Now showing items 41-54 of 54

    • The impact of social welfare reform and workfare on lone-parent female headed households in the Niagara Region

      Cecckin, Brigitte.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2004-07-14)
      This thesis explores the impact of recent social welfare reforms on the lives of social assistance recipients. The focus is on single mothers who are dependent on social assistance in a small city in southern Ontario. This detailed examination is complemented with existing case studies in Canada, the United States and New Zealand, as well as aggregate data on poverty in Canada. Participants for the research study were recruited by flyer distribution and referral. Following recruitment, selected participants were scheduled for a tape- recorded interview. The final sample population consists of eight single mothers on social assistance and/or workfare participants. This information is supplemented with interviews from two Ontario Works caseworkers and two Women's Advocates from a local crisis housing organization. This research project is guided by a socialist feminist framework. Evidence from interview participants suggest that single mothers continue to struggle in terms of meeting basic needs, such as food, clothing and medications. Housing for low-income families is a concern expressed by the participants as well as by Women's Advocates who operate within the region. In addition, subsidized housing continues to be problematic in terms of both safety and availability. Recent social welfare refonns (reductions in welfare income and introduction of workfare features) have intensified the economic and social marginalization of these women. Participants, for example, voice concerns about valuing self-evaluation in their Ontario Works and workfare activities. Considerable evidence from interview participants suggest that single mothers remain economically marginalized.
    • Disrupting heterosexual space? : the implementation of a campus Positive Space Campaign

      Burgess, Allison H. F.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2005-07-14)
      Drawing on a growing literature on the interconnection of queer theory, sexuality and space, this thesis critically assesses the development, implementation and impact of a campus-based Positive Space Campaign aimed at raising the visibility and number of respectful, supportive, educational and welcoming spaces for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, two-spirited, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students staff and faculty. The analysis, based on participatory action research (PAR), interrogates the extent to which the Positive Space Campaign challenges heteronormativity on campus. I contend that the Campaign, in its attempt to challenge dominant notions of sex, gender and sexuality, disrupts heterosexual space. Further, as I consider the meanings of 'queer', I consider the extent to which Positive Space Campaigns may be 'queering' space, by contributing to an 'imagined' campus space free of sexual and gender-based discrimination. The case study contributes to queer theory, the literature on sexuality and space, the literature on queer organizing in educational spaces and to broader queer organizing efforts in Canada.
    • Native women, theory and research : contexts and contestations

      St. Germaine-Small, Melissa.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2004-07-14)
      In this thesis I outline a critical approach to interpreting the considerable academic literature on Aboriginal women in North America. I locate the scholarship concerning Native women within an understanding of three developments related to a philosophy of science: (I) paradigmatic shifts concerning the philosophy of science, (2) materialist-idealist debates and (3) transitions in feminist theory characterized by what is tenned the shift from second to third wave feminism. My exploration of emergent themes suggests that the elements indicated above provide overlapping frameworks within which most scholarship about Indigenous women is positioned. I illustrate my finding that employing critical discourse analysis and postcolonial feminism as both method and theory provides a useful approach in attending to intersecting experiences of 'race, class, and gender.' I view these intersecting experiences as central to the socio-political positioning of Indigenous women within contemporary feminist theorizing. I conclude my thesis by reflecting on the conceptual struggles I experienced in fonnulating and organizing the thesis and the significance of my underlying epistemological position and value-orientation as both a feminist and Native woman.
    • "Welcome to my life" : the experiences of single mothers who are the recipients of multiple state provided benefits

      Cumming, Sara J.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2005-07-14)
      Abstract This research takes the lens of social reproduction as a starting point for an examination of the effects of recent social welfare reforms on the lives o.fsingle mothers. As the cumulative effects o.f diminishing state provided benefits take hold, tensions are heightened as single mothers internalize the insecurity of earning an income in 11 capitalist labour market, while trying to carry out all that is involved in social reproduction with inadequate means of survival. Through interviewing single mothers who are the recipients of mUltiple state provided benefits (social assistance, student loans, subsidized housing and subsidized childcare), this thesis illuminates the cOl1linued regulation of women in an effort to assure that social reproduction is occurring at the lowest cost possible. State provided benefits are set lip in such a way that it is near impossible for single mothers to make ends meet without entering the labour force or entering into co-residential relationships. This push towards the labour force and/or marriage via punitive welfare policies illuminates the devaluation of the labour that is done at home. Through interviewing 5 single mothers, I will demonstrate the extensive labour that goes into maintaining their households. In addition .J case managers are interviewed. The employees of social assistance, subsidized hOllsing, subsidized childcare and student loans, have much agency in deeming who is worthy of receiving benefits. The employees of these agencies have the ability to make these women's lives easier or more complicated by how the workers interpret the policy regulations. Social policies are of paramount importance in the quest for women's equality and thus have consequences for how women's daily lives are organized. The rules and regulations that govern the individual policies are complex and bureaucratic and have implications for the ways in which women must organize their lives in order to survive. The shifts in social policy have been guided by neo-liberal assumptions with a focus on individual responsibility and a market-modeled welfare state. The caring work that is involved in raising children to be productive in a capitalist society is ignored or devalued in current policies. The emphasis in each polic.:v is on getting women who receive benefits into the paid work force, with little facilitation or investment into the caring work these women do on a daily basis that in turn supports capitalism. Policies, such as social assistance, subsidized housing, subsidized childcare and student loans, are set up in such a way that ignores the reality of women's day-to-day lives and devalues the necessary work done at home. It takes an abundance of labour and strategizing for women to seek out necessary means of survival, labour that is amplified when a woman is dealing with mUltiple slate provided benefits.
    • The shifting terrain of feminist theory and activism : university-based women's centres and third wave feminism

      Adams, Lindsay.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2009-06-01)
      This thesis, based on the results of an organizational ethnography of a university-based feminist organization in Southern Ontario (the Centre), traces how third wave feminism is being constituted in the goals, initiatives, mandate, organizational structure, and overall culture of university-based feminist organizations. I argue that, from its inception, the meanings and goals of the Centre have been contested through internal critique, reflection, and discussion inspired by significant shifts in feminist theory that challenge the fundamental principles of second wave feminism. I identify a major shift in the development and direction of the Centre that occurs in two distinct phases. The first phase of the shift occurs with the emergence of an antioppression framework, which broadens the Centre's mandate beyond gender and sexism to consider multiple axes of identity and oppression that affect women's lives. The second phase of this shift is characterized by a focus on (trans) inclusion and accessibility and has involved changing the Centre's name so that it is no longer identified as a women's centre in order to reflect more accurately its focus on mUltiple axes of identity and oppression. Along with identifying two phases of a major shift in the direction of the Centre, I trace two discourses about its development. The dominant discourse of the Centre's development is one of progress and evolution. The dominant discourse characterizes the Centre as a dynamic feminist organization that consistently strives to be more inclusive and diverse. The reverse discourse undermines the dominant discourse by emphasizing that, despite the Centre's official attempts to be inclusive and to build diversity, little has actually changed, leaving women of colour marginalized in the Centre's dominant culture of whiteness. This research reveals that, while many of their strategies have unintended (negative) consequences, members of the Centre are working to build an inclusive politics of resistance that avoids the mistakes of earlier feminist movements and organizations. These members, along with other activists, actively constitute third wave feminism in a process that is challenging, contradictory, and often painful. A critical analysis of this process and the strategies it involves provides an opportunity for activists to reflect on their experiences and develop new strategies in an effort to further struggles for social justice and equity.
    • A minor theory of the transit of materiality into discourse, Via Campesina.

      Franks, Aaron.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2008-05-21)
      In this thesis I explore how the material properties of plant seed enter the political discourses of the international peasant coalition the Via Campesina and coalition member the National Fanners Union of Canada (NFU), querying how this process might be employed as a resource for a transformative eco-social politics. I employ several post-structural theoretical constructs, configuring them together as a "minor theory". This minor theory provides the basis for a "minor" reading of three sets of Via Campesina and NFU texts. The aim of these readings is to track the movement of seed from a local agricultural concern to a transitive political one, across both the material and discursive registers. In surfacing the presence of the seed's physical properties in the three texts, I highlight the distinctions between the constraining seed of corporate industrial agriculture, and the social and agroecological opportunities resulting from what I call a "Seed Event".
    • Dancing politics : connecting women's experiences of rave in Toronto to ageism and patriarchy

      Gregory, Julie.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      Based on a critical analysis of recent Canadian and British media, academic, and political representations of rave, in conjunction with the author's and ten female interviewees' past experiences as active rave participants, the purpose of this thesis is to show the ways that rave can be understood as political. Drawing on a post-structural understanding of politics, which understands macro social issues and micro personal experiences as intimately linked and inseparable, this thesis fills a gap in the existing rave literature by explicitly drawing out (a) the ways that active rave participation is entangled in dominant understandings of age and gender-appropriate activities, and (b) the implications that these entanglements have on the ways that some women experience and construct their past active rave participation. Specifically, the author examines the ways that age and gender intersect and inform the discourses on which research participants drew to describe and rationalize their experiences of becoming, being, and ceasing to be active rave participants in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. At the same time that the majority of research participants' introductions to rave followed heterosexualized and heternormative patterns, they also constructed active rave participation as a way to challenge popular representations of rave as an inappropriate activity, especially for young women. When rationalizing the cessation of their active rave participation, however, these women reproduced depictions of rave participation as a transitory and juvenile phase where older women are particularly misplaced. The various ways that these women simultaneously challenged, experienced, and facilitated dominant ageist and patriarchal discourses about who does and does belong in rave are interpreted as evidence that micro rave experiences cannot be divorced from macro discriminatory discourses, and that "the personal is political."
    • Graffiti, memory and contested space : mnemonic initiatives following trauma and/or repression in Buenos Aires, Argentina

      Kaipainen, Erin E. Armi.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      Graffiti, Memory and Contested Space: Mnemonic Initiatives Following Periods of Trauma and/or Repression in Buenos Aires, Argentina This thesis concerns the popular articulation ofmemory following periods or incidents of trauma in Argentina. I am interested in how groups lay claim to various public spaces in the city and how they convert these spaces into mnemonic battlegrounds. In considering these spaces of trauma and places of memory, I am primarily interested in how graffiti writing (stencils, spray-paint, signatures, etchings, wall-paintings, murals and installations) is used to make these spaces transmit particular memories that impugn official versions of the past. This thesis draws on literatures focused on popular/public memory. Scholars argue that memory is socially constructed and thus actively contested. Marginal initiatives such as graffiti writing challenge the memory projects of the state as well as state projects that are perceived by citizens to be 'inadequate,' 'inappropriate,' and/or as promoting the erasure of memory. Many of these initiatives are a reaction to the proreconciliation and pro-oblivion strategies of previous governments. I outline that the history of silences and impunity, and a longstanding emphasis on reconciliation at the expense of truth and justice has created an environment of vulnerable memory in Argentina. Popular memory entrepreneurs react by aggressively articulating their memories in time and in space. As a result of this intense memory work, the built landscape in Buenos Aires is dotted with mnemonic initiatives that aim to contradict or subvert officially sanctioned memories. I also suggest that memory workers in Argentina persistently and carefially use the sites of trauma as well as key public spaces to ensure official as well as popular audiences . The data for this project was collected in five spaces in Buenos Aires, the Plaza de Mayo, Plaza Congreso, La Republica Cromanon nightclub, Avellaneda Train Station and El Olimpo, a former detention centre from the military dictatorship.
    • On the edge : exploring homeless women's social networks

      Athersych, Cheryl.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      This thesis aims to uncover the ways that previously homeless women in the Niagara region are able (or unable) to rely on friends, family and service providers in times of crisis (homelessness and poverty). Eleven women were interviewed and their experiences indicate that social networks cannot take the place of comprehensive and inclusive social policy. Time and time again, their stories showed that they were left negotiating the detritus of neo-liberal policies.
    • Righteous sounds and reproductive justice : the influence of Ani DiFranco's music for reproductive rights activists

      Domanski, Anna Lise.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2008-05-21)
      In this thesis, I explore how the folk-rock music of Ani DiFranco has influenced the activist commitments, sensibilities, and activities of reproductive rights activists. My interest in the relation of popular music to social movements is informed by the work of Simon Frith (1987, 1996a, 1996b), Rob Rosenthal (2001), and Ann Savage (2003). Frith argues that popular music is an important contributor to personal identity and the ways that listeners see the world. Savage (2003) writes that fans develop a unique relationship with feminist/political music, and Rosenthal (2001) argues that popular music can be an important factor in building social movements. I use these arguments to ask what the influence of Ani DiFranco's music has been for reproductive rights activists who are her fans. I conducted in-depth interviews with ten reproductive rights activists who are fans of Ani DiFranco's music. All ten are women in their twenties and thirties living in Ontario or New York. Each has been listening to DiFranco's music for between two and fifteen years, and has considered herself a reproductive rights activist for between eighteen months and twenty years. I examine these women's narratives of their relationships with Ani DiFranco's music and their activist experience through the interconnected lenses of identity, consciousness, and practice. Listening to Ani DiFranco's music affects the fluid ways these women understand their identities as women, as feminists, and in solidarity with others. I draw on Freire's (1970) understanding of conscientization to consider the role that Ani's music has played in heightening women's awareness about reproductive rights issues. The feeling of solidarity with other (both real and perceived) activist fans gives them more confidence that they can make a difference in overcoming social injustice. They believe that Ani's music encourages productive anger, which in turn fuels their passion to take action to make change. Women use Ani's music deliberately for energy and encouragement in their continued activism, and find that it continues to resonate with their evolving identities as women, feminists, and activists. My study builds on those of Rosenthal (2001) and Savage (2003) by focusing on one artist and activists in one social movement. The characteristics of Ani DiFranco, her fan base, and the reproductive rights movement allow new understanding of the ways that female fans who are members of a female-dominated feminist movement interact with the music of a popular independent female artist.
    • Gendered inequality in academia : exploring women's experiences during the pre-tenure stages of their academic career

      Reimer, Matthew.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2008-05-21)
      This research uses the work of Pierre Bourdieu as a starting point for an examination of women's experiences during the pre-tenure stages of their academic career. This thesis is based on six semi-structured interviews with six tenured academic women in the Faculty of Social Sciences at a medium sized Ontario University. I explore the ranges of experiences that the women report encountering during their pre-tenure years, as well as demonstrate how these experiences are gendered. Through my analysis, I find that women's experiences in academia are shaped by a culture that legitimates their existence in the academic field insofar as they embody the dispositions that reinforce the gendered structure of the academic institution. I argue that being measured according to a prototypical male standard creates difficulties for academic women during their pre-tenure years.
    • Citizen Jane : exploring the relationship between gender and cellular phones in societies of control

      Maguire, Heather Fiona.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2007-05-21)
      In this thesis, I argue that the mutually productive relationship between women (as gendered subjects) and cellular phone technology is one of control. Women use cellular phones to organize, manage and otherwise control the multiplicity of tasks required of them on a daily basis. At the same time, through using cell phones, women participate in regimes of control including surveillance and persistent connection. I explore this relationship at the level of everyday practice, and conclude by speculating about this relationship at a wider level of social control and organization. This argument emerges from the critical approach suggested by Slack and Wise (2005), who argue that technology and culture are inseparable. They provide articulations and assemblages as tools of analysis. I situate this analysis more broadly within Foucault's (1991) work on govemmentality, in its modem form of societies of control (Deleuze, 1995b).
    • Production under glass : working conditions and class-consciousness of the Niagara greenhouse workers

      Hofman, Karen.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2006-05-19)
      This study applies a Marxist theoretical paradigm to examine the working conditions of greenhouse workers in the Niagara Region, and the range of factors that bear upon the formation of their class-consciousness. The Niagara greenhouse industry represents one of the most developed horticultural regions in Canada and plays a prominent role in the local economy. The industry generates substantial revenues and employs a significant number of people, yet the greenhouse workers are paid one of the lowest rates in the region. Being classified as agricultural workers, the greenhouse employees are exempted from many provisions of federal and provincial labour regulations. Under the current provincial statutes, agricultural workers in Ontario are denied the right to organize and bargain collectively. Except for a few technical and managerial positions, the greenhouse industry employs mostly low-skilled workers who are subjected to poor working conditions that stem from the employer's attempts to adapt to larger structural imperatives of the capitalist economy. While subjected to these poor working conditions, the greenhouse workers are also affected by objectively alienated social relations and by ruling class ideological domination and hegemony. These two sets of factors arise from the inherent conflict of interests between wage-labour and capital but also militate against the development of class-consciousness. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 greenhouse workers to examine the role played by their material circumstances in the formulation of their social and political views as well as the extent to which they are aware of their class location and class interests. The hegemonic notions of 'common sense' acted as impediments to formation of classconsciousness. The greenhouse workers have virtually no opportunities to access alternative perspectives that would address the issues associated with exploitation in production and offer solutions leading to 'social justice'. Fonnidable challenges confront any organized political body seeking to improve the conditions of the working people.
    • (Re)writing the other/self : autoethnography in the transcultural arena of representation

      Sabra, Samah.; Social Justice and Equity Studies Program (Brock University, 2005-05-19)
      Abstract: In Imperial Eyes Mary Louise Pratt (1992: 7, emphasis original) defines autoethnography as "instances in which colonized subjects undertake to represent themselves in ways that engage with the colonizer's own terms ... in response to or in dialogue with . . . metropolitan representations." Although Pratt's conceptualization of autoethnography has much to offer post-colonial studies, it has received little attention in the field. In this thesis, I interrogate Pratt's notion of autoethnography as a theoretical tool for understanding the self-representations of subordinate peoples within transcultural terrains of signification. I argue that autoethnography is a concept that allows us to move beyond some theoretical dualisms, and to recognize the (necessary) coexistence of subordinate peoples' simultaneous accommodation of and resistance to dominant representations of themselves. I suggest that even when autoethnographic expressions seem to rely on or to reproduce dominant knowledges, their very existence as speech acts implicitly resists dominant discourses which objectify members of oppressed populations and re-create them as Native Informants. I use Pratt's concept to analyze two books by Islamic feminist sociologist Fatima Memissi. Memissi's Dreams ofTrespass and Scheherazade Goes West illustrate the simultaneity of accommodation and disruption evident in autoethnographic communication. Across the two books, Memissi shows herself renegotiating the discourses which discipline her (and her speech). She switches back and forth between the positions of reader and author, demonstrates the reciprocity of the disciplinary gaze (she looks back at her dominants, reading their own reading of her representation of her social group), and provides a model of autoethnographic dialogue.