Now showing items 1-20 of 54

    • Representing Recovery: A discourse analysis of the television shows You, AJ and the Queen, and Mom

      Downton, Zabrina; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This thesis analyses representations of mothers seeking recovery from drug use in the first season of three serial shows available on Netflix: Mom, AJ and the Queen, and You. Prior to the main analysis of these shows, a literature review was conducted resulting in the opportunity to address a lacuna in the literature related to gender-focused studies looking at recovery from addiction. The shows that were chosen all include at least one character who is a mother and begins the process of recovery. These shows possess striking similarities in their portrayals of an abstinence-based approach to addiction recovery as well as intersecting discourses of addicted women as bad mothers who reproduce deviance through their children. A discursive analysis of Mom, AJ and the Queen, and You seeks to understand which discourses of addiction, drug use, gender, motherhood, and deviance are present in these representations and the messages that are communicated to the viewing public. This thesis illustrates that these representations reproduce dominant, gendered discourses which construct drug using women as deviant women and “bad mothers” who produce “bad children”. These representations further reinforce the dominant abstinence-based recovery discourse that creates a dichotomous understanding of addiction and recovery as active use as the problem and total abstinence as the only solution. Despite the presence of some resistance to these discourses, these shows ultimately reproduce stereotypical, and often harmful, gendered discourses of addiction and recovery.
    • Don Cherry's Final Rant: Illuminating Canadian nationalism, racial xenophobia, and hegemonic masculinity

      Falk, Jessica; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Don Cherry was fired from his position as co-host on the national show “Hockey Night in Canada: Coach’s Corner” in November 2019, following a rant where he singled out new immigrants for not wearing a poppy in support of Remembrance Day. Cherry’s firing was met with fury and outrage by many of his long-time supporters. In this thesis project, I explore these responses in relation to the following broad research question: How does Don Cherry’s final rant on Sportsnet and the popular response to his firing on Twitter, illuminate the continuing salience of white supremacy, xenophobia, hegemonic masculinity and colonialism in Canadian sports discourse? Drawing on the fields of feminist, anti-colonial and anti-racist studies, and literature in sport studies I conducted a critical discourse analysis of comments on selected national news reports, posted on Twitter. The overall objective of my project was to question taken-for-granted narratives and ideas of Canadian national identity, and explore the implications of these ideals. Using Canadian hockey culture as a case study, my aim was to develop a rich and accessible entry point for theorizing sports culture and to assess the possibilities and problems associated with re-imagining hockey as a more equitable site of engagement.
    • Twenty years later: Family’s Continued Battle for Media Coverage of their Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

      Shah, Sana; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      Past research on media coverage of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) has focused mainly on stereotypical images of Indigenous femininity, with limited research on the family’s role and perspectives regarding such coverage. This study examines how family members conceptualise the media coverage of their missing and murdered loved ones, and the family’s role in shifting the dominant media narratives. Drawing on an intersectional feminist framework that pays close attention to decolonization, I reflect on the dominant media discourses about MMIWG. This research focuses on the cases of two Indigenous women – Rosianna Poucachiche, murdered in 2000, and Shannon Alexander, missing since 2008. The primary data was collected through an in-depth interview with a family member of the two young women. Articles were selected from mainstream media platforms, that include, CBC News, The Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Canada NewsWire and the Montreal Gazette. A qualitative content analysis was conducted to analyse data from the interview and news articles, which produced four main themes: impact of colonialism, police role in addressing MMIWG cases, media’s role and coverage of MMIWG, and the experiences and role of MMIWG families in pushing for media coverage. The findings of this research show that, although stereotyping and insensitive media coverage of MMIWG continues, there has been an identifiable change in media reporting in the past decade as narratives shift to more positive language and empathetic tones. I argue that this has been possible due to ongoing Indigenous family and community activism. The findings further reveal that families and activists have pushed media to not only place a greater emphasis on family narratives, but on issues of systemic and racist oppression as well, to acknowledge how these systems are implicated in the phenomenon of MMIWG. Recommendations from this research suggest that mainstream media platforms need to ensure that the families of MMIWG are not only consulted, but that their narratives be prioritised in public reporting on this issue.
    • Disqualification by design: Strategic inefficiencies in Canada’s legal response to sexual assault

      Keays, Katie; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      In Canada, perpetrators of sexual assault (SA) continue to benefit from near legal immunity, with the overwhelming majority of criminal complaints being funneled out of the justice system without legal accountability. This project explores the mechanisms within the legal system that work to slow and stop complaints of SA, analyzing them as barriers to justice. Drawing on intersectional feminist and decolonial theory and autoethnographic methodology, I analyze my own experiences of reporting my SA to the police and serving as a complainant in the SA trial that followed in conversation with selected narratives of other survivors in the feminist literature. I show that within Canadian policing systems, survivors encounter several barriers including a culture of skepticism, investigative apathy, and patterns of critical police errors. In the trial process, barriers include the misapplication of SA law, a hostile courtroom culture, the “reasonable” perspective, alienation and domination through courtroom talk, and strategies to “whack the complainant”. Indigenous women, women with mental health or substance use issues, and poor women may be more likely to experience barriers in the justice system and may experience them more harshly. Drawing on Ahmed’s (2018, December 20) concept of strategic inefficiency, I argue that inefficiencies within the justice system are not simply “failures” to do something, but that they are doing something. Barriers in the criminal justice response to SA work to support existing hierarchies including (White) heteropatriarchal domination and men’s access to the bodies of those considered to be outside the circle of respectable femininity.
    • 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.
    • “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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Wearing Yourself or Dressing the Part: Navigating Workplace Dress Codes as Queer, Androgynous Women

      Kelly, Kailey; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      In this thesis, I explore various workplace dress codes and expectations in the Niagara Region through the experiences of six queer, androgynous women. Through a theoretical perspective that is informed by both Erving Goffman and Judith Butler, I analyze the women’s decision-making around managing their appearance for work, and the relationship they perceive between their clothing, queer identity, and sense of self. I also explore the multiple challenges that participants have faced in attempting to meet normative standards of ‘professionalism,’ and suggest that many dress code expectations emphasize dichotomous gender norms, and notions of white femininity. Participants’ narratives suggest that rigid dress codes reinforce heterosexist dynamics in the work place, and contribute to the ‘othering’ of queer, androgynous women who do not ‘fit in’ to the status quo. I argue that workplace dress codes need to be more flexible in providing multiple options for employees which do not rely upon gendered norms or categorization. I conclude by suggesting that more work needs to be done on the significance of workplace dress codes regarding their impact on workers who do not neatly fit into the normalized gender binary, and are ‘othered’ at various intersections of their identities.
    • 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.
    • (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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • "It was easy to look for a place, but hard to actually get one": University students' experiences of racial discrimination in off-campus housing

      Nightingale, Cara; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This study examines university student perceptions of and experiences with racial discrimination in off-campus housing in Ontario’s Niagara Region. Using a qualitative methodology informed by critical race theory, the study draws upon semi-structured, qualitative interviews conducted with 14 Brock University students to gain insight into racial discrimination in the context of the search for and life in off-campus housing. Participants discussed the wider context of off-campus housing in the region, including certain difficulties related to student inexperience in the off-campus housing market, age, and gender. Along with uncovering these other challenges faced by students, the thesis documents and analyses accounts of the impact of racialized identities and racism at different stages of the student off-campus housing search and subsequent residency. By documenting and analyzing these perceptions and experiences, this study seeks to contribute to wider efforts to expose and challenge racial discrimination.
    • “It’s just inappropriate”: The normalization of sexual harassment in Ontario schools as revealed through teachers’ stories

      Quinn, Lauren; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This study examines teachers’ experiences witnessing and addressing the sexual harassment of girls by boys in elementary and secondary schools in Southern Ontario. Through a feminist, poststructural framework using feminist methodologies, I interviewed seven teachers from different schools in order to determine teachers’ experiences witnessing, addressing and hearing about student-to-student sexual harassment. Although participants’ experiences varied, their responses revealed that sexual harassment is normalized, naturalized and reinforced in secondary and elementary schools. Themes that surfaced revealed how their understandings of sexual harassment existed outside of power relations; how language is “softened” when describing sexual harassment and sexism; how the seriousness of sexual harassment was minimized; and how gendered Islamophobia intersected with the normalization of sexual harassment. Acts of resistance challenging pervasive discourses that normalize the sexual harassment of girls by boys also arose during interviews.
    • -“Where are you, darling?” -“Here I am, darling!”: Call and Response as LGBTI Resistance Formation Before, During and After the Gezi Park Protests in Turkey

      Sarioglu, Ezgi; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program
      This social justice project examines the extent to which the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexual (LGBTI) movement in Turkey has been affected by its participation in the Gezi Park protests that took place across Turkey in May, 2013. I argue that a dialectic process of organization and interaction took place between the protesters in Gezi, which I name call and response. This process opened up the possibilities for unexpected insights and changes in the LGBTI movement’s strategies and dynamics. I draw on intersectional feminist theory to discuss the dynamics of the movement before, during, and after the protests, and I use textual materials such as news, magazine articles and interviews to examine the shifting views of different groups on LGBTI issues and the LGBTI community’s reflections on Gezi’s impact on the movement. My research is structured around in-depth, semi-structured interviews with five LGBTI Gezi protesters in Istanbul. My aim was to investigate how the LGBTI community is interpreting the influence of its 20 years of history on its Gezi experience and formulating new ways to seize upon the possibilities Gezi has opened up for the movement. I also explore key moments in the protests through five photos that highlight the significance of the LGBTI community’s presence in those events. I draw upon my own experiences and observations both as an insider - as a member of the LGBTI community in Turkey, and as an outsider, a researcher currently residing in Canada - in order to complicate my findings. For the purpose of historicizing my results and drawing parallels and comparisons between similar movements, I juxtapose Gezi to the gay liberation movements in the U.S. and in South Africa. It is my hope that this study will open up new areas of discussion for social justice groups and organizations, and help in forming new possible strategies for the LGBTI movement in Turkey.