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

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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No, item is not peer reviewed.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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
Cindy Patton
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

"To Keep the Memories Floating": Complexities of Memory Work

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013-03-07
Abstract: 

This thesis explores, through an ethnographic methodology situated within a living history museum and a military museum, the notion that memories are not ‘pre-given’ objects but are instead actively created and re-membered in complex and layered ways. Drawing upon interviews, observations, and personal memories of working in the living history museum, I take as a starting point memory work in these two museums related to the World Wars. This thesis considers in turn five key lenses on memory as work; that is, how it evolves from labour, crafting, and selection, and is constituted in fluid and dynamic ways. In particular, I consider the blurred boundaries between presumed dichotomies of memory/history and remembering/forgetting, as well as issues of authenticity and performance. This research adds to the relatively scarce scholarly literature on how people working in museums experience and ‘perform’ memory, as well as argues that memory is a central yet complex aspect of ethnographic fieldwork that requires critical reflexive analysis.

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

Making connections with Secwepemc family through storytelling: A journey in transformative rebuilding

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Abstract Based on qualitative research in the author's own First Nations community in the Interior of British Columbia, this thesis investigates how the Secwepemc of St'uxtews maintained their sense of family during the 1950's and 1960's in the face of the onslaught of Indian Residential Schooling. Community members told their memories of family life before, during, and after Residential School, and reflected on those impacts. Organized as poetic narratives, these stories provide substantive information about Secwepemc collective experiences rarely discussed among family and community members. A further component of this work is the transformative rebuilding of social relationships through storytelling, and the positive impact of qualitative research on the revitalization of storytelling in a First Nations community. The performance text of the stories can be used to create mutual understanding between the participants of an interview, as well as among diverse audiences within and beyond the First Nations community.

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

Gender, race and marriage in immigration: the spousal sponsorship appeal process in Canada

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Spousal sponsorship and immigration to Canada is a complex process. Using a qualitative and quantitative content analysis, this feminist research examines the relationship between gender, race, and marriage in 93 spousal sponsorship appeal cases. More specifically, this thesis examines how the gendering and racialization of spousal immigrants contributes to Canadian perspectives on spousal sponsorship and how they shape the meaning of marriage for immigration purposes. I argue that marriage for spousal immigration purposes is defined in a white, heterosexual, patriarchal, gendered, Western way. The spousal sponsorship appeal process uses marriage as a mechanism to exclude spousal relationships that do not conform to Western marriage ideals.

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

So far Left, we're Right": bridging the cultural divide in California's stem cell controversy

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

In the United States, the ideological divide between Left/Right, or ‘progressive/conservative’ has been predominantly defined by the abortion issue since its decriminilization in 1973. Feminists who fought that long battle for reproductive rights have been compelled to protect them against political retrenchment. By 2000, human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR) had eclipsed abortion as the point of resistance for right-to-life activists. While aversion to embryo experimentation is not exclusive to the pro-life camp, pro-choice concerns to not privilege the embryo constrain liberal feminist discourse on the moral/ethical quandaries of such experiments. This thesis unravels political events surrounding hESCR in California between 2004 and 2007, examining the struggles, strategies and outcomes of social actors who crossed the abortion divide to find allies willing to fight human embryo cloning and ova harvesting. It suggests that political-cultural ‘border blending’ could be crucial to effective resistance against the new eugenics of human bioengineering.

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

Nanotechnology and health: from boundary object to bodily intervention

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Nanotechnology is commonly understood to involve the manipulation of individual molecules and atoms. Increasingly, healthcare practices in British Columbia are articulated through the nanotechnological in relationship to the body. The hope for better treatment and diagnosis of disease is located in the specificity of nanotechnological applications – the finely tuned targeting of cells and treatments geared towards individual molecular profiles. However, this same specificity also alarms regulators, activists and consumer groups in the potential for increased toxicity. Drawing from participant observation, ethnographic interviews, and theoretical orientations adopted by Susan Leigh Star and Jeffrey Bowker, this thesis explores three questions: 1) How can nanotechnology inhabit multiple contexts at once and have both local and shared meaning; 2) How can people who live in one community draw their meanings from people and objects situated there and communicate with those inhabiting another; and 3) What moral and political consequences attend each of these questions?

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

Commodifying violence: an analysis of wartime rape and private military corporations in Iraq

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

This thesis theorizes the neoliberal restructuring of capitalism and the gendered trajectories of biopolitics that have occurred alongside the reconfiguration of the state, post-September 11, 2001. To understand these processes, I examine the relationship between wartime rape and the privatization of security in Iraq during the aftermath of the 2003 American-led invasion, through a textual analysis of material and discursive relations of power. My analysis has shown that the proliferation of private military corporations alters the landscape of warfare and wartime rape in Iraq. As an aspect of the neoliberal restructuring of capitalism, the privatization of violence, which emerged alongside the Revolution in Military Affairs and New Wars, compromises the reporting and discursive representations of wartime rape. As a form of biopolitical intervention, wartime rape serves to render life politically unqualified. The data indicates that the PMC in Iraq has contributed to a militarized culture which promotes rape.

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