilize neoliberal discourse, they do not adhere to its undergirding values. Their subjectivity is centered on willful unbelonging; cruisers’ choice of living away from mainstream society is a willfulness expressed by enjoying novelty and freedom that challenges the normative North American lifestyle. Enacting and reproducing the cruising identity is thus emblematic of willful unbelonging, a positive process of self-“marginalization”. This research illuminates the possibility that unbelonging, and by extension belonging, is not a condition or state of being, but rather an active process embodied in mundane behaviours and experiences, such as sleep, listening, and multi-sensory engagement with (non-human) sounds understood as discourse, voice and bodily sensation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jie Yang
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The Historical Development of Labour Standards

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-10
Abstract: 

This study was developed to examine the underlying nature of labour standards and to trace their development at the national, international and transnational levels over the course of almost two centuries. We try to provide an alternative account of the meaning of labour standards and to show how different social structures, historical events and social actions combined to frame their evolution across three geographical scales in ways far more complex, dynamic and contradictory than conventionally portrayed in the academic literature. The thesis attempts to trace the decades-long struggle for labour standards to their highest level of development in the 1970s, but it concludes, to emphasise their contradiction with the accumulation of capital, with a brief discussion of the neoliberal period when capital gained the upper hand in the class struggle and began to reverse what labour had won in the previous decades.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary Teeple
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Peripheral Europeans: The History of the Racialization of Slavs in Canada

Date created: 
2016-08-16
Abstract: 

This dissertation investigates the racialization of the Slavs in Canada from the end of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th. Utilizing Michel Foucault’s and Ernesto Laclau’s formulations of discourse, Berger and Luckmann’s social constructionism, and, broadly, poststructural theory, the principal aim of this work is to demonstrate that during this period Canadians recognized the Slavs as a distinct, homogenous, denationalized racial type. To this end, this dissertation draws on immigration, eugenic, political, journalistic, art, legal, literary, and other discourses in order to trace the discursive formation of race in Canada while considering how such a formation constructed the racialized figure of the Slav. Historians working in the field of Whiteness Studies have established the racialization of various Europeans outside of whiteness in the United States. This dissertation suggests that Whiteness Studies’ emphasis on the banishment of peripheral Europeans from whiteness, along with the trope of “becoming white,” does not apply to the history of racialization of Slavs in Canada. The argument advanced here is that while Slavic identity was occasionally articulated in a strained relationship to whiteness, it is more accurate to see the racialization of the Slavs as entailing an estrangement from the positive attributes associated with an Anglo-Saxon identity and a simultaneous fitting into a complex racial discursive formation whose categories were denationalized. This dissertation insists on a historical approach to the sociological study of race. Examining what various Canadian discourses had to say about the Slavic artistic ability, suitability for assimilation, criminal tendencies, community life, and potential for participation in democratic institutions, this dissertation historicizes race for the reader who today is not likely to recognize the Slavs as a racialized category. This dissertation also contributes to Slavic Studies, urging a move from “Slavic ethnic cultures” and an experience of “xenophobia,” which are popular moves in that field, to the social construction of the Slavic race and the historical experience of racism.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Wendy Chan
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Volunteers on the threshold: Fragile opportunities and fractured selves

Date created: 
2016-08-08
Abstract: 

In recent years, ‘Volunteer Tourism’ and experiential education have become popular ways to experience international development. Over 65,000 Canadians have volunteered on development projects that espouse a shared commitment to global poverty reduction and personal adventure. Hence, volunteer tourism has become a topic of extensive scholarly buzz. However, contrary to the literature’s static depiction of the volunteer tourist as apolitical, unknowing, and defined only by self-less or self-centered motivations, I found volunteer selves to be fluid, fractured, and fragile with their acts of care bordered by uncertainty. Centrally, this research considers the indeterminate and uncertain space where students and volunteers make and unmake their selves in order to find a sense of worth and belonging. By illuminating the socio-economic and discursive matrices that shape volunteer selves, this thesis suggests that volunteer lives, beyond their intentions, remain hidden and unnoticed—their unpaid labour exists on the cusp of visibility.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kathleen Millar
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

A Comparative-Historical Sociology of Secularisation: Republican State Building in France (1875-1905) and Turkey (1908-1938)

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-03-11
Abstract: 

This dissertation features a comparative-historical examination of macrosocietal secularisation in France (1875-1905) and Turkey (1908-1938), with particular attention to their republican state building experiences. Bridging the literatures on secularisation theory (sociology of religion) and state formation (comparative-historical sociology), it is the purpose of this work to contribute to “historicising the secularisation debate” by scrutinising the “sociopolitical conflicts” involved in the making of macro-level secularisation (Gorski, 2003b, 2005). The existing literature often interprets different patterns of secularisation through voluntaristic perspectives (overemphasising the ideologies/beliefs of rulers and individuals) or deterministic lenses (anticipating civilisational or modernist path dependencies). To overcome the duality, this study provides a comparative-historical approach that investigates secularisation as a non-linear, uneven, and dialectical process contingent upon the course of sociopolitical struggles and structural transformations Differing from many other national states, why did France and Turkey converge to embrace secularism as a central principle and doctrine, based on an accentuated form of “separation” from and “regulation” of religion? What accounts for their divergence, that is, why did the “separation” aspect prove more dominant in French laïcité, whereas “regulation” came to be prominent in Turkish laiklik? Resting on a rich array of archival and bibliographical sources, my analysis proposes to explain the convergence and divergence between France and Turkey through the interaction of “extra-religious” and “religious” sets of variables. The former set takes into account geographically specific class struggles/alliances, and dynamics of internal/external sovereign state building. The latter set explores the doctrinal/institutional configuration of dominant religions, and the situation of religious minorities. Highlighting the interplay of these “extra-religious” and “religious” dynamics, the dissertation offers an analytical framework to contribute to the social scientific understanding of secularisation/desecularisation beyond the French and Turkish cases. The highly contentious histories of France and Turkey reveal that secularisation is not merely about the conflict of ideational visions. Secularisation is also a concrete state building strategy operationalised through a combination of “separation” and “regulation”. As part of the struggle against religiously affiliated/legitimated sociopolitical contenders, these dual strategies are utilised by bourgeois-national state builders to bring about “differentiation”, “societalisation”, and “rationalisation” (Wallis & Bruce, 1992). While the strategy of separation “differentiates” (and transfers to the state) diverse social functions previously assumed by “religious authority” (Chaves, 1994), the latter’s remaining prerogatives are placed under the regulation of “societally” and “rationally” organised secular-bureaucratic institutions. In this sense, secularisation is intimately linked to the consolidation of sovereign infrastructural power (Mann, 1984; Soifer, 2008) in “legal-institutional”, “socio-educational”, “symbolic-ideological”, and “property-distributional” spheres. France and Turkey allow for a cross-religious and cross-regional comparison to crystallise the national and extra-national social forces and mechanisms that influence the ebbs and flows in the secularising process.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary Teeple
Patrick Weil
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Dressing up Ahlak: A reading of sexual morality in Turkey

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-03
Abstract: 

This dissertation analyzes sexual morality discourse through a reading of dressed female bodies in Turkey. It explores how sexual morality (ahlak) is shaped by Islamist and secularist discourses in Turkey and the ways in which ahlak (morality) imposes control mechanisms over women’s bodies in Turkey. The thesis argues that even though secularist and Islamist discourses are seen in a dualistic framework, the patriarchal sexual moralities they impose on the bodies of women are not binary oppositions. Both utilize dress as a technology of the body to conceal female sexual bodies and regulate the visibility of women in public space. However, as a result of the different ways in which sexual moral norms are inhabited, these two discourses are perceived as oppositional. Thirty-one interviews were conducted with women involved in women’s movements in Istanbul and Ankara (Turkey) in 2010. The data analysis suggests that the sexual morality that aims at hiding the female sexual body through dress constrains the mobility and freedom of women in public spaces in Turkey. The study also shows that sexual morality has been maintained through state surveillance (such as laws and regulations on public morality and on dress) and through the public gaze (such as the judging gaze, sexual harassment and violence). Yet, the analysis of the sexual violence cases in regards to sexual morality and dress point out that sexual morality has become more conservative as a result of the increased conservatism in politics in the last decade. While this analysis shows sexual morality to be a disciplinary discourse and a practice producing ‘docile bodies’, it also reveals that women are not passively subjected to this morality. Women fashion different modalities of agencies that reveal various ways of living, embodying, as well as subverting and challenging the norms of sexual morality in Turkey.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Dany Lacombe
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

“The First Murmurings of a Discourse”: Initial Theory Invention at the Beginning of the AIDS Epidemic

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-05
Abstract: 

In 1981, at the first recognition of the illness/es that would eventually be named “AIDS,” clinicians took what knowledge was available at hand to create several hypotheses as to the pathogenesis and etiology of the then mystery illness. The first major hypothesis, proposed by Michael Gottlieb and colleagues in December 1981, centered on the perceived prevalence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) within the “homosexual population.” The clinicians reasoned that the reactivation of the latent CMV virus coupled with constant re-exposure to the CMV pathogen gradually destroyed the cellular immune system of the host. This proposed cause quickly proved to be untenable. Subsequent explanations simultaneously refuted the CMV/overload hypothesis, yet at the same time altered the basic logic to propose other forms of withering or overload. Using close textual analysis this thesis traces the invention of these initial hypotheses (“first murmurings”) to see how they were interrelated and how, despite their differences, they entail a coherent logic. This reading utilizes Michel Foucault’s archeological method in conjunction with Derrida’s deconstruction of invention, and aims to identifying what Foucault calls a ‘rule of formation’.

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