• The Construction of Racialized Criminality in Film: A Critical Analysis of The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Just Mercy (2019)

      Marquette, Dominique
      The focus of this research is to examine the ways in which media representations of racialized criminality affect the public’s perceptions of race and its connection to criminality, authority and punishment. This is done methodologically through the deep critical analysis of the films The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Just Mercy (2019). Many forms of media are readily and constantly available to the public, for some more than others based on a number of intersecting social factors. Because of its prevalence, the media and the stories they tell are important to analyze and should not be ignored. The films The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Just Mercy (2019) were chosen for their depiction of racialized characters in and related to the context of the prison. In addition, the passage of time between their release dates allows for a thorough investigation of possible evolution of these representations. It is imperative that this research be approached from an intersectional point of view, allowing it to accurately expose the ways in which oppression, as it relates to race, may or may not be present in the films and affect the public’s perceptions of racialized criminality. These films represent people of colour and their interactions with white people, in positions of power and submission in each film. As well, there are intersections of race, gender, and sexuality as they relate to criminality, authority and punishment.
    • Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap? Investigating Learning for All’s Capacity to Support Marginalized Students in Ontario

      Carlsson, Rebekah
      Learning for All (2013) is a resource guide, published by Ontario’s Ministry of Education, that aims to “raise the bar and close the gap in achievement for all students” (p. 3). It is intended to be used by school boards to support system-level planning and informs professional development and local policy directives (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2013). Learning for All does acknowledge that outcome disparities are more prevalent between certain demographic groups, but it avoids any discussion of the complex factors that cause this inequity. This paper explores the research on economically and racially marginalized students in Canada, to reveal the institutional, pedagogical, and ideological factors that produce this education inequity. From this research informed position, I offer a critical policy analysis of Learning for All guided by Paul Gorksi & Katy Swalwell’s Equity Literacy Framework (2015), which demonstrates that the strategies prescribed in Learning for All will not only fail to ‘close the gap’ but may also rein-force deficit thinking amongst educators, thereby exacerbating the problem. Finally, this paper concludes with recommended structural and pedagogical changes, as well as opportunities for future research to better address the barriers that marginalized students face and the shortcomings of Learning for All.
    • The Social Construction of the DSM-5 & its Impact on Patient Dignity

      Bassingthwaighte, Andrew
      The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorder (5th Ed. or DSM-5) represents a foundational text within the psychiatric and mental health field, a document that is historically and socially positioned within the field as the global standard for diagnostic health information. Significant criticism, though, has been levelled against the DSM-5, highlighting concerns around its underlying ethnocentric positioning as well as scientific concerns around the reliability and validity of different diagnoses. This study explores the current state of the DSM-5. It seeks to understand how its development has shaped and promoted a variety of discourses within the mental health field, as well as looking at the impact these discourses have had on the dignity and day-to-day functioning of millions of patients, both younger and elder, for whom it has been conceived to offer therapeutic interventions. Drawing on Social Constructionist and Foucauldian frameworks to conduct this discursive analysis of the DSM-5, I identify the dominant discourses of the DSM-5, as well as the discursive rules which have been reinforced by the American Psychiatric Association to promote these practices. The dominant discourses identified include expertise, medicalizing normality, conceptualizations of culture, and control.
    • Working Conditions of Front-Line Poverty-Reduction Staff at Non-profit Agencies

      Morningstar, Sarah
      Over the past three to four decades in Ontario, neoliberalization and new public management have restructured the non-profit social services (NPSS) sector by reducing core funding and introducing a competitive proposal system with increased managerial accountability. These changes have generated immense workplace pressures for frontline staff. Frontline staff in the NPSS have seen an increase in standardization accompanied by the degradation of their skills. Through in-depth interviews with five frontline staff at two similar non-profit agencies serving people experiencing poverty in the Niagara Region, this paper explores the question: How do frontline staff in the non-profit social services sector describe their working conditions? And how resonant are the narratives of compassion fatigue and burnout. In contrast to the narrative of "compassion fatigue" that often describes the experiences of professional frontline workers, I found that burnout among frontline poverty-reduction staff stems primarily from encountering structural barriers, such as a lack of affordable housing, that limit what they can do to help their service users. Furthermore, I found a general lack of organizational supports for frontline staff as workers, including supports to prevent or lessen burnout. This research brings to light new perspectives regarding poverty-reduction work and ultimately points to needed supports for frontline staff that may improve their work lives, well-being and poverty-reduction effectiveness.