Faculty Publications (Social Sciences)

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    Finger fluting in prehistoric caves: A critical analysis of the evidence for children, sexing and tracing of individuals
    (Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 2024) Walshe, Keryn; Nowell, April; Floyd, Bruce
    Finger flutings are channels drawn in soft sediments covering walls, floors and ceilings of some limestone caves in Europe and Australia and in some cases date as far back as 50,000 years ago. Initial research focused on why they were made, but more recently, as part of a growing interest in the individual in the past, researchers began asking questions about who made them. This shift in direction has led to claims that by measuring the width of flutings made with the three middle fingers of either hand, archaeologists can infer the ordinal age, sex and individuality of the ‘fluter’. These claims rest on a single dataset created in 2006. In this paper, we undertake the first critical analysis of that dataset and its concomitant methodologies. We argue that sample size, uneven distribution of sex and age within the sample, non-standardised medium, human variability, the lack of comparability between an experimental context and real cave environments and assumptions about demographic modelling effectively negate all previous claims. To sum, we find no substantial evidence for the claims that an age, sex and individual tracing can be revealed by measuring finger flutings as described by Sharpe and Van Gelder (Antiquity 80: 937-947, 2006a; Cambridge Archaeological Journal 16: 281–95, 2006b; Rock Art Research 23: 179–98, 2006c). As a case study, we discuss Koonalda Cave in southern Australia. Koonalda has the largest and most intact display of finger flutings in the world and is also part of a cultural landscape maintained and curated by Mirning people.
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    Growing up Gravettian: Bioarchaeological perspectives on adolescence in the European Mid-Upper Paleolithic
    (Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 2022) French, Jennifer C.; Nowell, April
    Adolescence is a stage of development unique to the human life course, during which key social, physical, and cognitive milestones are reached. Nonetheless, both the experience of adolescence and the role(s) of adolescents in the past have received little scholarly attention. Here we combine a broad interpretative framework for adolescence among prehistoric hunter-gatherers with direct bioarchaeological (burial) data to examine the lives of teenagers in the European Mid-Upper Paleolithic or Gravettian (∼35–25,000 years ago). Comparisons of the burial practices of individuals of different age classes (infant, child, adolescent, adult), as well as between adolescents who died at different ages, reveal some patterns related to adolescence in these communities, including 1) fewer distinctions based on sex among adolescents compared to adults; 2) differences between the sexes in age-at-death within our ‘adolescent’ age class—with females disproportionally dying later—potentially indicating high risks associated with first pregnancy; 3) distinctions in grave goods and diet among adolescents of different ages-at-death which we tentatively interpret as providing an emic perspective on the beginning of adolescence as defined by Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. Nonetheless, our analysis supports long-standing models of a distinct, continent-wide European Mid-Upper Paleolithic funerary tradition, with the burial data expressing social cohesion, rather than social distinctions, between age classes.
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    Rethinking Neandertals
    (Annual Review of Anthropology, 2023) Nowell, April
    In this article, I first provide an overview of the Neandertals by recounting their initial discovery and subsequent interpretation by scientists and by discussing our current understanding of the temporal and geographic span of these hominins and their taxonomic affiliation. I then explore what progress we have made in our understanding of Neandertal lifeways and capabilities over the past decade in light of new technologies and changing perspectives. In the process, I consider whether these advances in knowledge qualify as so-called Black Swans, a term used in economics to describe events that are rare and unpredictable and have wide-ranging consequences, in this case for the field of paleoanthropology. Building on this discussion, I look at ongoing debates and focus on Neandertal extinction as a case study. By way of discussion and conclusion, I take a detailed look at why Neandertals continue to engender great interest, and indeed emotion, among scientists and the general public alike.
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    Children and innovation: Play, play objects and object play in cultural evolution
    (Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2021) Riede, Felix; Walsh, Matthew J.; Nowell, April; Langley, Michelle; Johannsen, Niels N.
    Cultural evolutionary theory conceptualises culture as an information-transmission system whose dynamics take on evolutionary properties. Within this framework, however, innovation has been likened to random mutations, reducing its occurrence to chance or fortuitous transmission error. In introducing the special collection on children and innovation, we here place object play and play objects – especially functional miniatures – from carefully chosen archaeological contexts in a niche construction perspective. Given that play, including object play, is ubiquitous in human societies, we suggest that plaything construction, provisioning and use have, over evolutionary timescales, paid substantial selective dividends via ontogenetic niche modification. Combining findings from cognitive science, ethology and ethnography with insights into hominin early developmental life-history, we show how play objects and object play probably had decisive roles in the emergence of innovative capabilities. Importantly, we argue that closer attention to play objects can go some way towards addressing changes in innovation rates that occurred throughout human biocultural evolution and why innovations are observable within certain technological domains but not others.
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    Evaluating the evidence for lunar calendars in Upper Palaeolithic parietal art
    (Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 2024) Nowell, April; Bahn, Paul; Le Quellec, Jean-Loïc
    In this paper, we examine the lunar calendar interpretation to evaluate whether it is a viable explanation for the production of Upper Palaeolithic parietal art. We consider in detail the history of this approach, focusing on recently published variations on this interpretation. We then discuss the scientific method and whether these recent studies are designed to address the research questions necessary to test a lunar calendar hypothesis. More broadly, we explore challenges related to inferring meaning in art of the deep past, the use of secondary sources and selecting appropriate ethnographic analogies. Finally, we assess claims that the lunar calendar interpretation documents the world's oldest (proto)writing system. We conclude that the lunar calendar interpretation as currently construed suffers from multiple theoretical and methodological weaknesses preventing it from being a viable explanation for the production of Upper Palaeolithic art. We further find that claims following from this interpretation to have discovered the oldest known (proto)writing system are unsubstantiated.
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    Care of infants in the past: Bridging evolutionary anthropological and bioarchaeological approaches
    (Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2020) Halcrow, Siân; Warren, Ruth; Kushnick, Geoff; Nowell, April
    The importance of care of infants and children in palaeoanthropological and human behavioural ecological research on the evolution of our species is evident in the diversity of research on human development, alloparental care, and learning and social interaction. There has been a recent surge of interest in modelling the social implications of care provision for people with serious disabilities in bioarchaeology. However, there is a lack of acknowledgement of infant and child care in bioarchaeology, despite the significant labour and resources that are required, and the implications this has for health outcomes within societies. Drawing on the recent proliferation of studies on infancy and childhood in evolutionary anthropology and bioarchaeology, this paper presents ways the subdisciplines may draw on research developments from each field to advance a more holistic understanding of the evolutionary, social and health significance of infant and children care in the past.
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    Adolescence and innovation in the European Upper Palaeolithic
    (Evolutionary Human Sciences, 2020) Nowell, April; French, Jennifer C.
    Childhood and adolescence are two stages of development that are unique to the human life course. While childhood in the Pleistocene has received considerable attention in recent years, adolescence during the same period remains an understudied area of research. Yet it is during adolescence that key social, physical and cognitive milestones are reached. Thus, through studying adolescents, there is enormous potential for improving our understanding of Upper Palaeolithic lifeways more broadly. The reason for the dearth of these types of studies may be the perceived methodological difficulty of identifying adolescents in the archaeological record. In many ways, it is easier to distinguish children (sensu lato) from adults based on size, developmental age and associated artefacts. Adolescents, however, are often seen as more ambiguous, more liminal. Working within an evolutionary framework and using a definition of adolescence rooted in biology, we draw on psychology, ethnography and palaeodemography to develop a model of what it might have meant to be a ‘teenager’ in the European Upper Palaeolithic. Citing the biological, social and cognitive changes that occur during this life stage, we propose an important role of teenagers in the origins and spread of new ideas and innovations throughout the Late Pleistocene.
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    Influence of ecotourism on grizzly bear activity depends on salmon abundance in the Atnarko River corridor, Nuxalk Territory
    (Conservation Science and Practice, 2024) Field, Kate A.; Short, Monica; Moody, Jason; Artelle, Kyle; Bourbonnais, Mathieu; Paquet, Paul; Darimont, Chris T.
    Ecotourism management can draw on theory and data related to non-consumptive effects of risk on wildlife. The asset protection principle (APP) predicts that variable food supply and its associated risks will affect antipredator behavior; responses to predation risk should dominate when food reserves are high, while nutritional risk becomes more important when food reserves are limited. Additionally, the human shield hypothesis (HSH) describes how some individuals might seek human presence if it repels potential sources of risk. Using camera traps, we used generalized linear mixed effects and multinomial regression models to test components of the APP and HSH where ecotourism co-occurs with grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) foraging during hyperphagia. When salmon abundance was high (+1 SD), bear activity (weekly detections) decreased by 13% with every 100 visitors/week. Under low salmon conditions, bear activity increased with visitor numbers, creating ‘high bear-high visitor’ conditions. Consistent with HSH, detection data revealed an increased likelihood of detecting subordinate age-sex classes compared with adult males when visitor numbers were high. Our findings suggest that when salmon are low, managers might consider limiting visitors to mitigate disturbance. More broadly, understanding how wildlife allocate antipredator behavior as a function of risk and food can inform conservation science and practice.
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    Quantitative analysis of mass mortality events in salmon aquaculture shows increasing scale of fish loss events around the world
    (Scientific Reports, 2024) Singh, Gerald; Sajid, Zaman; Mather, Charles
    Globally, salmon aquaculture promises to contribute to sustainable sources of animal protein for a growing human population. However, the growth of the industry also includes increased reports of mass mortality events—disaster events where large numbers of fish die in short periods of time. As salmon production increases in scale and more technology is used to grow salmon in contexts otherwise not suited for them, there is a possibility for more frequent and more severe mortality events. Despite investigations into specific cases of mass mortality events—no global study has been conducted to see if large scale mortality is increasing in frequency and scale. Using a global dataset of publicly available and government-collated data on salmon mortality events including nations responsible for the majority of salmon aquaculture, we document trends in mortality events, showing that in some of the major salmon producing nations of the world (in particular Norway, Canada, and the UK), mass mortality events have increased in frequency from 2012 to 2022. We also show that the scope of mass mortality events has increased over time—that is, the upper bound of how many fish were killed in a specific mortality event has increased over time. Finally, the expected maximum size of a mass mortality event differs from country to country, but is likely much larger than site and jurisdictional thresholds of concern for animal welfare, early warning thresholds, and capacity to respond to mortality events. The consequences of the increased scale and scope of mass mortality events extend past aquaculture production to include severe consequences to aquaculture companies and to coastal communities who depend on aquaculture. Our results agree with predictions of the concept of “manufactured risk”, which suggests that risk emerges from the aggressive use of technology to optimize production in variable environments, and we argue that there is a need for more fine-scale and standard data collection on salmon mortality events, and that future investigations into salmon aquaculture should increase focus on disaster potential and realization.
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    Psilocybin’s effects on cognition and creativity: A scoping review
    (Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2023) Bonnieux, Justin Nicolas; VanderZwaag, Baeleigh; Premji, Zahra; Garcia-Romeu, Albert; Garcia-Barrera, Mauricio A.
    Background: Research on psilocybin has become increasingly popular during the current psychedelic renaissance, which began in the early 1990s. Psilocybin’s effects on mental health are promising and there are ongoing efforts to investigate its clinical implementation and its effects on cognition. Aims: The purpose of this study is to report trends in publications, methods, and findings from research examining the effects of psilocybin on cognition and creativity in adults. Methods: We conducted an Open Science Framework preregistered scoping review, guided by the JBI Manual for Evidence Synthesis, on literature pertaining to psilocybin’s effects on cognition and creativity. Results/outcomes: In the 42 included studies, psilocybin was primarily administered orally (83%) in a bodyweight-adjusted manner (74%) to healthy participants (90%). Of the few studies that explicitly reported safety outcomes (26%), only one reported serious adverse reactions. During the acute phase post-intake (i.e., minutes to hours), macrodoses tended to impair cognitive performance and creativity, whereas microdoses tended toward creative enhancement. The few macrodosing studies that included post-acute measures (i.e., 1–85 days) reported primarily null but some positive effects. Conclusions/interpretation: This scoping review identified a time-based variation of psilocybin macrodosing effects on cognition and creativity, in which impairment may be observed early post-intake but withdraw over time, and some positive effects may emerge afterward. These findings are limited by methodological concerns and inadequate assessment of long-term effects. We therefore recommend that future psilocybin research be conducted according to existing guidelines and include well-validated measures of cognition and creativity at multiple timepoints.
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    From tip to toes: Mapping community energy models in Canada and New Zealand
    (Energy Policy, 2018) Hoicka, Christina E.; MacArthur, Julie L.
    Community energy is associated with a wide range of benefits, for example, providing new social mechanisms for learning, facilitating economic development, and in engaging local populations in energy policy implementation. However, empirical research continues to uncover many differences in the specific forms, functions and policy settings that relate to community initiatives across jurisdictions. This paper examines community energy projects in Canada and New Zealand, two understudied countries with high per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, distinct practices of community energy, and Indigenous community participation. This comparison reveals a range of striking differences in what communities do and how community energy projects are structured. We use institutional theories to highlight the role of incumbent resources, actors, and political context to explain the variations of forms and functions of community energy. We provide a reconceptualization of community energy practice as a much broader in both energy activity and ownership structure than presented in much of the current literature. The distinct national practices of community energy found are explained predominantly by the policy settings: less privatization and more new renewable energy support in some Canadian provinces, with more uniform liberalization and legal support for trusts in New Zealand.
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    “By and for local people”: Assessing the connection between local energy plans and community energy
    (Local Environment, 2019) Morrissey Wyse, Susan; Hoicka, Christina E.
    “Community energy” (CE) is argued to be an opportunity to transition to low-carbon energy systems while creating additional benefits for local communities. CE is defined as energy initiatives that place a high degree of emphasis on participation of local community members through ownership and control, where through doing so, benefits are created for the community. The trend has seen considerable growth in many countries over the last decade. Occurring simultaneously is a trend for individual communities to create their own Local Energy Plans (LEPs)—a planning process that articulates energy-related actions for a local community (e.g. municipality). While CE and LEPs both address energy activities in a local context, any further connection between these trends remains unclear. This research develops a framework, based on CE and LEP literature, to assess LEPs for their relevance to CE. The research analyses 77 LEPs from across Canada for the ways in which they address the three components that define CE: community participation, community ownership, and community capacity. The main findings are that LEPs have emerged as a process that is both relevant to CE and capable of strategically addressing its components. Despite this, LEPs do not appear to reveal a radically different approach to the “closed and institutional” models of traditional community involvement practices. The investigation suggests that for CE advocates, LEPs may be considered to be an important avenue to pursue CE ambitions. LEPs could increase their relevance to CE by improving the processes and actions related to all three CE components.
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    Environmental DNA from multiple pathogens is elevated near active Atlanic salmon farms
    (Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2020) Shea, Dylan; Bateman, Andrew; Li, Shaorong; Tabata, Amy; Schulze, Angela D.; Mordecai, Gideon J.; Ogston, Lindsey; Volpe, John P.; Frazer, L. Neil; Connors, Brendan; Miller, Kristina M.; Short, Steven; Krkošek, Martin
    The spread of infection from reservoir host populations is a key mechanism for disease emergence and extinction risk and is a management concern for salmon aquaculture and fisheries. Using a quantitative environmental DNA methodology, we assessed pathogen environmental DNA in relation to salmon farms in coastal British Columbia, Canada, by testing for 39 species of salmon pathogens (viral, bacterial, and eukaryotic) in 134 marine environmental samples at 58 salmon farm sites (both active and inactive) over 3 years. Environmental DNA from 22 pathogen species was detected 496 times and species varied in their occurrence among years and sites, likely reflecting variation in environmental factors, other native host species, and strength of association with domesticated Atlantic salmon. Overall, we found that the probability of detecting pathogen environmental DNA (eDNA) was 2.72 (95% CI: 1.48, 5.02) times higher at active versus inactive salmon farm sites and 1.76 (95% CI: 1.28, 2.42) times higher per standard deviation increase in domesticated Atlantic salmon eDNA concentration at a site. If the distribution of pathogen eDNA accurately reflects the distribution of viable pathogens, our findings suggest that salmon farms serve as a potential reservoir for a number of infectious agents; thereby elevating the risk of exposure for wild salmon and other fish species that share the marine environment.
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    Grey wolves (Canis lupus) shift selection of anthropogenic landscape features following predator control in the Nearctic boreal forest
    (Biological Conservation, 2024) Baillie-David, Katherine; Volpe, John P.; Burton, A. Cole; Fisher, Jason T.
    Conserving endangered species sometimes involves killing their predators. In the case of Nearctic wolves (Canis lupus), rarely are lethal control measures examined for ancillary effects on predator behaviour or community responses in a before-after design. We examined wolf relative abundance and spatial distribution in a northwestern boreal forest landscape for three years before and after the onset of wolf culling intended to conserve threatened woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou). We hypothesized that wolf occurrence would increase with density of anthropogenic features created by landscape development before the cull, but that wolves would avoid anthropogenic features after the cull due to associated mortality risk. We used generalized linear models in an information-theoretic framework to weigh evidence for our hypotheses. Post-control, independent wolf detections decreased to 24 % of pre-cull numbers, but wolves maintained 75 % of their distribution. Pre-control, wolves were positively associated with linear features, presumably for hunting efficiency, but post-cull wolves were negatively associated with these features. Thus, wolf control caused not only a numerical reduction of wolf numbers, but also a functional change in wolf behaviour that could further reduce predation pressure on caribou. However, post cull wolf occurrence was more strongly associated with anthropogenic block features which provide forage for alternate prey, potentially subsidizing their fast recovery. Conservation actions involving predator mortality alter landscape-scale distributions and behaviors of surviving predators, with potential indirect effects for the mammal community.
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    Bionovelty and ecological restoration
    (Restoration Ecology, 2024) Volpe, John P.; Higgs, Eric; Jeschke, Jonathan M.; Barnhill, Katie; Brunk, Conrad; Dudney, Joan; Govers, Laura; Hobbs, Richard; Keenleyside, Karen; Murphy, Stephen D.; Seddon, Philip J.; Sudweeks, Jayce; Telhan, Orkan; Voicescu, Sonia
    Anthropogenic activity has irreparably altered the ecological fabric of Earth. The emergence of ecological novelty from diverse drivers of change is an increasingly challenging dimension of ecosystem restoration. At the same time, the restorationist's tool kit continues to grow, including a variety of powerful and increasingly prevalent technologies. Thus, ecosystem restoration finds itself at the center of intersecting challenges. How should we respond to increasingly common emergence of environmental system states with little or no historical precedent, whilst considering the appropriate deployment of potentially consequential and largely untested interventions that may give rise to organisms, system states, and/or processes that are likewise without historical precedent? We use the term bionovelty to encapsulate these intersecting themes and examine the implications of bionovelty for ecological restoration.
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    Cumulative effects of human footprint, natural features and predation risk best predict seasonal resource selection by white-tailed deer
    (Scientific Reports, 2022) Darlington, Siobhan; Ladle, Andrew; Burton, A. Cole; Volpe, John P.; Fisher, Jason T.
    Land modified for human use alters matrix shape and composition and is a leading contributor to global biodiversity loss. It can also play a key role in facilitating range expansion and ecosystem invasion by anthrophilic species, as it can alter food abundance and distribution while also influencing predation risk; the relative roles of these processes are key to habitat selection theory. We researched these relative influences by examining human footprint, natural habitat, and predator occurrence on seasonal habitat selection by range-expanding boreal white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the oil sands of western Canada. We hypothesized that polygonal industrial features (e.g. cutblocks, well sites) drive deer distributions as sources of early seral forage, while linear features (e.g. roads, trails, and seismic lines) and habitat associated with predators are avoided by deer. We developed seasonal 2nd -order resource selection models from three years of deer GPS-telemetry data, a camera-trap-based model of predator occurrence, and landscape spatial data to weigh evidence for six competing hypotheses. Deer habitat selection was best explained by the combination of polygonal and linear features, intact deciduous forest, and wolf (Canis lupus) occurrence. Deer strongly selected for linear features such as roads and trails, despite a potential increased risk of wolf encounters. Linear features may attract deer by providing high density forage opportunity in heavily exploited landscapes, facilitating expansion into the boreal north.
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    An interspecific foraging association with polar bears increases foraging opportunities for avian predators in a declining Arctic seabird colony
    (Ecology and Evolution, 2024) Barnas, Andrew; Simone, Cassandra ; Geldart, Erica; Love, Oliver; Jagielski, Patrick; Gilchrist, H. Grant; Richardson, Evan; Dey, Cody; Semeniuk, Christina
    Interspecific foraging associations (IFAs) are biological interactions where two or more species forage in association with each other. Climate-induced reductions in Arctic sea ice have increased polar bear (Ursus maritimus) foraging in seabird colonies, which creates foraging opportunities for avian predators. We used drone video of bears foraging within a common eider (Somateria mollissima) colony on East Bay Island (Nunavut, Canada) in 2017 to investigate herring gull (Larus argentatus) foraging in association with bears. We recorded nest visitation by gulls following n = 193 eider flushing events from nests during incubation. The probability of gulls visiting eider nests increased with higher number of gulls present (β = 0.14 ± 0.03 [SE], p < .001) and for nests previously visited by a bear (β = 1.14 ± 0.49 [SE], p < .02). In our model examining the probability of gulls consuming eggs from nests, we failed to detect statistically significant effects for the number of gulls present (β = 0.09 ± 0.05 [SE], p < .07) or for nests previously visited by a bear (β = −0.92 ± 0.71 [SE], p < .19). Gulls preferred to visit nests behind bears (χ2 = 18, df = 1, p < .0001), indicating gulls are risk averse in the presence of polar bears. Our study provides novel insights on an Arctic IFA, and we present evidence that gulls capitalize on nests made available due to disturbance associated with foraging bears, as eiders disturbed off their nest allow gulls easier access to eggs. We suggest the IFA between gulls and polar bears is parasitic, as gulls are consuming terrestrial resources which would have eventually been consumed by bears. This finding has implications for estimating the energetic contribution of bird eggs to polar bear summer diets in that the total number of available clutches to consume may be reduced due to avian predators.
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    What democratic policing is … and is not
    (Policing and Society, 2020) Bonner, Michelle
    Democratic policing is a multidimensional, multilevel, and contested concept rooted in political ideology. It is not singular or politically neutral. I argue there are four typologies of democratic policing: right, centre-right, centre-left, and left. In Latin America, in the 1980s and 1990s, countries went through the dual processes of democratisation and the implementation of neoliberal economic policies. The latter increased inequality in wealth and led to deeply divisive debates regarding the place of equality and violence in the definition of democracy. Putting aside these debates on the meaning of democracy, police reform projects in Latin America have embraced community-oriented policing as synonymous with democratic policing. Yet, democratic policing is not a singular concept and political debates matter to its various meanings. The article uses Goertz’s (2006. Social science concepts: a user’s guide. Princeton University Press) three-level concept analysis to assess the theoretical similarities and differences between the four types of democratic policing. It then tests the theory with empirical data from the cases studies of Argentina (Menem and Kirchners) and Chile (Bachelet and Piñera). The case studies are informed by field research in both countries (2006–2015), and draw on media and human rights reports as well as secondary data. The study finds a gap between theory and practice that calls for more research on policy convergence. More importantly, it reveals the need to situate ideal definitions of democratic policing within political debates on democracy, paying close attention to the role of political ideology.
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    Philanthropic organisations advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in the net-zero carbon economy in Canada
    (2022) Hoicka, Christina E.; Coutinho, Aline; Zhao, Yuxu; Conroy, Jessica
    Governments of all levels, businesses, and civil society organisations in Canada are committing or beginning to transition to a net zero carbon economy. The pathways of such transition are still uncertain, and there is nothing intrinsic to a net zero carbon economy that will ensure a more inclusive and fair future. The McConnell Foundation is dedicated to supporting an equitable and inclusive transition to a net zero carbon economy, in an effort to promote a transition that will create socioeconomic opportunities for all Canadians and permanent residents in Canada. Nonetheless, little is known about what civil society organisations are engaging in the net zero carbon economy in the Canadian context, and what strategies they are setting in place to support an inclusive transition to a net zero carbon future. The McConnell Foundation strives to develop an internal framework for evaluating equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) of its granting portfolio and provide ongoing support to improve EDI with partners. Additionally, it seeks to provide support to those who are currently marginalised or excluded from the transition to a net-zero carbon economy, as well as those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This report is intended to address this gap, and to inform the McConnell Foundation’s strategies to promote EDI in the net zero carbon economy. This report presents the findings of empirical research that maps out the civil society organisations involved with the transition to a net zero carbon economy in Canada, and how they promote EDI in such transition.
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    Centering relationships to place for more meaningful research and engagement
    (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2024-06-03) Beaty, Fiona; Domínguez-Sánchez, Pablo Santiago; Nalven, Katy; Palacios-Abrantes, Juliano; Oken, Kiva; Ban, Natalie; Nickols, Kerry; Juanes, Francis; Okey, Thomas; Spalding, Ana K.; Morzaria-Luna, Hem Nalini; Jenkins, Lekelia; Tulloch, Vivitskaia; McKechnie, Iain
    Research has the potential to simultaneously generate new knowledge and contribute meaningful social–ecological benefits; however, research processes and outcomes can also perpetuate extractive patterns that have manifested the climate, biodiversity, and social justice crises. One approach to enhance the societal value of research processes is to strengthen relationships with places of study and the peoples of those places. Deepening relational engagement with the social–ecological context and history of a place can lead to more accurate results and improved public trust in the scientific process and is particularly important for natural scientists who work at the interface of nature and society. We provide three actionable pathways that range from individual to systemic change to enhance place-based relationships within research systems: 1) deepen reflection and communication about relationships with places and peoples; 2) strengthen collaboration among research teams and partners; and 3) transform systems of knowledge creation to foster place-based roots. Action on any of these proposed pathways, but especially action taken across all three, can build empathy and connections to place and people, strengthening the meaningful impact of research both locally and globally.
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