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

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An Institutional Ethnography of Women Entrepreneurs and Post-Soviet Rural Economies in Kyrgyzstan

Date created: 
2014-01-24
Abstract: 

The overarching problematic of this study is to understand how initiatives developed by international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) come to organize processes of economic and social 'development' in Jerge-Tal village, located in a remote mountainous region of Kyrgyzstan. My objective was to examine how courses developed and delivered by Women Entrepreneurs Support Association (WESA) coordinate with the actual needs, capacities, and work processes of women entrepreneurs and the broader contexts in which they live and work. My original contribution to knowledge is an account of how people's work processes are drawn into and coordinated by a set of relations that, whether intentional or not, preclude dialogic interchanges across a sequence of interrelated activities that link my own academic work, the institutions and work practices of development workers (both local and international), the goals and practices of different levels of governance, and the efforts of women entrepreneurs in local sites where 'development’ actually happens. I used Institutional Ethnography (IE) as a framework of inquiry to investigate how development agendas aimed at improving the well-being of women are coordinated at institutional and local levels. Training programs for women entrepreneurs are part of a strategy developed by Western gender specialists concerned with how to address the problem of women's social and economic marginalization. As such, they are tied into an international development programming complex wherein concerns with women's well-being are articulated through institutional processes (such as accounting systems, accountability systems, and computerized technologies) which produce definitions of gender, establish gender mainstreaming programs and policies, and assess effective implementation and compliance with these processes. This study contributes to better understanding how such processes operate. The insights provided offer a starting point for developing a body of knowledge about local development processes that is empirically informed, politically useful, and, at least to some extent, locally produced. This kind of knowledge is politically useful to the local peoples who have contributed to it, but also to the institutions that study and serve them (or fail to serve them), and those seeking to better specify what concepts like colonization, capitalism, and transformation mean in the post-Soviet Kyrgyz context.

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

"I am the whale": Human/Whale Entanglement in Kaikoura, New Zealand

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-10-09
Abstract: 

Kaikoura is balanced on the edge of land and sea and it is the creatures of both that make the community. I explore the entanglement of two creatures in particular, whales and humans, in this small New Zealand town where whale watching has become part of everyday life. But ‘watching’ can be planned or unexpected, up close or at a distance; it can mean guardianship or tourism or something in between, and in Kaikoura, watching whale watchers watch whales is as much a shared community practice as watching the whales themselves. In this place, the naturalcultural encounters of whales and humans construct diverse experiences, a plurality of identities and a community that is as linked to whales as it is to humans. It is with this everyday living with whales that my stories and those of my participants are concerned.

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

Navigating the Stigma of Pedophilia: The Experiences of Nine Minor-Attracted Men in Canada

Date created: 
2013-10-29
Abstract: 

This thesis presents findings and analysis arising from semi-structured qualitative interviews with nine minor-attracted men (i.e. men who are primarily attracted to children and/or adolescents) in Canada. The central research question is “how do minor-attracted people understand and manage their stigmatized identities?” I situated the participants' experiences within a broader social context by reviewing relevant academic literature, laws, and dominant cultural attitudes. Utilizing a symbolic-interactionist approach, and drawing on Goffman's concept of “stigma,” this thesis illustrates the unique challenges facing minor-attracted people. The study reveals that minor-attracted people become aware of their sexuality at an early age, experience stress caused by real or perceived societal rejection, and encounter both positive and negative reactions upon disclosing their identities. The conclusion underscores the need for a new approach to dealing with minor-attraction in contemporary Western society. I offer eight recommendations for instituting a strategy which incorporates empathy, education, and anti-discrimination measures.

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

Yes, we can: adult literacy, community, and development in peri-urban Oaxaca

Date created: 
2013-12-04
Abstract: 

Global efforts to eradicate illiteracy have led to an extensive range of adult literacy programs worldwide, particularly in developing regions. There is no clear consensus on the application of such projects, as the study and evaluation of adult literacy education continues to be divided between ‘functional’ approaches which emphasize skill acquisition as a primary focus; and ‘socio-cultural’ perspectives which foreground contextual and personal narratives. Case-study observations of classrooms and educators in three peri-urban communities in Oaxaca, Mexico indicate complex interconnections between literacy education and development in both conceptual and material frameworks. Findings further highlight the importance of local communities and social networks in shaping classroom experiences. Results suggest a divide between institutionally derived goals and communally guided practice in Oaxacan adult literacy classrooms. This schism may lead to the creation of titular literacy that can be nevertheless inconsistent with the ways in which literacy is actually practised.

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

Medicalised Birthing Discourse in British Columbia: Biopolitics, Resistance, and Affective Subjectivity

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-11-27
Abstract: 

I analyse medicalised birthing in British Columbia to demonstrate contemporary forms of both biopolitical power and resistance. To this end, I offer an approach in which I define the concept of biopolitical resistance using affective subjectivity, with the aim of showing that in addition to appearing as strategic elements in contemporary forms of power affect may also be used to show that practices of resistance emerge from the creative potentials of subjects themselves. In so doing, I hope to contribute to the literature on biopolitics a detailed account of both discursive and non-discursive types of subject formation by focusing on power not merely as a strategic force or effect from above, but also as an ambiguous, non-discursive potentiality that emerges from below in the feelings and sensations of being alive.

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

Sex trafficking discourse and the 2010 Olympic Games

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-08-14
Abstract: 

This thesis looks at how sex trafficking was constructed as a social problem by certain groups in the context of the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, and examines what effects the Games were perceived to have on issues related to sex trafficking. The study is conducted as a qualitative, two-phase sequential multi-method project. Using participant observation and interview data, I argue that the concerns about sex trafficking were raised to problematize the male demand for commercial sex and call for abolition of prostitution in Canada through adoption of the Nordic legal model, which criminalizes those who purchase sex and decriminalizes those who sell it. While there has been no evidence to suggest that sex trafficking was an issue during the Olympics, the raising of the related concerns had important consequences. It shifted the understanding of prostitution toward that of sex trafficking, while relying on a discourse reflective of ideological positions that see women in the sex trade as victims who need to be protected.

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

Citizenship, Belonging, Meaning and Identity: a case study of first-generation Iranian immigrants in Vancouver

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-07-30
Abstract: 

This thesis explores what it means to be an ethnic minority and a gang member in the course of becoming a Canadian. It is based on narratives of first-generation Iranian immigrant youths who migrated to Vancouver, British Columbia, in the 1990s and created a gang called Persian Pride. The aim of this research is to explore how identities are constructed within the realms of meaning, representation and identification. It is premised on the argument that identities are social constructs, always stemming from historical and social relations of any given time and space. Here, identity is explored beyond mere personal choices; rather, it is conceptualized as a construct within relations of power and discourse, all of which had a profound impact on these young individuals’ understanding of their lives in the midst of exclusion and in their attempt to belong.

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

Teasing out the compressed education debates in contemporary South Korea: Media portrayal of figure skater Yuna Kim

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-07-30
Abstract: 

In this thesis, I argue that the heated debates about South Korea’s education policy consist of problems that arise from different genres of discourses that in turn belong to different historical moments and education values. I engage in a media discourse analysis of the reportage on South Korean international sport celebrity Yuna Kim that highlight the key education debates currently taking place in South Korea. First, I deal with the neologism umchinttal (my mom’s friend’s daughter) as an ideal student type. The use of the neologism suggests that students without familial cultural or economic capital do not have as much social mobility through education compared to the previous generation of students. Second, I look at the changing student-parent-teacher relationship through the controversy about Kim’s decision to part ways with her former coach Brian Orser. In the final moment, I point to the changes in the post-nationalist University through Professor Hwang’s criticisms on Yuna Kim’s teaching practicum.

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

From wheat fields to mass housing: Ankara’s neoliberal conjuncture

Date created: 
2013-07-23
Abstract: 

This thesis explores a shift from wheat fields to TOKİ mass housing in Ankara, Turkey and is based on a comparative world-historical perspective (McMichael 1990). Urban and agrarian issues are explored by placing processes of what David Harvey (2003) has referred to as “accumulation by dispossession” at the centre of this shift to capture the contradictions and complexities of neoliberalism in a specific place. I argue that the Turkish state under the Justice and Development Party has determined that accumulation by dispossession should operate as dispossession (upwards redistribution) and repossession (downwards redistribution). A comparison is made between the developmental era, where small producers cultivated wheat for domestic use and self-built housing called gecekondus began appearing in large cities with state acceptance, and the neoliberal era, where small producers are encouraged to cultivate crops for exchange and gecekondus are no longer acceptable to the market dynamics promoted at home and abroad.

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

Medical disinterestedness: an archaeology of scientificness and morality in the Canadian medical profession

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-04-17
Abstract: 

In this dissertation I consider the emergence of and the shifts in the scientific and moral standards in the Canadian medical profession, or what I call medical disinterestedness. I examine editorial content from medical journals as a discursive space in which professional norms are constituted. I draw on the works of Pierre Bourdieu in order to argue that doctors are enmeshed in a unique system of rewards that cannot be explained by an economic model based on profit. I investigate three crisis moments during which Canadian doctors faced accusations from the public, the media and the government for not acting with scientific and moral judgment. The first crisis moment I examine occurs in the nineteenth century when doctors faced a hostile government that refused them the right to govern all aspects of medicine. During this time, doctors drew on middle-class masculine codes of etiquette and their privileged access to university education in order to claim that they were learned gentlemen acting on behalf of the public. This claim was called into question during the 1950s-1960s, however, when the Canadian media shamed the medical profession for opposing the proposal for a universal health care system. In this second crisis moment, in order to restore their moral credibility, doctors upheld general practice and public health as humane forms of medicine and adopted media relations strategies aimed at improving their image. Opening the doors to the media created complications, however, as demonstrated in the third crisis moment when the editors at the top Canadian medical journal were fired in 2006. This event revealed that the supposedly pure intellectual space of medical science collides with media-market forces, professional politics and journalism in ways that have troubling ramifications for medical practice. My analysis of these crisis moments demonstrates that morality, objectivity and ethics are not fixed concepts but are rather shaped in relation to historical, social, cultural, political and economic factors. This dissertation extends ethical discussions in medicine to include the ways in which doctors define and communicate what it means to act with integrity in relation to the state, professional politics and the media.

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