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

Receive updates for this collection

Dress and reconstruction of Tai Yai identity in Post Khun Sa era in Ban Thoed Thai, northern Thailand

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No, item is not peer reviewed.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

This study investigates how the Tai Yai ethnic identity is being reconstructed as “Tai Yai”, in Ban Thoed Thai, northern Thailand. The changing identity is seen through dress as a symbol of their ethnic identity, as it is produced and worn by the people in the village. The study utilized participant observation of the everyday interactions, events and conversations of the people. The methodology also included interviews regarding ethnic identity as well as the knowledge of textiles, both past and contemporary. The informants are divided into three major groups: the elders, the middle-aged, and the younger generations to see the changing perception of their identity and ethnic dress, as it is associated with their histories. The study reveals the idea of traditionally associated ethnic groupings and dress is only evident within the older generations. The idea of “Tai Yai” has become evident among the middle and the young generations.

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

Security, race and risk in the post 9/11 era: an examination of the experiences of racialized populations at the Canadian border

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No, item is not peer reviewed.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

Since 9/11, concerns have been raised about the heightened use of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies. Travellers, in particular, have experienced the full scale of the new heightened security measures whenever they cross the Canadian border. The treatment of racialized individuals and groups by border agents has been justified as necessary but the experiences of racialized travellers highlights how balancing security concerns with respect for human rights is challenging. This thesis examines the experiences of racialized individuals crossing the Canadian border post-9/11. Through interviews with 14 racialized Canadians, I argue that their experiences of border-crossings and their views of racism in Canada are consistent with the perception that there is an increased focus on racialized groups as potential risks because of their racial background.

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

Here we are all brothers: gender relations and the construction of masculine identities in a Nùng Fan Slìng village

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

Recent scholarship surrounding questions of masculinity demonstrates that masculinity is not a natural, homogeneous category but a social construction that varies across space and time. This ethnography explores what constitutes masculinity among the Nùng Fan Slìng (Nùng), a Tai-speaking ethnic minority living in Northeastern Vietnam, through an examination of cultural assumptions that premise social practices and relationships that construct and reproduce gendered identities. Data, generated by qualitative ethnographic research methods and interpreted through the interdependent analytic categories of culture, identity, and gender, reveal that Nùng masculinity cannot be characterized as dichotomously opposed to, nor as formed in isolation from femininity. Rather, masculinity is reproduced in a system of gendered relations structured around the patrilineage. The socialization of boys as permanent and girls as provisional members of patrilineages construct men as primal and women as marginal members of Nùng society. Nùng assumptions and practices, such as conceptions of love, flirting, and men’s and women’s sexuality reveal that male-female relationships are often marked by distance and contestation. Husband-wife relationships show that gendered practices and positions of married men and women are marked by practicality and masculine privilege. Men’s practices, positions, and relationships, including those of Nùng priests, illuminate Nùng masculinity as founded upon permanence and privilege within the patrilineage, rather than on characteristics exclusively associated with men. However, men’s patrilineal privilege is buttressed by assumptions that men have greater capacity than women for the same kinds of characteristics. Drawing on Nùng concepts of self and difference, Taoist conceptions of yin-yang, and animist beliefs I argue that the inequalities between men and women, in terms of human characteristics, are overlapping differences of degree. Drawing on local Confucianist prescripts for ordering hierarchical social relationships I argue that the disparities between men and women in terms of power and privilege are reproduced by gendered positions within the patrilineage. Cultural assumptions about the nature of men and women, and gendered practices, positions, and relationships demonstrate that heightened spiritual, mental, and physical capacity taken together with patrilineal permanence constitute the hegemonic form of masculinity among the Nùng.

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

Weaving chains of grain: exploring the stories, links and boundaries of small scale grain initiatives in Southwestern British Columbia

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

Grain related activities have recently appeared in southwestern British Columbia, exhibiting dynamic social histories as a result of links between landscapes, farmers, processors and consumers. Traceable social networks that assist grain’s journey from field to plate characterize these social histories, which are contingent upon information about the chain process being shared with consumers. The depth of a given social history hinges upon the “social length”, or the number of geographically proximate links that contribute to the process. Grain chains with deep social histories help strengthen existing network connections as well as assist in developing new ones. Long social networks contribute to the production of trust and reciprocity, commonly understood as social capital. Challenges facing grain chains in SW BC, including production methods, access to seeds and machinery, marketing strategies and power dynamics have engendered unique models of community-supported grain production.

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

Taking culture to court: anthropology, expert witnesses and aboriginal sense of place in the Interior Plateau of British Columbia

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

This thesis examines the way in which indigenous oral knowledge is treated in court by Crown anthropological expert witnesses. I argue that the theoretical frameworks that guide these expert opinions are in defiance of widely taught contemporary academic cannons. My specific focus is indigenous sense of place, an issue that is intensely scrutinized in Aboriginal rights and title cases. As I show, Crown expert evidence ignores contemporary academic paradigms and practices, thereby denying indigenous cultural, social, and historical contexts of oral histories of place. My thesis concludes with some questions and reflections about alternate ways of treating such evidence, which would do better justice to indigenous ways of constructing meaning, rather than alienating and distorting it.

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

Continuums of worth: a newspaper deconstruction of missing Canadian women

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This thesis analyses how the print media represents the problem of missing women in Canada. Using an open and reflective feminist discourse analysis, I examine 240 newspaper articles from 11 major Canadian newspapers from April, 2006 to April, 2007. Guided by a feminist intersectional framework, my research posits that missing women are placed along continuums of worth according to how they perform ‘appropriate’ femininity. Four key identity factors emerged as central to women’s constructed identity: motherhood, association to criminal/deviant behaviour, class position and racial identity. The findings of this project reinforce the use of moralising discourses throughout news coverage of missing women and serve to affirm, or refute, a woman’s worth as a victim.

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

Donuts and silver dollars: the life of Captain Frank Slim

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This thesis is about the life story of Captain Frank Slim, a Yukon First Nations person of Southern Tutchone, Tagish and Tlingit ancestry who lived between 1898 and 1973. Frank Slim was my grandfather. He not only played an important role in my family’s life, but he played a significant and largely untold role in the history of Yukon First Nations and the Yukon in general. My description of Frank Slim’s life is based on my own memories, interviews with relatives, in particular my mother, Virginia Lindsay, and written records. Besides throwing light on events in the life of Frank Slim, I see this thesis as contributing to our understanding of the role of men in twentieth century Yukon history, and an anthropological approach to the construction of “life stories” as opposed to “life histories” of individuals, given my own connection to Frank Slim and Yukon First Nations.

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

Validation and constraint: a discursive examination of the British Columbia land question in an era of treaty negotiations

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

In the early 1990s, when a process was established to negotiate modern-day treaties in British Columbia (BC), it was presumed that a majority of First Nation land claims would be resolved over the course of the following twelve years. Now, some fifteen years later, only two agreements have been reached as a part of this process. The reasons for this malaise are many, and while the relative failure of the treaty process in BC could be attributed to any number of factors, this thesis examines the inception of this process, with a focus on the period 1995-99, as a basis for challenging the perception that we have transcended the policy of denial that characterized indigenous-state relations in BC prior to the treaty process. Relying upon participant-observation, ethnographic interviews, and an analysis of media, this thesis asks: how has the discursive context of the BC land question been transformed by the treaty process? What impact did the perception that the public was being called upon to participate in forums about the BC land question have on the discursive construction of this policy field? And how did the perception that BC had entered a new era of recognition (rather than of denial) inform peoples’ sense of what the treaty process was about and the outcomes it would lead to? The thesis argues that the historical policy of denial that characterized indigenous-state relations in BC continues to be embodied in a dialectic of validation and constraint that informs contemporary efforts to manage the BC land question. It is by advancing this analysis that this thesis seeks not only to bring an element of clarity to a process that continues to frustrate the aspirations of many First Nations in BC, but also highlights some of the contributions that anthropology has to make to a study of public policy.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
N
Department: 
Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

“Talking” and “doing”: an ethnographic examination of the dialectics of “kids’” sport

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This thesis examines how children and youths from Vancouver, BC reflect upon and talk about their participation and involvement in organized sport activities. Based upon ethnographic interviewing and participant observation conducted at sport events, the thesis analyzes the narratives of children and youth who drew from their personal experiences as athletes and/or volunteers with organized sport. Issues discussed with young athletes raised issues such as the definition of organized sport, the social relationships and interactions that occur during participation in sport, and the manner in which children and youth sport should be structured and organized. This investigation, which employs concepts from the anthropology of childhood and sport, and gender studies, illustrates the dialectical relationship between lived experience and dominant discourses, and shows that children and youths are adept at constructing, engaging with, criticizing and rejecting discourses about organized sport, discourses that serve to both shape and contradict their experiences.

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

Narrating resistance: a B.C. mother's story of disability rights activism

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Though mothers have engaged in social activism to expand the citizenship rights of people with intellectual disabilities for the last 50 years, research in disability studies has been slow to examine what can be learned from their experience. Using a life story approach, this thesis explores how one activist mother, Jo Dickey, describes raising a son with intellectual disabilities and advocating for the social inclusion of people with disabilities and their families between 1955 and the present. Informed by ethnographic theories of performativity and intersubjectivity, I show how Jo performs resistance by recounting how she contested ideologies and systemic practices through everyday acts and collective action in the past, and by simultaneously speaking to discourses and audiences in the present. Her storytelling challenges the limits imposed on people deemed to have intellectual disabilities, foregrounds her negotiations of disability and gender politics, and creates discursive space for an activist mother’s perspective.

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