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

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They want our work, but not our power: popular women, unpaid labor, and the making of the Bolivarian revolution

Date created: 
2015-02-10
Abstract: 

The Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela is part of broader Latin American institutional restructuring that aims to expand social, political and economic inclusion through increasing popular participation. This dissertation elucidates the gendered implications of attempts to construct post-neoliberal state-society relations and corresponding practices of popular power. It analyzes the dialectical relations between popular sector women and the Bolivarian state by focusing on the role of women’s unpaid labor in the revolution during Hugo Chávez’s presidency. This study examines for whom and for what ends popular women’s labor was deployed and discursively invoked. It also assesses the consequences of state-society relations for popular women, their power, and the gendered division of labor in Venezuela. This dissertation is based on an extended case study developed from interviews and participant observation with popular women; feminist analysts and organizations; and state women’s leaders and institutions. In reshaping state-society relations from the standpoint of the subaltern, the Bolivarian regime incorporated popular women as central participants in the revolution. This gendered political opening generated new opportunities for women’s rights, organizing, and articulations with the state. In 1999, Venezuela recognized the socio-economic value of housework and entitled homemakers to social security in Article 88 of its new constitution. The state instituted several programs that recognized some women’s unpaid reproductive labor and lightened and/or socialized their reproductive burdens. Yet this recognition rendered popular women’s unpaid labor and organizing vulnerable to state appropriation because of popular women’s positioning in the gendered division of labor. The state incorporated them through its practices and institutions by reconfiguring the extant hegemonic gender role of women as mothers in service of the revolution. It expected them to be both mobilized and contained for what it saw as the revolution’s broader interests. Popular women performed much of the unpaid social and political labor necessary to build and sustain the revolution. This utilization of their unpaid labor did not necessarily transform gender power relations. Initiatives to legislate Article 88 were forestalled, social security was not universally accessible, reproductive labor persisted as predominantly popular women’s responsibility, and many popular women remained socially, economically, and politically vulnerable.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Hannah Wittman
Jane Pulkingham
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Radio beyond Voice: Understanding Community Radio Stations in Ecuador through Performance

Date created: 
2015-04-07
Abstract: 

Situated in a context of media reform, this qualitative research follows a performance approach to explore some characteristics of community radio stations in Ecuador and their possible contributions to the needs, struggles, resistances, and initiatives proposed by individuals, communities, and social movements. This work starts from the consideration that the main role of community media is not to “give voice to the voiceless”, as it has been previously argued, but to accompany the expressions of individuals and communities that have been historically deprived of their voices. Hence, it suggests that performance can offer a broader scope through which to understand this type of media by transcending the notion of voice and including in the scope of analysis both the verbal and non-verbal mechanisms that individuals and communities find and employ to express themselves.

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

Between Space and Place: Exploring Scenes of Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Care

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-09-15
Abstract: 

Background: Current scholarship regarding space and place has largely neglected emergency medicine in pre-hospital contexts. The process through which paramedics operate within between spaces is an unexplored concept, and one that has the potential to impact applied pre-hospital practice. Question: How do paramedics practice across unpredictable spaces? Theoretical Orientation: This study will be conducted as a clinical ethnography, applying Foucauldian and Spatial Practice theory towards the analysis of space. Methods: This study will be conducted through (1) participant observation of paramedic practice, (2) semi-formal interviews with paramedics while on shift, in specific and limited contexts, and (3) in depth debriefing interviews following initial observation and preliminary analysis. Significance: The proposed research will be the first to explore the concept of space in paramedic contexts, and represents a unique investigation of the use of space in emergency contexts.

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

Hockey in the Lower Mainland: An Ethnographic Examination of Passion for a Sport

Date created: 
2014-09-08
Abstract: 

In response to the widely publicized passions that Canadians have for the sport of hockey, this thesis examines passion for a sport from an ethnographic perspective. I observed daily practices and engagements with the sport throughout the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and suggest that hockey is important to individuals because of the relationships that hockey espouses. Through interviews, participant observation, and conversations, I was able to understand how discourses inform behaviours regarding hockey practices, and how hockey can be used discursively to encourage social relationships. These relationships encompass both real and imagined communities, with shared discourses as the indicators of belonging. Talking, playing, organizing, and watching hockey comprise four different, yet overlapping engagements that are revealed to have implications in the creation and maintenance of discursive communities. Passion is found to be a malleable, contextually contingent term that applies to a range of experiences, attitudes, and practices regarding hockey.

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

The Criminalization of Political Dissent: A critical discourse analysis of Occupy Vancouver and Bill C-309

Date created: 
2014-08-11
Abstract: 

Liberal democratic states have increasingly characterized expressions of political dissent as problems of ‘security’ that legitimize ongoing processes of pacification and securitization. In Canada, securitization has allowed for omnibus crime bills, increased surveillance and the continued curtailing of due process. This thesis employs the political economy of scale and anti-security literature to analyze two specific security cases – Occupy Vancouver and the making of anti-masking legislation. I draw on Access to Information and Freedom of Information releases from municipal, provincial and federal governments to explore the criminalization of political dissent, by focussing on pre-emptive social control tactics used during the two cases. These cases highlight the use of liberal ideology, the interoperability of multiscalar governance, and othering processes that construct dissenters as unlawful and illegitimate. This research provides a nuanced understanding of the tactics used to justify pre-emptive control, with the view to destabilizing the liberty-security regime.

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

Rock Stars and Bad Apples: Alternative Food Networks and Precarious Farm Worker Regimes in British Columbia

Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

This research explores how sustainable food initiatives in British Columbia have engaged with social protection and political inclusion for farm workers. Specifically, I consider two groups facing precarious employment: migrant farm workers and un(der)paid agricultural interns. Some members of alternative food networks idealize farm employers as “rock stars” while characterizing disaffirming cases as anomalous “bad apples.” Based on qualitative research, I find that alternative food actors have addressed farm worker social protection through three broad avenues: a moral economy, consumer-driven regulation, and a tenuous engagement with the state. I argue that some of the assumptions underlying these three approaches reproduce precariousness for farm workers; they thus constitute a barrier to the achievement of alternative food networks’ vision of food system transformation. I conclude by considering how a food sovereignty framework might involve farm workers, alternative food actors and other stakeholders in defining human-intensive food systems based on dignified livelihoods.

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

Shuswap and Okanagan First Nation Root Food Protocols

Date created: 
2013-12-12
Abstract: 

This thesis is the result of my research on Shuswap (Secwépemc) and Okanagan (Syilx) peoples’ root digging protocols that I carried out between January and July 2012 with three communities in the Secwépemc Nation (Skeetchestn, Simpcw and Tk’emlups) and two communities in the Syilx Nation (Westbank First Nation and Penticton First Nation). For thousands of years, a variety of native root plants have made important contributions to the sustenance of Secwépemc, Syilx and other indigenous peoples of the Interior Plateau. Important among these were, and still are, skwenkwinem (Claytonia lanceolata – springbeauties) and spitl’em/llekw’pin (Lewisia redeviva – bitterroot). Using a grounded theory approach, but also informed by indigenous research methods and my own connection to both nations, I present information from Secwépemc and Syilx root diggers gathered during interviews and root digging expeditions. My focus is on gaining understanding of practices, norms, and rules that Secwépemc and Syilx root harvesters narrated about their techniques of digging and processing of roots, but also about the way that root digging connects them to spiritual and cultural concepts and values. To describe these, I use the term protocols in that it follows present First Nations conventions of referring to what anthropologists call “culture.” Although western market foods are commonly available in our communities, the enacted protocols of root-digging continue to connect Secwépemc and Syilx people to their identities, ancestors and lands, and can shape the identities of present and future generations. I found that Secwépemc harvesters focused on skwenkwinem, while Syilx harvesters focused on sp̓iƛ̓əm. This is partly due to the ecological conditions in their respective territories. However, as I show, these preferences also reflect important historical and spiritual associations of the respective roots that root harvesters explained to me. These differences, in turn, mark national identities of root diggers and knowledge keepers as being Syilx or Secwépemc.

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

Understanding sexual assault: the ways in which young women conceptualize sexual violence

Date created: 
2014-04-22
Abstract: 

This thesis examines how women interact with rape myth portrayals of sexual assault in their everyday lives. Guided by a modified radical feminist framework, my research posits that sexual assault and rape myths limit women’s autonomy and self-actualization. Between February and June, 2013, I conduct semi-structured qualitative interviews with 20 young women in Metro Vancouver and inquired about their thoughts and attitudes towards sexual violence. The findings of this project indicate that women both resist and internalize rape myth attitudes and beliefs, mainly due to the simultaneous presence of dominant and countercultural (feminist) ideologies in contemporary society. Several emerging possibilities for social change are suggested.

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

The Prefigurative Prince: An Anarcho-Gramscian Ethnography of the Occupy Vancouver General Assembly

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-01-23
Abstract: 

In my Master's thesis, I have reconstructed the dialectical theory of Antonio Gramsci, a twentieth century Marxist scholar and Italian Communist Party activist. In particular, I have aimed to render Gramsci’s concepts more relevant to the obstacles faced by contemporary social movement activists. My reconstructive efforts are grounded in an ethnography that I performed while serving as an activist and facilitator for Occupy Vancouver, a social movement and prefigurative political community most active between October and November, 2011. As an Occupy Vancouver participant, I was privy to some of the systematic ways in which macro-scale institutions – such as patriarchy, white supremacy, and the nation-state - can create institutional contexts that are frequently internalized by social movement participants, finding expression through activists’ exclusionary or marginalizing practices. By employing Gramscian concepts, I have sought to clarify these oppressive institutional tendencies, with the goal of enabling more equitable and inclusive social movement structures.

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

What's happening in the world of older Western women?

Date created: 
2014-03-21
Abstract: 

Little is known about how the generations of World War Two and baby boomer women respond to the contemporary North American assumptions that negate their sexuality, denigrate their physical appearance, and question their physical and cognitive abilities. This thesis explores how the older women represented in my research respond to the norms, expectations and prohibitions constructed by the discourses of ageism, heterosexuality, gender and beauty in documentary films, published research, books and media reports. I argue that their responses are diverse and that older women should not be stereotyped as a homogenous group. Many describe themselves as sexual beings and others, living non-sexual lives, express their contentment. Influenced by the social repercussions of ageing, the majority of the older women represented in my research are not resisting the demands of the ideology of youth; they are attempting to conceal their age, and exposing a cultural preoccupation with weight.

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