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

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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.

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

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