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

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Trans/gender sincerities: A dialogic analysis of four young people’s embodied subjectivities

Date created: 
2015-06-01
Abstract: 

This thesis combines dialogic theory, intersectionality, and transfeminism in an interpretive case study of how four young people make sense of and negotiate their trans/gender embodied subjectivities. Between January and August 2014, I gathered data using narrative, walking, and art-based interviews, and a focus group. Using dialogical data analysis, I construct three layers of argument that cumulatively contend trans/gender sincerities – subjective realities – are multi-voiced and emergent in dialogic relations with others. First, I interpret the multiple ways participants’ sense their embodied selves, and how they negotiate processes of (mis)gendering. Second, I analyze the contested meanings of trans and cis within participants’ utterances, emphasizing the transformative potential of espousing multiple trans/gender sincerities. Third, I conduct an intersectional analysis of class, race, settler colonialism, sexuality and gender, arguing that trans/gender sincerity is ‘not enough.’ Rather, it must coincide with a critique of how intersecting systems of power mutually constitute trans/gender embodied subjectivities.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ann Travers
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

'Facebook for kinky people': a discursive analysis of FetLife

Date created: 
2015-08-05
Abstract: 

This study is a comprehensive investigation of FetLife, a BDSM (bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism) social networking website. Taking a discursive analytical approach that combines rhetorical-textual analysis with Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model, I look at a site-based scandal to investigate how FetLife is positioned as a safe and private community in order to achieve commercial benefits. Subsequently, I analyse user-generated content on the site, demonstrating that sexual self-representation on FetLife follows the logic of pornography. The adherence to this logic, alongside the site’s commercial realities, strongly contradict its claims to be an ‘alternative’ community space, leading me to conclude that online sexuo-social interactions are a space of conflict and contradiction wherein the nature of privacy and publicness are being radically altered by commercially driven developers, the cultural dominance of pornography and emerging cultures of online representation.

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

Negotiated practices: understanding hospital palliative care as an affective economy

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-07-06
Abstract: 

This dissertation is an exploration of contemporary hospital-based palliative care informed by ethnographic research in two large hospitals in Western Canada. My objective was to explore how the concept of an “affective economy” contributes to understanding the ways in which the dying process is currently negotiated in these spaces. Through extending existing scholarship on discourse, emotional labour, affect, affective economies, and literature on institutionalized end-of-life care as a form of social governance, I define an affective economy of hospitalized palliative care as a discursive formation, which is understood and explained through its emotional labour practices, and which attempts to organize the dying process in order to facilitate a good death. Primary attention is given to three aspects of clinicians’ emotional labour practices: therapeutic relationship building, addressing total pain, and offering of the dying role. Through interviews, fieldnotes, and case studies, I trace how these are relational practices of knowledge and power that circulate and privilege clinicians’ understandings of the emergent physical states of the patient, along with clinicians’ cultural authority to define the appropriate emotional orientations to these understandings. I also explore how these orientations are negotiated, validated, and/or contested through claims to narrative authority by all involved parties. I propose that, within an affective economy framing, hospitalized palliative care is best understood as constituted by two, not always complementary, discourses. These discourses both construct and reflect tensions within care provision, including: the evolution and mainstreaming of care, the requirement for rapid patient transitions, the rise of business modeling, and increased patient and family member involvement in clinical care decisions. This research contributes to the study of dying in three key ways. First, no one has yet conceptualized hospitalized palliative care as an affective economy. In doing so, the specific moments and networks of relations that constitute this form of care are understandable as a cultural system that attempts to make human capacities productive, even at the very end of life. Secondly, I forward an understanding that clinicians’ privileged position is one that often occurs within active and sustained negotiations, where emotional orientations to dying process are generated, validated, and/or contested within the perceived rights and obligations of all involved parties. Third, this framing encourages an understanding of hospitalized palliative care in contemporary Canadian hospitals as necessarily fluid and ambivalent, defined as much by negotiation and disjuncture as by mutuality and cooperation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jane Pulkingham
Department: 
? by Home Dept & Faculty of Senior Supervisor:
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Navigating income assistance: An ethnography of PWD (Persons With Disabilities) applications

Date created: 
2015-05-11
Abstract: 

This participatory ethnography examines the experiences of four women and one of their male partners living in British Columbia who have navigated applications for Income Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (PWD). I was inspired to do this research after hearing of the complexities of PWD applications while working in social justice organizations. Research methods included co-created ethnographic conversations, participant observation, and document analysis. Influenced by partial, positioned feminist epistemologies and the research participants’ analyses, findings are connected to literature from anthropology and critical disability studies. Research participants endured and critiqued the dominating neoliberal ideology of Income Assistance through skilled agentive negotiations of ableist bureaucratic processes; however, these experiences also impacted their sense of self and their relationships to their disabilities and other people in consequential ways. This thesis closes by discussing participants’ suggestions for providing service not dominated by neoliberal ideology and that could be more effectively navigated by claimants.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dara Culhane
Parin Dossa
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

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