Theses (Sociology)

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Theses from the Dept. of Sociology.

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    A Study of the Hegemonic Potentials of Iranian Teachers’ Collective Activism (1920-2023)
    (2024-01-03) Rahmati, Hossein; Vahabzadeh, Peyman; Carroll, William K.
    The Iranian Teachers’ Movement (ITM) is socially and politically one of most important groups and professional associations in contemporary Iran, having its roots in the foundation of modern education originating under the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925-1979). Under severe suppression by both monarchial and Islamic regimes, it has nonetheless grown into a formidable social and political force. The movement was born out of a teachers’ protest in 1961 before slipping into a hiatus, until its revival with rich political imagination, as an independent association following the 1979 Revolution. The radical ideas of the first generation of teachers’ organic intellectuals, however, could not be realized due to the severe crackdown on all opposition in the1980s. The movement gradually and incrementally grew back in the 1990s but in a rather fragmented way. The idea of an independent teachers’ association or union was revived at this time by the second generation of teachers’ organic intellectuals of the early 2000s, known as the “Chalk-holding Teachers” and by establishing the teachers’ “guild centers” in various cities. In 2010, the third generation of the teachers’ organic intellectuals, called the “Justice-seeking Teachers”, turned the ITM into a formidable hegemonic power by restructuring the teachers’ discourse based on free education and children’s rights in the context of neoliberal cutbacks to public education. The revolutionary uprising of “Woman, Life, Freedom” in 2022 compelled the ITM to confront a historic question, “What is the moral and historical responsibility of teachers in response to this popular uprising?” and “how can the ITM make the diverse demands of participants in the Woman, Life, Freedom movement its own?” This thesis explores hegemonic potentials of ITM through historical and empirical research that is analytically enriched through the theory of hegemony by Antonio Gramsci.
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    A Critical Analysis of Sexual Assault Services in B.C.
    (2023-12-21) Berkan Hozempa, Chandra; Smith, André
    This study examines the current state of sexual assault service provision in British Columbia (B.C.) through a thematic analysis of focus group data collected as part of the Changing Perceptions Project (CPP). The CPP project looked at current perceptions of sexual assault in B.C. as well as public perceptions of sexual assault and the decision-making processes around disclosure and service-seeking behaviours of people who have experienced sexual assault. The aim is to provide an in-depth understanding of how communities across B.C. currently receive sexual assault services, the strengths and weaknesses of existing services, and how services can be improved to better support people in accessing care from the perception of sexual assault service providers. The review also outlines how sexual assault service delivery is categorized according to a range of models of intervention and how integrated and or highly coordinated models of care tend to be perceived as more responsive to the needs of people who have experienced sexual assault, especially for equity-deserving groups.
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    Don’t Leave Them Out: An International Comparative Analysis of Parental Leave Policies for Multiple Family Structures
    (2023-12-20) Hammoud, Zeinab; Albert, Katelin
    This thesis explores how unequal social and material privileges are reinforced through seemingly progressive public policy. In a multi-national comparison, I investigate how queer families fit within parental leave policy compared to their heterosexual counterparts, the extent to which various national parental leave policies support or exclude queer families, and how Canadian leave policy can be modified to better affirm and accommodate queer families. I define queer families, or multiple family structures (MFS), as those family units whose composition is “non-normative.” Based on this context, there are two main objectives of this work: The first is to interrogate normative understandings of the family and the formation of public policy via Queer Theory by providing a theoretical overview and tracing the socio-historical significance of the family, especially throughout the development of early capitalism. The second goal is to produce an overview of parental leave policy across various comparable countries—Canada as the primary source of analysis, and the United States, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Sweden as cases for comparative analysis. This work contributes to the dearth of existing literature analyzing leave policy for MFS with a particular focus on the limits and shortcomings, as well as the seemingly best practices, of respective leave practices. I find that the extent to which MFS are accommodated for in leave policies is varied: Although queer families may be eligible for leave in these various countries, this inclusion is often limited to particular types of family units—typically those that more immediately resemble the traditional nuclear family. I conclude by posing policy suggestions based on international best practices to guide future Canadian policymaking in the direction of better accommodating “non-normative” families.
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    Complexity and Diversity in Union Formation, Pathways to Parenthood, and Union Dissolution in Canada
    (2023-09-28) Li, Zhuolin; Penning, Margaret; Lesperance, Mary
    Sociologists and demographers have long sought to investigate the patterns, correlates, and consequences of intimate relationships. With shifts in societal values and economic circumstances, we have gradually observed delays in and even retreats from marriage, the growing popularity of cohabitation, the growing prevalence of non-marital births, and the increasing instability of unions. Against the backdrop of these rapidly changing union and family experiences, this dissertation investigates recent developments in union formation, fertility, and union dissolution in Canada using the 2011 and 2017 General Social Surveys conducted by Statistics Canada. Findings from three studies are presented. The first study provides estimates of serial cohabitation prior to first marriage for Canadian women and men in three successive age cohorts (Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, Millennials). It also examines its risk factors and the joint risk of serial cohabitation and marriage among cohabitors. The study found that whereas the majority of women and men who experienced cohabitation had only one such relationship, approximately 11% of women and 13% of men experienced serial cohabitation before their first marriage. From Baby Boomers to Generation Xers, there was a more than a threefold increase in the prevalence of serial cohabitation. There were also notable regional differences in cohabitation experiences, with cohabitation being more common in Quebec than in other provinces in Canada. Women were more likely than men to transition from serial cohabitation to their first marriage, suggesting that cohabiting women may view cohabitation as a precursor to marriage while cohabiting men may view cohabitation as an alternative to marriage. The second study examines the prevalence, correlates and stability of pre-conception and post-conception marital and cohabiting unions among young women who bore children in Canada. The majority of first births occurred in the context of pre-conception marriages (72.47%), followed by post-conception marriages (10.25%), and a smaller proportion occurred in cohabiting unions established either before conception (9.20%) or after conception (3.20%). Compared to women in pre-conception marriages, women in all four other union types were more likely to belong to more recent cohorts and to be less educated, less likely to have been raised by biological or adoptive parents from birth to age 15, less religious, less likely to be immigrants, and less likely to live in urban areas. When considering the stability of these unions, the findings suggest that the type of union (cohabitation vs. marriage) has a greater impact on the risk of dissolution than the timing of union formation (pre-conception vs. post-conception). The third study focuses on the most common union and family life course trajectories experienced during the earlier years of adulthood among women and men in Canada aged 50 and over, and how these trajectories impact union disruption later in life. The study found that nearly 80% of respondents were in long-term ‘Marital unions with children’, while 1 in 10 had been ‘Single or cohabiting without children’ until age 50. The ‘Marriage without children’ trajectory accounted for 7% of respondents, while only 5% were in the ‘Cohabitation with children’ trajectory. Those who were ‘Single or cohabiting without children’ but who were married by age 50 were more likely to see these marital unions dissolve in later life whereas those who were ‘Married with children’ in early adulthood but who were cohabiting by age 50 were more likely to see these cohabiting unions dissolve in later life. In general, women had more complex and diverse trajectories than men. Women and those with more complex trajectories had a higher risk of marital union dissolution in middle and later life than men and those with less complex histories. In addition, Baby Boomers had a higher risk of divorce than pre-Baby Boomers. Education, although not related to marital union dissolution was positively associated with the odds of cohabiting union dissolution later in life. Finally, although people living in Quebec were more likely to experience marital union dissolution after age 50, there was no significant difference by province in cohabiting union dissolution. The findings of these studies improve our understanding of the current state of families in Canada. They offer crucial information that can be used to develop policies and programs aimed at enhancing the lives of Canadians and their families. By identifying the most common types of union and family life course trajectories as well as their correlates and outcomes, these studies can help policymakers make informed decisions about how best to support different family structures.
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    Embodied Gender Identities Through the Lens of Movement and Dance: A Phenomenological Study of Ballet Dancers in Action
    (2023-09-05) Sonik-Henderson, Dyana; Garlick, Steve
    Academic interest in and focus on gender binaries has led to a new expanded understanding of what defines male and female bodies and experiences. What was missing, however, was academic scholarship and research that predominantly focuses on gendered bodies in action as the primary source of knowledge/data collection. Ballet was introduced as a site for the study as it is a gendered art form that contains rich embodied data that has not been well explored or analyzed as a serious subject with regard to how it produces gender norms and how it might challenge them. Inspired by Judith Butlers theory of gender performativity, this research focuses on movement in the moment of creation, centres the body as the primary source of knowledge and the participants as the narrators of this knowledge. This was done by interviewing professional ballet dancers residing in B.C, starting the interview with a two minute improvisation exercise then allowing the dancers to interpret their movements guided by open ended interview questions. The findings found that most participants felt that it was beneficial to dance out their gender and were able to provide more natural and authentic answers than a traditional interview. The participants also were able to vocalize their experiences creating the moves and watching it back which uncovered multiple layered expressions and gendered narratives in their movement that they were unaware of or had not had the platform and/or opportunity to explore. This is an ongoing study with a small sample size, but by allowing the dancers to share their stories in the lens/scope/field then interpret the performance, this research uniquely responds to the promise of phenomenological methodology by examining alternative ways of documenting the nuances and complexities of gender and how they manifest through the embodied dancers experience.
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    AGI, All Too Human; Nietzsche and Artificial General Intelligence.
    (2023-09-01) Branston, Tyler; Vahabzadeh, Peyman
    Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are seen as the pinnacle of human technology, capable of intelligence beyond humans and a beyond-human capacity to know, create, and process the entirety of human knowledge. Contrary to popular assumptions supported by faith in science, technology is not neutral and contains within it the residual ideological assumptions of those who created it. The need, or will, to create particular technologies is indicated by cultural drives, which Nietzsche designates as the Will to Power. Nietzsche’s übermensch is an affirmation of life and becomes his solution to the problem of nihilism that results from the cultural unity of Platonism and Christianity. The übermensch affirms life and the body through the myth of eternal return and focuses on the importance and relevance of the world-in-itself, or physis, as a literal grounding principle for meaning and values in after the ‘death of God.’ Contrary to some popular claims about Nietzsche’s perceived support for trans/post-humanism, Nietzsche’s analysis points to the drives that take AGI as the manifestation of Platonic-Christian drives but presents the übermensch as a solution, where AGI would be the symptom. Offering an extensive interpretation of Nietzsche’ philosophy, this thesis presents a lineage of Nietzsche’s thought that demonstrates his creation of the übermensch and why AGI should be seen as its opposite. AGI becomes a necessity only for a secular Platonic-Christian culture that needs to resolve the problem of nihilism with a replacement of God in a material form resistant to the scrutiny of science. AGI should then be understood as a theological necessity to support and justify science and, therefore, will necessarily contain theological biases that would reify those created by Platonism and Christianity. The thesis concludes by discussing the implications of the contradiction of a technology that has become a secular-theological necessity and a material impossibility.
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    The Technological Appropriation of Time
    (2023-05-16) Freeman, Cole Marok; Vahabzadeh, Peyman
    According to Martin Heidegger, the essence of modern technology (ge-stell) is a way of revealing beings through a challenging-forth—that is, by having humans engage with nature in a reductive, technologically-mediated way. This thesis builds on this phenomenological understanding of being by extending the concept of the “challenging-forth” to include time and temporality. A close inspection shows that technology is predicated upon denying the amount of time taken to enact the challenging-forth in production. Technological logic reproduces itself through each instantiation of the challenging-forth, and this is what constitutes progress. In our age, technological logic is universal, meaning that it is true for all beings. Technology’s totalitarian reach reduces everything that the human can say, think, and do into a technological purview. This is what I seek to investigate in asking the following research question: How does technology reproduce itself through the human? This question, among others, constitutes the thrust of this thesis, which suggests that technology enforces a primordial way-to-be for the human, characterized by the manner of continuous running along, busyness, and the heightened concern for time. Technology brings us into close relations with time such that our temporality is structured in concert with gadgetry and other means, which has noteworthy consequences for the phenomenological experience of everyday life. Our concern with time is the residue of a technological logic that has enveloped the human—we have inherited this obsession in virtue of our thrownness into this age. Finally, this thesis poses the question: how can we let time be? We must disembark from technologically mediated concerns by learning how to let go of our obsession with time. The significance of this thesis is twofold. First, because it offers an initial, novel extension to Heidegger’s phenomenology; second, this analysis forces the attentive reader to slow down and observe the patterns of technology unfolding all around them. The multi-pronged approach of this thesis will serve as a benchmark for coming to grips with the bustling pace of life in the technological age.
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    On (De) Colonizing the Subaltern's Eyes: A Dissertation on the Intuitive Experiences of Iranian Women of the 1980's in the Age of Epistemic Exhaustion
    (2023-04-25) Naderinajafabadi, Sara; Vahabzadeh, Peyman
    This study offers a narrative of the development of the individual and collective senses of the Self of the Iranian women whose self-images have constantly been distorted, dehumanized and suppressed as part of the conflict between various intellectual and political discourses that claimed to represent, give voice to, or bestow salvation or freedom upon them. Through qualitative field research, this dissertation seeks to reveal the hidden yet chronic experiences of subalternity of women who have been robbed of both authentic voices necessary to narrate and authentic eyes necessary to perceive their true states of being. Ironically, these subaltern subjects are educated, urban, middle-class (mainly modern and enlightened) women of the 1980s generation. This research offers and depicts the multilayered structure of signification, representation, and domination – which in its totality, I call “Gestalt,” that deeply hegemonized all the grounds of articulation (the symbolic order) and imagination (the imaginary order) for Iranian, educated, middle-class women of this generation. After offering a discourse analysis of the intellectual and political discourses surrounding these women, I explore the major historical events of post-revolutionary Iran from their subjective perspective. I then embark on qualitative research to register their own narratives of their lived experiences. Lastly, I conclude that in the course of socialization and education, these women's voices of discontent have been deeply immersed in two counter-hegemonic discourses that the dominant Gestalt bestowed upon them: self-orientalist and self-psychological discourses. Colonized under the sovereignty of the Orientalist and androcentric dominant Gestalt, these two counter-hegemonic discourses controlled women’s utterances and imagination in perceiving their radically intuitive (non-hegemonized) experiences. Thus, the Iranian subaltern women may speak but cannot speak differently, even when their lives are radically different from all of the discursive boxes that were meant to frame their experiences. This condition also stripped the life-world of these women of any authentic critical capacity to imagine any open future beyond what has been already lived or imagined. I call this condition “epistemic exhaustion.” All experiences/feelings that could not fit into these frames remained silent and suppressed, and they revealed themselves only through painful, scattered subversions of these women's narratives. Ironically, these non-articulated pains, which I call radically intuitive experiences, shape the only field uncolonized by the dominant Gestalt. This dissertation also offers an invitation to intuitive practices – as the first step toward the decolonization of knowledge and Iranian subalterns – that reposition these non-articulated/non-colonized pains (radically intuitive experiences), as ineffable, unknown, and non-articulable as they are, from the margins to the center of our methodological and epistemological lens.
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    Exploring the Migration and Health Trajectories of Iranian Refugees in Canada
    (2023-04-19) Vaghefi, Sanam; Penning, Margaret
    This study focuses on the migration and health trajectories of Iranian refugees in Canada. More specifically, it addresses how post-2009 Iranian refugees in Canada understand and view their migration and health-related experiences. In addition, this research explores how Iranian refugees perform agency and power in the constrained frames of their migration and health trajectories. A phenomenological framework based on lived experiences is used to address these issues, together with intersectionality and political economy perspectives. Data are collected through qualitative interviews with 15 Iranian refugees as well as through online content published in weblogs and other websites. The results of this study illustrate that Iranian refugees have diverse migration trajectories, varying in terms of their pre-migration, waiting, and post-migration experiences. These diverse experiences shape their physical and mental health trajectories and access to healthcare. While refugee migration leads to lifestyle and health behavior changes affecting their physical health, their mental health is often affected by the trauma, grief, loss, stress, social isolation, and loneliness associated with displacement. Still, Iranian refugees perform agency in various ways in an effort to cope with these experiences.
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    Dishwasher Tetris experts and excellent meal planners: How fathers and mothers navigate foodwork and gender in the nuclear family
    (2022-12-21) Mills, John; Weiler, Anelyse
    Feeding the family is a core component of parenthood. Foodwork—the labour of acquiring, preparing, and consuming food—is a key site where parents ‘do’ gender in complex ways. Through their practices of foodwork, parents can reinforce traditional norms around fathering and mothering but also challenge and transform those norms. In my thesis, I examine this complex nature of foodwork through interviews with ten parents—seven fathers and three mothers—from seven heterosexual families in the Greater Victoria area of British Columbia. I explore how fathers describe and understand the roles that they play in family foodwork as well as how both parents navigate contemporary norms and expectations regarding foodwork in a nuclear family. I identify three roles in foodwork that fathers see for themselves, each with defining characteristics. These roles can align with hegemonic masculine norms that preserve men’s privilege to opt out of feeding their families. However, I also explore situations and contexts in which fathers use these roles to engage with family foodwork in thoughtful and caring ways that disrupt hegemonic masculinity. When fathers take on responsibility for foodwork, they can relieve some of the burden that neoliberal intensive mothering norms place on mothers. Parents in the nuclear family remain overwhelmingly responsible for foodwork, with limited support from broader communities. This thesis uplifts parents’ struggles and successes as they navigate shifting norms around foodwork, gender, and family.
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    Beyond the Ivory Tower: A First-Person Exploration of Navigating the Intersections of Academia and Community
    (2022-08-25) Barton-Bridges, Rachael; Ravelli, Bruce
    This autoethnographic study investigates my experience as a graduate student engaging in a collaborative and community-driven research project with the University 101 Learning Community. Building on the work of many scholars on the importance of putting research into practice, bringing academic knowledge beyond the campus, and working collaboratively with communities, this thesis investigates the following general research question: How does one graduate student describe the realities of doing community-driven research, including its opportunities and challenges? Specifically, my work aims to explore the lived and embodied experience of engaging in non-traditional research as a graduate student. My findings highlight the complexity of trust in the context of community-driven research, the challenges of resisting academic norms in alternative research models, and the opportunities for growth for students taking on this scholarship with commitment.
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    A Siri-ous Conversation about AI: Understanding Human Relationships with Artificial Intelligence
    (2022-08-25) Jesperson, Talya; Carroll, William K.; Sayers, Jentery
    Voice assistants are a remarkable example of the potential for AI to become further entwined with social life. However, they are produced by some of the world’s largest tech corporations and are rooted in capitalistic processes that depend on user data. This thesis presents a qualitative exploratory study of voice assistants. Through a combination of interviews and theoretical analysis, it focuses on participants’ perceptions and experiences with these AI agents and how they are embedded in the bigger picture of surveillance capitalism. The findings reveal the physical characteristics and personality traits that participants in this study ascribe to voice assistants, highlighting the implications of treating voice assistants as personified agents and the factors contributing to these perceptions. Further, this thesis examines how surveillance capitalism is present in participant interactions with these technologies and identifies how its reach into people’s lives is provoked by their design and background contexts. Lastly, it provides an overview of corporate power in the tech industry and how the structural, cultural, and political circumstances enable and legitimize big tech’s authority in digital environments and how this situates the individual and their capacity to contend with technological issues.
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    On Intra-Becoming: Beyond Egoic Individualism. A Decolonizing and Phenomenological Exploration of Youth Climate Justice Activists’ Lessons for Transformative Eco-Social Change on Turtle Island
    (2022-05-27) Nelems, Rebeccah; Vahabzadeh, Peyman
    At the heart of the intertwining eco-social crises we are currently facing on Turtle Island is a crisis of disconnect. Enacted by individualist and ego-centric lifeways, anthropocentric, capitalist and colonial institutions animate the dominant economic, cultural, political and social sphere in ways that systemically distort and structurally thwart the inherent relationality of existence. (Up)rooted in an us/them ontology of individualist disconnect, these individualist institutions generate hierarchies and structures of violence that dominate, extract from, and exploit peoples and earth. This notwithstanding, a potent ontology of inter-connectedness remains in our midst. For millennia, Indigenous nations and communities on Turtle Island have enacted eco-centric and relational lifeways rooted in Indigenous knowledges. Additionally, a growing turn towards the “relational” is observable across a diversity of social, economic, political and climate justice movements. Everyday acts of Indigenous resurgence and pluralistic expressions of citizenship challenge the settledness, naturalization, legitimacy and adequacy of hegemonic institutions: if they perpetuate the same ontology of disconnect responsible for the eco-social crises we face, how can they generate the solutions? Standing at the threshold of the wildly divergent futures that the above lifeways promise, youth climate justice activists are non-consenting heirs who refuse ego-centric lifeways and their logic of disconnect. This dissertation analytically considers the critical lessons and insights that young Indigenous and non-Indigenous climate justice activists across Turtle Island (Canada, Mexico, US) offer to decolonizing lifeways and institutions. Specifically, it examines the wisdom and demands of 200 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, adults and Elders articulated through a regional consultation on the rights of children and youth to a healthy environment – the Phoenix Consultation – held in 2021 – to inform the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment. These youth climate activists articulate relational ontologies in ways that chart pathways for decolonizing hegemonic institutions, leveraging the institutions themselves to do so. Specifically, they utilize children’s rights to advance counter-hegemonic lexicons of Indigenous sovereignty, eco-social justice and deep diversity. Children’s rights, when transformed by these youth climate activists, become the inherent rights of all beings to enact and live in relationship. Drawing on the teachings of Indigenous theorists and scholars, “connection” emerges as the experience of enacting ourselves as nature and relationships (not as humans or individuals) in ways that render visible individualist lifeways and systems. Within an eco-social intra-subjective lifeworld that entails both ontological dimensions of connection and disconnect, youth climate activists affirm that the shift from ego-centric to eco-centric is not a process across time, but a possibility always already available to all. However, they show that this relationality must be enacted in ways that structurally disrupt individualist orders to be transformative of self, relationality and world. Connection thus offers a basis through which the interpellative power of individualism is defused and hegemonic consent might be withdrawn or refused. Transdisciplinary in scope, this dissertation humbly draws on the wisdom of Indigenous theorists and scholars on Turtle Island, youth climate activists engaged in the Phoenix Consultation, decolonizing and Southern epistemologists, phenomenologists, deep ecologists, political sociologists, eco-socialist and political theorists, (com)post-humanists, and nature. It proposes a theoretical framework of intra-becoming to explore the relationships between eco-centric and ego-centric lifeways on relational grounds. This dissertation also examines the role that decolonizing, relational modes of engagement play in eco-social transformative change.
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    Freedom v. Protection (v. Fence-sitting) narratives in the euthanasia debate: a qualitative narrative policy analysis of Canadian media from 2007-2017
    (2022-01-04) Bethune, Keely D.; Gray, Garry
    In 2016, Gray and Jones adapted the narrative policy framework (NPF) to a qualitative context. In this research, I build from their resulting Qualitative NPF (Q-NPF) method to analyze 300 randomly selected Canadian media articles published between 2007-2017 on the topic of Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID). I begin by explaining how the concrete procedures of MAID are distinct from other end-of-life practices, and introduce the terminology that will be used throughout this research. I then introduce historic and academic literature relevant to the form and content of the contemporary media narratives to be analyzed, especially drawing theoretically from Rose’s (2013) discussion of biomedical personhood discourses and Butler’s theory of unevenly distributed precarity. I then explain the methodology of qualitative narrative policy analysis (Q-NPF), and apply it to Canada’s MAID debate by dividing the policy positions into what I call the Freedom, Protection, and Fence-sitting narrative policy camps. The Freedom camp advocated for MAID legalization; the Protection camp advocated against MAID legalization; and the Fence-sitting camp avoided advocating either for or against baseline legalization of MAID, instead weighing in only on peripheral issues. I discuss the qualitative differences of narrative content specific to these three camps, highlighting the most prominent narrative trends (by frequency of publication) and discussing the ways in which these findings either accord with or contradict the expectations of the literature review. Finally, I update the reader on Canadian legislative developments since 2017 and identify how the data of 2007-2017 anticipated these developments, demonstrating the salience and predictive power of Q-NPF. I conclude by proposing new directions for potential investigation.
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    Spirituality as a means of resilience for women recovering from intimate partner abuse
    (2022-01-04) Nadal, Samantha; Smith, Andre
    Intimate partner abuse is a prevalent social concern which causes long-term physical, emotional, and cognitive effects on survivors. Studies suggest that spirituality is a useful resource for individuals recovering from trauma related to intimate partner abuse, however, more research is needed to understand the intricate ways spirituality contributes to the recovery process. Through a qualitative approach, this study examines the ways in which women who have experienced intimate partner abuse use spirituality in the process of coping and recovering. Open-ended interviews were conducted with eight women who have experienced intimate partner abuse and identified spirituality as an essential part of their lives. The results uncovered specific belief systems underlining each participant’s sense of spirituality, as well as practices, rituals, and behaviors they engaged in during their experiences in coping and recovery. Participants reported spirituality as a means of reclaiming one’s sense-of-self and as fostering empowerment in the aftermath of intimate partner abuse. They also indicated that spirituality fostered forgiveness and self-compassion, and helped them cope with the long-term effects of trauma including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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    Unmasking workers in the Victoria, BC restaurant community: women's serving experiences before and during the COVID-19 pandemic
    (2021-12-13) Kostuchuk, Jennifer; Ravelli, Bruce
    This exploratory study investigates the serving experiences of seven women with work experience in the Victoria, BC restaurant community before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Informed by work from Erving Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis on social performance and Candace West and Don Zimmerman’s ideas on doing gender, my overall goal is to answer the following research question(s): How do women servers in Victoria, BC perceive their restaurant work and has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced their serving experiences? Specifically, if the pandemic has changed the industry, what are these key changes, and might they affect the future of restaurant work? The research findings reveal that Canadian restaurants are gendered worksites, and while the pandemic facilitated some positive changes for servers it also surfaced longstanding restaurant concerns.
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    The challenges farmers face at Vancouver Island’s farmers’ markets
    (2021-09-17) Glatt, Kora Liegh; McMahon, Martha
    Farmers’ markets are often thought to be the hallmark of the local food movement. However, there appears to be relatively little research which considers farmers’ experiences there. Drawing on 12 open-ended interviews with 16 farmers on Vancouver Island, BC, I explore how farmers’ markets support small-scale farmers, although they are losing farmer focus. I explore three key themes in this research: mainstream economic assessments of farmers’ markets, how consumer culture affects small-scale farmers, and whether organic certification works for small-scale farmers. The intent of my research is not only to consider farmers’ experiences at farmers’ markets, but to show how to improve their current organization on Vancouver Island and elsewhere. As such, this refocuses farmers’ markets back to local food, small-scale ecological farming, and food sovereignty.
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    White collar crime perspectives on deregulation under Trump
    (2021-09-13) Deschner, Finn; Gray, Garry
    This thesis employs a qualitative content analysis of media sources to investigate the erosion of controls on elite actors under the Trump administration. Findings demonstrate the emergence of an aggressive new trend of deregulatory politics, involving the wholesale disarming of a wide range of regulatory bodies and regulators, removal of protective policies and safety nets for consumers, minority populations, and the environmental sphere. Concerningly, much of the rhetoric through which such actions are justified opposes rational modes of governance and further polarizes U.S. racial divides while undermining the media, courts and legal structures, and the scientific community as external regulators. This populist bent belies the extent to which neoliberal continuities are maintained and expanded. These aggressive changes foreshadow increasing opportunities for white-collar crime and elite deviance, as elite actors are left to self-regulate and navigate a fast-changing and nebulous regulatory landscape with lacking oversight and accountability. The implications of these findings are significant to the field of white-collar crime, suggesting a widening arena of opportunity for elite deviance and warranting a renewed challenge to crimes of the powerful.
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    An uncomfortable city: a community-based investigation of hostile architecture
    (2021-08-20) Annan, Jessica; Carroll, William K.
    Hostile architecture is a medium through which social exclusion is enacted in the public and common areas of our cities. By limiting who is allowed to occupy space, and how they may do so, it functions to define the contours of inclusion in urban space-- all of which is predicated on one’s engagement with the zones of consumerism that have overtaken the cities’ commons. As a result, those without the means to partake are pushed aside, despite the inner-cities’ historical relationships with the poor, unhoused, and marginalized. The purpose of this study is to explore how lived experiences and knowledge of discriminatory architecture can inform a sociological analysis of hostile architecture. By exploring hostile architecture in Calgary, this thesis addresses a specific question: How do people with lived experience of homelessness understand hostile architecture? Through Community-Based Participatory Research and Photovoice, this question is addressed through collaboration with community members with lived experience of homelessness. Collectively, we conclude that those with lived experiences of homelessness understand hostile architecture in a multitude of ways. Amongst these understandings is the notion that hostile architecture not only excludes and displaces the unhoused and marginalized, but that it is also part and parcel of the wider range of hostilities against those experiencing homeless. One key theoretical concept grounds the research. Henri Lefebvre’s ‘Right to the City’ is used as a starting point in discussing what an equitable city might look like. I maintain that the lived experiences and knowledge held by those with experiences of homelessness can sensitize the public, and inform regional and national policymakers about this exclusionary mechanism.
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    Comedy knows no caste: Nation and caste in English political stand-up comedy on the Internet in India
    (2021-08-18) Ganguly, Shreyashi; Carroll, William K
    Scholarship on humour in the Indian context has hardly looked at how performative humour or comedy intersects with the different axes of social stratification to impact caste groups perched at a disadvantageous position. And although English stand-up comedy in the country is gradually being recognized as an important facet of contemporary popular culture, efforts to see how this genre of performative humour aids and abets caste discrimination is still largely missing in the academic discourse. This study is an attempt to address this knowledge gap. By considering English political stand-up comedy as a subgenre of the wider performative art form, it aims to determine how comedians use political humour to critique the dominant understanding of the nation that the Indian State is trying to peddle to its citizens, and more importantly, if caste forms an analytical tool that informs their critique. This study uses a qualitative discourse analysis methodology to study precisely how caste finds representation in the comedians’ critique of the nation. It selects six political stand-up comedians and examines all of their stand-up comedy clips available for viewing on YouTube. By using a range of theoretical concepts, this research attempts to recognize the important connection between caste and political humour in India. It finds that English political stand-up comedy in India is anti-ritualistic as well as hegemonic. Comedians raise difficult, politically charged topics, normalize the critique of important political developments through humour and in doing this, negotiate the boundaries of free speech. They promote new understandings about the nation that is in stark contrast to the dominant ideology. But at the same time, the domain of English political stand-up comedy is not representative of caste questions. Comedians hardly ever talk about caste, and even when they do, it is mostly a passing remark or a hurried reference. Caste is also not represented in the comedians’ identities since most of them hail from upper caste backgrounds. English political stand-up comedy, then, in spite of its democratizing potential, reflects and reproduces the caste bias inherent in the broader national public sphere. These research findings prompt a discussion on caste in popular culture and institute political humour as a legitimate entry point into the sociological analysis of Indian society.