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

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The cultural ecology of the Chipewyan

Date created: 
1978
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Simon Fraser University. Theses (Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology)
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

The sociology of genosuicide. --

Date created: 
1975
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Simon Fraser University. Theses (Dept.of Sociology and Anthropology)
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc.)

The political economy of fresh water: from the commons to corporate enclosure

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Water is essential for life, and for this reason access to and control of water have been contentious issues for centuries. Since the 1980s this struggle has taken the form of a conflict over the privatization of water resources. Access to and control of water supplies are issues defined by the prevailing private property relations that comprise the global economy – those characterized by the preeminence of transnational corporate private property. Neoliberal policies, introduced throughout the world, have facilitated transnational corporate control over all aspects of economic and social reproduction, thus subordinating all forms of rights to the corporate form. This change in regulating power has led to significant questions arising from the implications of the commodification and privatization of fresh water. In reaction to these changes an increasingly organized movement is growing to resist this latest example of the enclosure of the commons.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

An ethnographic exploration of agricultural psychiatric rehabilitation villages in Tanzania

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This thesis examines patients’ experiences of living with mental illness and addiction in the context of agricultural psychiatric rehabilitation villages. It focuses on community and family roles, treatment, work, and use of local healing. The thesis explores some of the complexities and tensions that exist within the village, and their Tanzanian context as a site of healing. It highlights the importance of relationships within this healing. It is based on three months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Tanzania, and thirty interviews with patients and health care workers. The focus is on the importance of social relationships in healing, and on the impact of mental illness on the patients’ narratives. By allowing patients’ stories to act as the basis of the research, their voices are honoured and a new perspective emerges on mental health. It contributes to anthropological literature on narrative as well as cross-cultural understandings of illness.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Pharmaceutical surveillance, medical research, and biovalue among the urban poor

Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This dissertation is an exploration of the ways in which therapeutic interventions and medical research surrounding HIV/AIDS are co-constitutive in Vancouver’s impoverished inner-city community. It explores the ethical implications for medical research, epidemiological surveillance, and ethnography in the late-capitalist, twenty-first-century Canadian context. I combine elements of an ethnography of clinical care – including extensive naturalistic-observation at urban medical clinics that provide HIV treatment and interviews with clinicians, health administrators, people living with HIV, and scientists - with a reading of epidemiological literature pertaining to HIV-positive people living in Vancouver’s inner city. In which ways is the production of medico-scientific knowledge related to the distribution of pharmaceuticals for HIV in Vancouver’s inner city? Here, I examine (1) the state-sponsored public health programs that have been created to improve compliance through the use of directly observed therapy, (2) the epidemiological discourse on adherence, (3) the relationship between pharmaceuticals and treatment, and (4) the contestation of therapeutic guidelines in the clinic. Informed by the writings of Michel Foucault, I situate my analysis within larger debates surrounding postcolonial medicine, disparities in access to treatment, and the global politics of HIV/AIDS research. I reflect on the ways in which inner-city populations are regulated and monitored through both illicit and licit pharmaceuticals. I suggest that citizens whose lives are characterized by poverty, suffering, and abandonment in the Canadian state, who are perceived as “valueless”, have become critical commodities in the combined therapeutic and research economies, where they are valued for their suffering, disease, and bodies. Drawing on the work of Nikolas Rose, I suggest that, in the inner city, a lack of vitality constitutes a source of biovalue. The AIDS virus itself is a productive force, and becomes valued, through creating the imperative for vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and epidemiological surveillance. For epidemiologists and other medical researchers, the virus and its effects, along with the results of interactions between the pharmaceuticals and the disease (e.g., drug-resistant viruses), are productive sources of new scientific knowledge and new subjectivities. Finally, I reflect on the implications of this for conducting ethical critical ethnographic research on biomedicine.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Juggling power: Performing ethnography in postsocialist Poland

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

This dissertation is an autoethnographic account of my interdisciplinary Ph.D. research project - conducted in postsocialist Poland between May 2001 and June 2003 - which explored theatre performance as an ethnographic research methodology. I document and analyse the process through which the relations of power in the field challenged my original research field, plans, objectives, assumptions, theoretical frameworks, and methodologies that were to guide my fieldwork; and forced me to rearticulate and critically reflect on my role as ethnographer and theatre artist. At the center of my discussion are three ethnographic theatre projects -Dance as I Play You, Horses and Angels, and Hope - I developed in collaboration with my coinvestigator, Shawn Kazubowski-Houston, and with the research participants. The first two performances were created with student actors from the Cultural Centre for International Cooperation in the Arts in Elblag, and explored themes of intolerance, racism, gender and violence. Hope, created with student actors and five Roma women from Elblag, examined issues of racism, sexism, and violence in relation to Roma. This thesis analyses the relations of power as they were negotiated in the various stages of the project, including the building of rapport with research participants, my professional engagement with the Cultural Centre, the development process, the public presentation, and audience and participant responses to the performances. The participants' struggles over representation, resulting from disparate notions of aesthetics, ethnography, and the political, are the focal points of the study. My analysis draws from Antonio Gramsci's and Michel Foucault's conceptions of power; and Johannes Fabian's, Dwight Conquergood's, Jim Mienczakowski's, and Paul Stoller's approaches to participatory and performative ethnography. It also explores the Polish avant-garde theatres of Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor, and Jozef Szajna; and the political theatres of Bertolt Brecht and socialist Poland, and their influences on my work. I discuss my re-conceptualisation of performative ethnography, and my roles as ethnographer and artist, as the outcomes of the study. To conclude, I consider an ethnography of discovery as the trajectory I envision for my future ethnographic journey, and for any study of this kind.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Special Arrangements: Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

A Trojan Horse for corporate change: A sociological examination of shareholder activists' ability to moderate the profit motive

Date created: 
2006
Abstract: 

Resistance to the corporate pursuit of profit takes many forms, but ths thesis examines the effectiveness of shareholders (owners of the corporation and beneficiaries of profit) in challengmg the corporate belief that profit should prevail over non-financial concerns. Shareholders are privileged due of their location within corporate structure and large shareholders are especially privileged. Using secondary sources (shareholder resolutions plus newspaper articles) and informed by Gramsci's notion of hegemony, ths thesis examines the shareholders' discourse within the context of the legal environment. The legal environment is significant because it shapes the shareholder's discourse, influences the engagement process and supports the dominant hegemony. Though Canadan legal changes in 2001 provided shareholders with more rights, shareholders remain conservative when engagmg companies. Yet, despite a hegemony that constrains shareholders and despite voluntarily operating withn the hegemonic discourse, shareholder engagement can be effective in makmg corporations consider their social or environmental responsibrlity.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)