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

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Not quite 'no future': The persistence of punk

Date created: 
2011-09-12
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the lives of nine women who were part of the creation of the punk scene in Vancouver, BC and have continued to identify as punks as they get older. By conducting in-depth interviews that cover specific aspects of their life histories, I gather information on how these women’s participation in punk influenced their choices and goals and how they, in turn, influenced the punk scene. Using theoretical concepts from the works of bell hooks and Pierre Bourdieu, I argue that the women were able to exercise a great deal of creative agency despite the many restrictions to which they were subject because of their gender, class, style and life circumstances. They were able to turn limitations into opportunities that enriched their own lives and the community around them in a way that shows how a marginal cultural movement may contribute to greater social change.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dany Lacombe
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Shared destiny: understanding the relationship between national identity and Canadian Medicare.

Date created: 
2010-11-05
Abstract: 

How has Canadian Medicare become associated with Canadian national identity? Understanding the modern nation-state as a ‘political community’ structured to legitimate private property relations and understanding Canadian Medicare as nationally shared property, this study aims to reveal how Medicare has become the most emblematic symbol of Canadian national identity. By first providing (1) a review of perspectives and concepts for understanding the modern nation-state and modern nationalism, then, (2) an examination of the roots of Canadian national identity and the origins of public health care in Canada, this study argues that forms of shared property, such as Medicare, have the ability to provide a shared national consciousness that is above the otherwise private interests of disparate individuals within the liberal democratic nation-state.

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

Towards developing a social impact assessment: Involuntary resettlement in the San Roque Dam case, Philippines

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Abstract: 

In cases of involuntary resettlement, project-proponents are required under institutionalized international guidelines to conduct feasibility studies (pre-project construction) and prepare social monitoring programs (post-project construction) of the people-affected. This study, using a grounded theory/ethnographic research method, explores mutually dependent networks between project-proponents, local government units and project "beneficiaries" as a way to see how the implementation of compensation entitlements through livelihood reconstruction operates informally. My data revealed that social safeguards were in place superficially. The trauma of having been displaced is exacerbated with the loss of usual social support mechanisms and the associated dilution of cultural land-based norms. My results showed that project-affected participants' sense of self (physically and mentally) is attached to poorly implemented livelihood reconstruction schemes and compensation entitlements. This study uncovers some of the limitations of social impact assessment lacking analysis of the distribution of power in stakeholder relations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Fernando De Maio
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Practicing creative maladjustment: the Mental Health Political Action Group

Date created: 
2011-08-11
Abstract: 

This dissertation chronicles the rise and fall of the Mental Health Political Action Group (MHPAG), a Vancouver area radical psychiatric consumer/survivor collective active from 2007 to 2009. The objectives are threefold: 1) to document the experiences of a courageous group of grassroots activists involved in mental health rights advocacy, 2) to recount their achievements and frustrations, and 3) to present these findings in a way useful not only to the academy but to activist communities as well. Through a combination of participant observation and autoethnography, an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of non-hierarchical organization and peer-support mechanisms is applied through the lens of critical theory. The main finding is that, despite challenges and resistances from authorities and mainstream organizations, non-hierarchical activism, as practiced by the MHPAG, provides a space for anti-capitalist social relationships and a freedom for peer support under which many participants flourished.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Robert Menzies
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

“I'm just a mom that happens to be a bit younger": A qualitative study of teenage mothering in Canada

Date created: 
2011-08-09
Abstract: 

Drawing on an interpretive approach, the purpose of this qualitative study is to explore teenage mothers’ perceptions, interpretations, and experiences of teenage pregnancy and motherhood. Methods included participant observation at a community-based Young Parent Program in British Columbia and narrative interviewing with six teenage mothers (age 17 to 20). This thesis explores the participant mothers’ experiences of teenage pregnancy, including their initial reactions to becoming pregnant and the process of deciding to keep their babies. In addition, this study investigates the participants’ diverse experiences of teenage motherhood, from the perceived happiness, stability, and motivation gained from mothering to feelings of social isolation, relationship difficulties, and financial strain. Overall, this study demonstrates how teenage pregnancy and motherhood are too complex to be understood as purely ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ social phenomena. Rather, experiences of teenage pregnancy and motherhood are interpreted and perceived by young mothers in multiple ways, which may shift over time and in different circumstances and contexts.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jane Pulkingham
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Polyamory or polyagony? Jealousy in open relationships

Date created: 
2011-07-26
Abstract: 

Polyamory is the contemporary practice of consensual and responsible non-monogamy. Using qualitative, open-ended interviews, I spoke with twenty-two queer, polyamorous women in Vancouver, Canada, about how and why they practice polyamory and specifically how jealousy is experienced, expressed and re-imagined in their relationships. Through the development of a polyamorous philosophy and subculture, polyamorists rethink feeling rules about love, relationships and jealousy with the goal of attaining compersion, a term developed by polyamorists to describe the emotional experience of pleasure felt in relation to a lover’s sexual and/or emotional connection with other people. It is through their participation in the polyamorous community and engagement with its philosophy that polyamorists shift their embodiment of emotion. Jealousy is connected to power relations; therefore I explore how polyamorists are affected by Western cultural regulation of sexuality and emotion, as well as how they rethink power relations within their personal dynamics. Using sociology of emotion, feminist intersectionality theory, queer theory, critical sexualities theory and an insider research methodology, I document a moment of this sexual subculture’s process and illustrate its numerous emotional challenges, punned polyagony.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ann Travers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Parallel alternatives: Chinese-Canadian farmers and the Metro Vancouver local food movement

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-06-27
Abstract: 

This thesis explores how food system localisation efforts in Metro Vancouver, Canada intersect with one of the tensions in the global agri-food system: racial inequalities. Drawing on archival research, participant observation of local food marketing and policy-making, and interviews with local food movement participants, policy-makers, and Chinese-Canadian farmers, I argue that the history of anti-Chinese racism in Canada is linked to the emergence of a food system comprised of parallel networks. An older network consists of roadside stores and greengrocers supplied by Chinese-Canadian farmers. A newer, rapidly expanding network includes farmers’ markets and other institutions publicly supported by the local food movement. Both networks are ‘local’ in that they link producers, consumers, and place; however, these networks have few points of intentional connection and collaboration. I conclude by considering the implications of the underrepresentation of Chinese-Canadian farmers in some of the local food movement’s most publicly visible manifestations.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Hannah Wittman
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

New paradigm, same dilemma: civil commitment reforms in Poland (1972-1994)

Date created: 
2011-05-24
Abstract: 

The rights-based reform of the law relating to civil commitment in Poland began in the early 1970s on the heels of similar reforms in North America and Western Europe. Poland’s reformers aimed to advance the situation of ‘mentally ill’ people and prevent their social marginalization. This thesis examines the discourses of rights within Polish civil commitment reforms, and in their outcome, the Mental Health Protection Act, 1994 (MHPA). Although the MHPA provided civilly committed patients with more procedural rights, these rights-based reforms were grounded in liberal discourses of the 'rational subject', and in the premises of the capitalist market economy that relegate to an inferior status those incapable of engagement in contractual relations. Thus, reformers failed to challenge systemic sources of oppression and the exclusion of mentally ill people from the community of equal-rights bearers. As a result, the MHPA only mediates the worst symptoms of oppression, while perpetuating its causes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Alison Ayers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Late for Buddha: the construction of Dara’ang (Silver Palaung) religious and ethnic identity

Date created: 
2011-05-09
Abstract: 

This dissertation examines how Theravāda Buddhism affects the construction of cultural identity amongst the Dara’ang, a highland ethnic minority group who practice a form of Buddhism associated with the old Tai Yuan kingdom of Lan Na. This particular form of Buddhism has waned in northern Thailand in response to the extension of Siamese or Central Thai hegemony, yet movements led by charismatic khruba monks attempt to revitalize these practices amongst the northern population, including the Dara’ang. This study analyzes how Dara’ang men and women draw upon their religious practices and beliefs, as well as the religious discourse of khruba monks, to construct a distinct Dara’ang identity, one that emphasizes a cultural affinity with the Tai people, while simultaneously resisting cultural assimilation and challenging the dominant representation of the group as an alien other within 'Thai'-land.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Michael Howard
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Toward food justice in the Neoliberal era?: a critical exploration of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House

Author: 
Date created: 
2011-05-04
Abstract: 

Broadly, this research is about how philosophy is translated into a set of practices, and about how these practices are affected by the political economic context in which they are imbedded. Using ethnographic methods I explore how the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House (DTES NH), originally a grassroots organization in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), attempts to transform the predominantly low-income DTES’s “food system” according to its understanding of the “Right to Food” philosophy. The DTES NH differentiates itself from, is critical of and constructs itself in opposition to, charitable food organizations. It aims to empower the most marginalized victims of systemic injustice and to transform oppressive social relations through the modality of food rather then merely delivering food to poor people. However, the DTES NH is growing in a direction that reflects broader neoliberal currents that bear the risk of structurally aligning the DTES NH with the non-profit organizations it critiques. Examining the practices of the DTES NH through the perspectives of its staff, volunteers and program participants and linking them to the broader political-economic context, my research ultimately questions the degree to which social change is possible from within the non-profit sector.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dany Lacombe
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.