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

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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No, item is not peer reviewed.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No, item is not peer reviewed.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.)

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.)