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

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To breastfeed or not to breastfeed?: an ethnographic exploration of knowledge circulation, medical recommendations on HIV and infant feeding, and related "good" mothering discourses in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

This thesis looks at how knowledge on HIV and infant feeding is circulated, shaped, and then disseminated into a medical recommendation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It explores good/ bad mothering discourses linked to women with HIV who are feeding infants in this city. Guided by Bruno Latour’s actor network theory, I interviewed 31 community and health professionals to ethnographically locate “key actors” involved in knowledge circulation on HIV and breastfeeding. The interviews revealed two patterns of knowledge circulation in which different information on HIV and breastfeeding is being shared. I suggest that contrasting good/bad mothering discourses position women with HIV in a “tension zone” that characterizes them as both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mothers. I situate my observations in literature on medicalization of reproduction and science studies writings on social movements and “experts”. I argue the tension zone overshadows challenges facing women with HIV navigating poverty and trying to access baby formula.

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

Under the veil of neoliberalism: inequality, health, and capabilities

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

The relationship between income inequality and health has received substantial attention in the fields of medical sociology and public health and continues to be debated. In Chile, previous findings indicate that there is an income inequality effect; respondents who live in areas with high inequality experience a greater probability of poor self-reported health. This study examines the Wilkinson income inequality hypothesis in a new way by using it in conjunction with Sen’s capability approach. Building from critiques of the Wilkinson hypothesis, this study also incorporates analysis of the political economy of Chile. Utilizing the 2003 and 2006 cycles of the National Socio-Economic Characterization Survey (CASEN), my findings indicate a complex relationship between income inequality and health. My analyses also suggest that there are severe inequities in health outcomes; inequities that reflect Chile’s two-tier system of healthcare.

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

Crisis and/or relief? an examination of mothers’ and fathers’ experiences of the empty nest transition

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

A popular belief is that mothers experience an "empty nest syndrome" when their young adult children leave home. Recent research, however, challenges this notion, with its associated time of depression, crisis, and grief. However, there is a lack of research on both mothers' and fathers' experiences of this transition, as well as the role of ethnocultural background on this transition. Building upon life course theory, this study examines parental experiences of the empty nest transition and what effects it has on parental emotional health and well-being, while taking into account gender, ethnic background, and other contextual factors. This mixed methods study uses data from telephone surveys (a sub-sample of 316 British, Chinese, Southern European, and Indo/East Indian parents) and sixteen in-depth interviews. Findings reveal variation by gender, ethnic background, and socio-demographic characteristics. Finally, coping strategies and community programs that could help parents who are experiencing this transition will be highlighted.

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

Stories and landscapes in Milan, Italy: an ethnography of public urban spaces

Author: 
Date created: 
2008
Abstract: 

Based on fieldwork carried out in 2004/2005, this dissertation explores how different people and social groups participate in public space in Milan, Italy. In the first part of my work I discuss three different perspectives on public space and their implications on its openness and accessibility. First, I examine how a street forum by the largely Italian, middle class, association VivereMilano activates the ideal of public space as agora of the city, all while marginalizing issues of importance to less privileged residents of the city. Secondly, I look at how Milanese oppositional Social Centers depict urban space as deeply political and as a central locus and object of struggle. Thirdly, I look at some aspects of the complex relationship between immigration and urban space. Although public spaces are a precious resource for several new immigrants, they are usually the ones who have the hardest time to claim them as their own. In the second part of this thesis, I argue that visibility is an important aspect of city life. I trace how some people I met during my research used embodied practices of seeing and performative engagements to imagine and situate themselves in Milan’s social landscape. I also reflect on how some oppositional groups adopt a language of (in)visibility to talk about inequality in the city, and to draw attention to the invisible social actors and the spatial ghosts of the postindustrial urban terrain. In this part of my work I theorize vision as embodied, multiple, and contested, and connected to circulating discourses on the way the city should look like and who should figure in it. As not every body can enter the field of vision in the same way, ways of seeing and appearing can reinforce gender, class, and race hierarchies in urban locales. In turn, less privileged inhabitants of Milan can use alternative ways of representing the city and their presence in it to help create a public space that would be more inclusive and egalitarian.

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

Exorcising with Buddha : Palaung Buddhism in northern Thailand

Author: 
Date created: 
2004
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology) - / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Globalization, tourism and the commodification of imagination : an ethnography of backpacking

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology) - / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Party boys : identity, community, and the circuit

Author: 
Date created: 
2003
Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Theses (Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology) - / Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Where Spirit Meets Matter- A participatory gaze on collaborative planning for a United Church construction and development project

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Abstract The conundrum of what the community and individual roles are in the sustainability of our physical and social environments is a global issue taking precedence at a local scale. Tensions between neo-liberal forces and sustainability goals often alienate community members from participating in decision making and policy outcomes. Through the exploration of a grassroots, community-initiated, collaborative planning process for a construction project, the community-level reaction to global pressures, dominant rhetoric, and the social needs of the community becomes evident through gazing at the dynamics between the technical experts and community participants within the planning process. The dominant rhetoric of place, identity, and power from technical experts often transfer into the design and construction of built environments. While construction projects require the technical input of engineers, architects, and planners, input from community members—who will live, work, and utilize the built environments—is also critical to achieving sustainability goals.

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

Timing is everything? The impact of gender and disability on the life course

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

Living with a physical disability is a personal and social process. Increasingly, research has shown that the presence of disability affects family formation, education and employment trajectories and outcomes. This raises questions about why life trajectories and outcomes of disabled people are variable and how individual agency and social processes affect life outcomes. In this qualitative study these issues are explored using interview findings of ten women and ten men with early and adult onset disabilities. Findings indicate that those with early onset often experience disrupted education trajectories and unpaid work histories. Those with adult onset disabilities have disrupted work trajectories, with women reporting greater rates of divorce or delayed childbearing as a result of disability. The value of this research comes from recognizing that age of disability onset and gender have distinct consequences on life course experiences and outcomes.

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

Depo-provera and the regulation of indigenous women's reproduction

Author: 
Date created: 
2007
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the role of socioeconomic, political and historical factors that contribute to the regulation of young Indigenous women’s reproduction through the prescribing of Depo-Provera. This study utilizes critical perspectives and qualitative analysis to focus on the intersection of neoliberalism and risk discourse at the site of contraceptive prescription. Based on a critical discursive analysis of several texts, this research illustrates how dominant discourses reflect colonial relations and neoliberal ideals in framing the characteristics of Depo-Provera users. I show that texts aimed at Third World women and/or “sexually at risk” women living in “confounding life situations” seek to control their reproduction with (health) provider-controlled contraceptives such as Depo-Provera. The analysis reveals the ways in which international and Canadian texts construct the identity of young Indigenous women as a risk population in need of reproductive regulation.

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