• All of My Blood is Red: Contemporary Metis Visual Culture and Identity

      Short, Jessie; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (2013-04-15)
      This thesis explores notions of contemporary Metis identity through the lens of visual culture, as articulated in the works of three visual artists of Metis ancestry. I discuss the complexities of being Metis with reference to specific art works by Christi Belcourt, David Garneau and Rosalie Favell. In addition to a visual culture analysis of these three Metis artists, I supplement my discussion of Metis identity with a selection of autoethnographic explorations of my identity as a Metis woman through out this thesis. The self-reflexive aspect of this work documents the ways in which my understanding of myself as a Metis woman have been deepened and reworked in the process of conducting this research, while also offering an expanded conception of contemporary Metis culture. I present this work as an important point of departure for giving a greater presence to contemporary Metis visual culture across Canada:
    • Animal Cruelty Officers and the Intersections of Daily Labour and the Law

      Nicholls, Bridget; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This study explores the relationship between animal cruelty investigation work and the legal terrain. Specifically, I analyze how Ontario’s animal cruelty investigation officers understand and navigate the legal requirements of their work. A convenience sample of eight animal cruelty investigation officers participated in this study. The data was viewed through an interspecies solidarity and gendered labour process lens. The results show that there are significant structural and interpersonal constraints, particularly mixed levels of support from the Crown Attorneys and veterinarians. At the same time, the officers exercise their agency to try and improve the efficacy of animal cruelty enforcement and prosecution. Overall, the structural constraints and the exercise of agency are both central to the officers’ daily labour. This study grounds the findings in solutions and proposes ways to strengthen anti-cruelty work.
    • Benefits, challenges, and limitations of fair trade as a social justice movement

      Byrne, Stacey.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2006-02-16)
      This thesis answers some important questions about how Fair Trade is experienced and perceived by some Northern sellers, consumers, activists, advocates, practitioners, and an importer. As it relates to sellers, I focus only on small scale independent businesses (i.e. I do not include large corporate businesses in my interview sample). Fair Trade works to establish a dignified livelihood for many producers in the South. Some of the most important actors in the Fair Trade movement are the people who buy, sell, and/or advocate for Fair Trade in the North. Fair Trade is largely a consumer movement which relies on the purchase of Fair Trade products. Without consumers purchasing Fair Trade products, retailers providing the products for sale, and activists raising awareness of Fair Trade, the movement, as it is presently constituted, would be non-existent. This qualitative research is based on 19 in-depth i.nterviews with nine interviewees involved with Fair Trade in Canada. I focus on benefits, challenges, and limitations of Fair Trade in the context of their involvement with it. I describe and analyze how people become involved with Fair Trade, what motivates them to do so, what they hope to achieve, and the benefits of being involved. I also describe and analyze how people understand and deal with any challenges and limitations associated with their involvement with Fair Trade. I also explore whether involvement with Fair Trade influences how people think about other products that they purchase and, if so, in what ways. I focus mainly on the commodity of coffee, but my discussion is not limited to this single commodity. Interviewees' experiences with and participation in Fair Trade vary in terms of their level of involvement and interest in the broader Fair Trade movement (as opposed to just participating in the market component). This research reveals that while Fair Trade is a small movement, sellers, consumers, and activists have had much success in the advancement of Fair Trade. While challenges have not deterred interviewees from continuing to participate in Fair Trade, analysis and explanation of such challenges provides the opportunity for Fair Trade practitioners to develop effective solutions in an effort to meet the needs of various Fair Trade actors.
    • Between the panels: How anti-Black racism has recycled myths of the Black body in comic books

      Clarke, Douglas; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2012-11-07)
      Anti-Black racism continues to be a widespread problem, and as such deserves investigation and elimination. As Jackson (2006) says; “There is a hyperawareness…of the negative inscriptions associated with the Black masculine body as criminal, angry and incapacitated.” (2) To continue the study of the changing face of racism, the researcher must be well equipped with a contemporary methodology which is adaptable and exploratory. Due to the malleability of racism, research into its elimination must make inroads to areas that have heretofore been neglected and overlooked by traditional academic study. This project achieves a unique perspective by undertaking a theoretical exploration of racist stereotypes and motifs in the world of mass produced superhero comic books, a genre of comics which has neither yet been thoroughly investigated for the use of racist stereotypes nor been the focus of anti-racist scholarship.
    • Care amidst the condos? Understanding gentrification’s unjust impact on social and health service delivery to vulnerable populations in Ottawa, ON

      Deschamps, MJ; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      For cities’ most vulnerable populations, community-based social services have long served a critical need, offering diverse health and social programs geared towards those who have traditionally faced barriers accessing care. With services historically and still largely located in inner city neighbourhoods in Canada (and in close proximity to areas where their primary clientele resides), community health centres (CHCs) have long operated on mission statements centered on the equitable distribution of services, the mitigation of social disparities and the provision of programs that embody an ethics of care. As capitalist decision-making structures, neoliberal discourses and distributive injustices converge through processes of rapid gentrification, however, CHC clients already experiencing institutional oppressions are now subject to the proliferation of further health and social inequities. This is a result of significant changes to the surrounding social and built environment, which is rendering critical programs, services and former spaces of care inaccessible and exclusive. Using qualitative data gathered through interviews with social service workers embedded in CHCs in downtown Ottawa neighbourhoods, this thesis critically explores how gentrification and new constraints on social service delivery interact, to unjustly impact the overall health of vulnerable populations.
    • Depopulating the Political Sidelines: CBC News Online Forum and Public Spheres in Canada

      Isekeije, Jumoke; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (2013-04-08)
      The subject of the Internet's potential to foster a public sphere has become a growing area of research in the social sciences in the last two decades. My research explores comments made by participants on the CBC News online politics forum during the May 2011 federal election in Canada. Based on conditions proposed by Jurgen Habermas in his concept of the public sphere and operationalized by Lincoln Dahlberg in his pioneering study of the Minnesota e-Democracy listserv, my thesis explores the potential for the CBC News online forum to foster a public sphere for Canadians. While examining the CBC News online forum against the criteria of the public sphere, I also interrogate Habermas' concept of a universal public sphere using the works of Nancy Fraser and other scholars, who argue for multiple public spheres.
    • ‘Designer Vaginas': The Representation of Female Genitals on Canadian Cosmetic Surgeons' Websites

      Stephenson, Zipparah; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This thesis critically examines the online marketing tactics of 10 (English language) Canadian cosmetic surgery clinics’ websites that offer Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery (FGCS), specifically, labiaplasty (labial reduction) and vaginoplasty (vaginal tightening). Drawing on a qualitative Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis (MCDA) and a feminist-informed social constructionist framework (Lazar, 2007), I examine how FGCS discourses reiterate and reinforce heteronormative sexual scripts for women, and impose restrictive models of femininity through the pathologization of genital diversity and the appropriation of postfeminist and neoliberal discourses of individual choice and empowerment. I explore feminist analyses of the links between FGCS and contemporary Western women’s postfeminist subjectivity, and the reconfiguration of women’s sexual agency, to better understand what these contemporary shifts may mean for women’s sexual anxiety and expression. My analysis highlights several discourses that organize the online marketing material of Canadian FGCS websites, including: the pathologization of genital diversity; restrictive models of femininity; heteronormative sexual scripts; neoliberal and post-feminist rhetorics of individual choice and empowerment; and psychological and sexual transformation. Overall, these discourses undermine acceptance of women’s genital diversity, legitimize the FGCS industry and frame FGCS as the only viable solution to alleviate women’s genital and sexual distress despite the lack of evidence regarding the long-term benefits and risks of these procedures, and the recommendations against FGCS by professional medical organizations.
    • Gendered Power Relations and Household Decision Making in Rural Ghana. A study of Zambo in the Lawra District of the Upper West Region of Ghana

      Bieteru, Anella N.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Some Western scholarship on African studies have shown that patriarchy is absolute in many African societies and women are mostly the victims of this system. Such patriarchy has created wide gender gaps between men and women, resulting in women being either overlooked, oppressed, or suppressed. The main aim of this research was to examine the nature of gender relations and gendered power dynamics between husbands and wives, and how such power dynamics impact women’s household decision-making powers. Drawing on African feminist epistemologies and feminist standpoint theories, this research drew significantly from the experiences and narratives of 10 rural women, who form the most marginalized demographic in Ghana. The study focused on decisions around reproduction and child upbringing, household income generation and distribution, and religious practices. Findings reveal that women bear major economic responsibilities in their families, making them the ultimate decision-makers in almost all aspects of household decision-making. However, they are constrained by many social, economic, and cultural factors that limit their opportunities to gain any economic or social independence. The findings further show that women, in their subordinate positions, are capable of resisting patriarchal power in complex ways despite public declarations of rural African women as powerless. The study recommends that future research should investigate, among other things, the varied ways in which both the state and non-governmental organizations may promote both the social and economic development of women. Further research could highlight the perspectives of men considering the negative views women have of men.
    • Girlie Girls Aren’t “Real” Athletes: A Critical Examination of Girls’ Experiences of Aesthetic Sports within a Post-Feminist Masquerade

      Kovac, Laura; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      The purpose of this feminist research was to understand the experiences of adolescent females currently participating in aesthetic sports. Specifically, I aimed to critically examine the ways in which the new feminine ideal and a post-feminist girl culture shape girls’ experiences. A social constructionist grounded theory approach was used and a purposive sample of eight girls, between the ages of 12-15, participated in this study. Three major themes that best reflect my interpretation of the experiences of the participants emerged: 1) Masculinities and revealing a higher social status in the school environment, 2) Framing success through gendered and neoliberal discourses, and 3) Constructing an ideal image. Moreover, the major themes resulted in the culmination of experiences leading to the core theme “Falling short of the neoliberal ideal.” The study highlights the need for educators and sport practitioners to advocate for a diversity of gender expression.
    • A Home at School: Building Stronger Indigenous People through Cultural Resurgence in an Urban Ontario Public School Context.

      Harrison, Jodie Lynn; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (2013-04-02)
      In this thesis, I work through the educational narratives of young Aboriginal women and men as I explore the relationship between cultural programming and student engagement. My analysis is structured through a collaborative Indigenous research project. My overarching task is to explore how a cultural support program, the Native Youth Advancement with Education Hamilton (NYA WEH) Program, offered at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School, located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, attempts to re-imagine Aboriginal education in ways that directly challenge the residential school legacy. In particular, I work to illuminate how particular forms of Aboriginal education are connected to the graduation rates of Aboriginal youth. I argue that the ways in which the NYA WEH Program navigates Native Studies curriculum, relationships, and notions of culture and tradition are significant to the engagement of Aboriginal youth. This research develops theoretical connections between the contemporary experience of Aboriginal social inequality and educational initiatives which attempt to reverse that legacy. By placing the NYA WEH Program narratives side-by-side with literature supporting Aboriginal education for Self-determination, I work to learn how to best support and encourage Aboriginal student engagement in secondary schools across Ontario.
    • Inside Voices: Witnessing Oral Disclosures of Trauma

      Kitchings, Shannon; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Examining the relationship between speaker and listener provides insight into empathy and ethical responses to disclosures of trauma. This study examines the delivery and reception of testimony in performing arts contexts and quasi-juridical settings to find patterns in the way the communication of trauma is delivered and received. What can we learn from the patterns that emerge among survivors as they speak out about their trauma in various settings? Vocalizing an experience that has caused trauma creates a space that exposes both the speaker and the listener to a kind of vulnerability, which can be felt in that instant as either a release in a process of healing or a new trauma. By analyzing recordings of testimony and spoken word poetry, trends in responses occur that suggest venue and sense of personal responsibility greatly impact the relationship between speaker and listener and the communication process as a whole. These results offer several ways to consider new approaches to sharing and responding to disclosures of trauma.
    • Is the Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full? An Exploratory Study of Defence Lawyers’ Constructions of Plea Negotiations and Accused Persons’ Rights within the Ontario Criminal Justice System

      Cabot, Jennifer; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Plea bargaining is a pervasive practice in North American legal systems, as well as internationally. In Canada, the majority of criminal cases are disposed of by plea negotiations. Although plea negotiations are a staple within the Canadian criminal justice system, the practice has been continually critiqued in relation to accused persons’ rights. Scholarship existing on the topic typically suggests that plea bargaining negatively impacts accused persons because of the existence of a trial penalty. Using a descriptive exploratory methodology, the present study conducted in-depth interviews with 25 defence lawyers from across Ontario to understand how they construct the trial penalty and the role of remorse and accused persons’ rights with respect to plea bargaining. The present study found that from the perspective of lawyers it is not simply that a trial penalty either ‘exists’ or ‘does not exist’. Rather, their voices point to the deep and complex layers that exist within the practices of plea negotiations, trials, and sentencing. There is no simple formula that a lawyer can use to determine how things will turn out at trial. Instead, various factors, such as the nature of the offence, the offender, witnesses, complainant, court time, court resources, and the economic and administrative demands of an overburdened justice system interact together to create a complex dynamic that the lawyer must assess and present to the client. Ultimately, running a trial is presented to the client as a gamble; yet, in many instances taking the gamble was constructed as being worth the risk. However, findings from the present study also demonstrate that while lawyers continuously expressed the importance of trials, the reality of the situation is that accused persons, for a wide variety of reasons, are often incentivized to plead guilty, even when it is not in their best interest. These decisions have tremendous impacts on the lives of those accused of criminal offences or awaiting trial. Further, certain disadvantaged accused may be more greatly impacted by the criminal justice system, particularly Indigenous and Black populations who are overrepresented within the incarcerated population, as well as accused persons from low socioeconomic status and those who are remanded to custody awaiting trial.
    • Management Material: Understanding the Contradictory Perspectives of Lower Level Managers in a Canadian Call Centre

      Maddeaux, R. Elizabeth A.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (2013-04-09)
      Call centres have emerged during a time of rapid technological change and represent a form of ready employment for those seeking to replace or supplement "traditional" forms of employment. Call centre work is considered characteristic of the kinds of service work available in the new economy. This paper examines the experiences and practices of lower level managers in a call centre in southern Ontario. Findings are based on analysis of semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that lower level managers resolve the contradictory social space they occupy by aligning themselves primarily with more powerful executives, in part because they know this might lead to increased job security. The implications of this trend for building a strong labour movement capable of combating neoliberal discourses regarding the need for work restructuring are discussed.
    • Mishandled: Turnhill University’s Approach to Sexual Violence

      MacAndrew, Samantha; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Sexual violence on college and university campuses in Canada and the United States has been an unsettling issue for several decades. However, the understanding that politicians, policy makers, and academic administrations can no longer ignore these violations is a more recent development. This thesis investigates the management and the potential mismanagement of sexual violence policy and practice with a specific focus on one Canadian University in Southern Ontario. Intersectional feminist theory provided the conceptual framework informing this research and institutional ethnography was the methodology engaged to explore a range of university policy and practices. This research illuminates the difficulties that policy makers and students identified in the development of accessible sexual violence policies and practices and provides recommendations to help post-secondary institutions implement sexual violence policies and protocols that are more useful for students and more socially just.
    • (Play)Building Sexuality Education: Using participatory drama as queer pedagogy to explore youth experiences of sexuality education

      Sanche, Charissa; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      The recent sex education curriculum update in Ontario sparked controversy in the media, reflecting a moral panic around sex education in Canada. Since its introduction in 2010 and implementation in 2015, debates ensued over the content of the curriculum, however, little attention was on the form through which it is delivered. This study explores experiences of sexuality education to critically reflect on the ways adolescents navigate discourses of sexuality through formal and informal education. In this thesis, I review discourses of sexuality education and argue that queer pedagogies can be used to foster critical, and queer spaces to negotiate sexuality. I conceptually frame playbuilding (Belliveau, 2006; Norris, 2009; Weigler, 2001), a drama-based research methodology, as a queer pedagogy and mobilize it in this study to co-author a play with participants based on our collective experiences. This participatory drama-based research process involved an exploration of themes and constructs in sexuality education, translating these into dramatic forms, and performing the co-authored scenes to an audience. Through playbuilding, this research tells critical stories of six individuals negotiating their experiences of the discourses of sexuality education. I explore the ways queer pedagogies in sexuality education and playbuilding, in particular, can create spaces wherein youth can exercise agency as sexual subjects and critically reflect on adolescent sexuality.
    • Protecting Animals and People: The Role of the Public Sector in Improving Animal Cruelty Investigation Work

      Campbell, Brittany; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Animal cruelty investigation work in Canada has typically been the responsibility of humane societies and/or SPCAs (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), charities that are mandated to enforce government legislation. This unusual model is unique to investigations into crimes against animals. Manitoba offers an alternative approach with a publicly-funded and public-private hybrid delivery model. Through an examination of Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Office which oversees investigations, this thesis considers the multi-species implications of this kind of publicly-funded animal cruelty investigations. More specifically, it assesses the benefits and drawbacks that the approach has for animals, their owners, and animal protection officers. Using the lenses of engaged theory, interspecies solidarity, and multi-optic vision, and by building from textual sources and interview data, this thesis describes and analyses animal cruelty investigation work in Manitoba and considers the role the public sector could have in improving animal protection work in Canada.
    • Queer Encounters: exploring experiences of (gender)queers in women's public washroom spaces

      Pilling, Meredith Danielle; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (2013-01-02)
      This thesis is based on 13 qualitative interviews conducted with 12 individuals whom I refer to as (gender)queers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and St. Catharines, Ontario. Drawing on queer theory and the literature of sexuality and space, I explore how (gender)queers experience women's public washrooms as gendered and heterosexualized spaces. I examine the degree to which a simultaneous heterosexing and female gendering of women's public washrooms is linked to the marginalization and sometimes violent exclusion of (gender)queers within these particular spaces. I also discuss the ways in which (gender)queers may use a variety of strategies aimed at navigating heterosexualized and gendered public washrooms. Finally, I explore alternatives to conventional washrooms spaces, including the gender-neutral washrooms, multi-stall non-gendered public washrooms, and public washrooms in queer spaces.
    • That Power: Performing Power, Trauma, and Queer Religious Futurity

      Brower, Jonathan Duncan; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Conservative religious ideology is a key contributor to the ongoing violence of LGBTIQ2S+ exclusion and discrimination in Canada. This qualitative arts-based research project foregrounds the life experiences of 2 queer individuals from conservative Hindu (Manchari (Ari) Paranthahan) and conservative Christian (Jonathan Brower) upbringings to activate a conversation about the possibilities and limitations of queer religious agency and futurity. Using critical narrative inquiry and theatre creation, Paranthahan and Brower collaged their narratives about gendered, sexual, racial, and religious attachment and exclusion into a script and then publicly performed it as a live full-length play. The script and performance, titled That Power, are included within the thesis as findings. Key theoretical influences framing the discussion are the responsibility of witnessing testimony (Oliver, 2001), depathologizing trauma (Cvetkovich, 2003; Rothberg, 2014), the potentialities of queer performance utopias (Muñoz, 2009; Pryor, 2017), and feminist anti-racist solidarity (Mohanty, 2003). The analysis is guided by questions regarding how performance mobilizes queer trauma through relationality; the ways stories can galvanize an intersecting analysis about race, gender, and faith; and how a theatre creation model enriches the possibilities for queer futurity. The discussion positions That Power as a cultural product that helps reconstitute subjectivity for its creators while also becoming a mode of embodied collective resistance by performatively working through trauma and reframing queer relationality and feminist solidarity.
    • To Know Their Stories: Using Playbuilding to Develop a Training/Orientation Video on Person-Centered Care

      Hobbs, Kevin; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This study explores the experiences of health care staff and family members who provide support for people living with dementia and traumatic brain injury. Using a playbuilding methodology (Belliveau, 2006; Norris, 2009; Perry, Wessels & Wager, 2013) in which theatre performers devised short vignettes based on focus group interviews with health care providers, an educational video was produced. The video will be shown to the focus group interviewees in order to generate further conversation—knowledge co-creation—on the supportive and resistive practices in person-centred care (Leplege, Gzil, Cammelli, Lefeve, Pachoud & Ville, 2007; Kadri, Rapaport, Livingston, Cooper, Robertson & Higgs, 2018; Santana, Manalili, Jolley, Zelinsky, Quan & Lu, 2018), a philosophical approach that privileges the holistic needs of the individual rather than the bio-medical and administrative urgencies of the medical system. I outline the process of developing vignettes, videoing them and editing the video using a constructivist approach and an application of narrative and film theory. This work adds to the discussion of how the health care system may benefit from arts-based methods of knowledge construction.
    • “We Had More Eyes on Us Than the Boys”: Recollections of Girlhood at Residential Schools for the Blind

      Grossman, Keely; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This thesis explores experiences of girlhood within residential schools for the blind in North America. The analysis draws upon and contributes to theorizing in feminist disability studies and gendered embodiment in schooling and residential schools as social systems. It also offers insight into methodological approaches to conducting research with the blind and partially sighted community. Qualitative interviews with former female students illuminate how girls in these residential school settings experienced and navigated curriculum, space, informal/formal school rules and peer culture. The analysis focuses on gendered and sexualized inequalities as well as the agency of girls within in this particular educational context. Documenting the experiences of former female students of residential schools for the blind makes an important contribution to understanding the intersecting realities of girlhood and disability in an under - researched educational context, and points to the need for greater initiatives focused at addressing the inequalities that they encounter.