Department of Sociology Graduate Theses

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    Extracting Intelligence and (In)security: Corporate-state Information-sharing Practices and the Construction of Narratives of Indigenous Dissent
    Reid-Davies, Dylyn; Sociology; Hand, Martin
    This thesis aims to examine how narratives of Indigenous land defense movements are constituted by investigating natural resource extraction corporations and Canadian intelligence and national security agencies joint participation in information-sharing practices. I consider a specific set of “information-sharing practices” otherwise understood as acts or activities set out as part of state national security strategies. I argue that in these practices, state and corporate interests converge due to their shared investment in upholding settler colonial authority. While points of divergence remain, these practices legitimize the classification of dissent as a national security concern and further surveillance of Indigenous land defense movements in the “national interest.” I conducted a thematic discourse analysis on a mixed dataset of institutional records, primarily retrieved from Access To Information (ATI) requests, to map the narratives advanced within them. Additionally, I conducted a comparative content analysis to identify the prevalence of threats across three different national security involved actors. I show that corporate-state information-sharing practices advance a narrative that emphasizes economic harm as the primary risk of dissent against natural resource extraction projects. Further I argue that another narrative advanced suggests an ever-present suspicion of dissent, with Indigenous dissent discursively constructed as eminently at risk of escalating. I conclude that these narratives have spilled over into legal and political discourse, resulting in the criminalization and polarization of Indigenous dissent.
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    Order Beyond the Court: Exploring the Community Support Team Program Through Realist Evaluation
    Hart, Kristine A.; Sociology; Sytsma, Victoria
    Background: Since the inception of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) in 2003, the number of youth entering the Canadian justice system has declined. This trend is in line with the YCJA’s key objectives to divert youth from the justice system through extrajudicial measures. There is limited evidence depicting the most appropriate ways in which community programs should address the youth justice cases being diverted to them. Further, there is no governing mandate to hold community programs accountable for the implementation of their programming, or evaluations to attribute success to their programs. The present study uses two primary theoretical frameworks—the Ecological Systems Theory and the Risk-Needs-Responsivity Model—to examine the mechanisms by which the program interventions operate and the extent to which they impact youth.. Methods: This study relied on secondary data from a community-based diversion program aimed at building skills to deter youth offenders at medium- to high-risk from reoffending through a tailored, case management approach. A realist approach was employed to evaluate how individual and environmental factors influence various youth identity groups differently with regards to achieving the intended outcomes. Chi Square, T-tests, and ANOVA were used to examine the research questions of this study. Results and discussion: Following participation in the program, study participants demonstrated high levels of therapeutic alliance and slight improvements in their ecological systems, however youth with stronger therapeutic alliance experienced weaker ecological systems. Relationship-building skills acted as a potential mechanism supporting the presence of strong ecological systems and presence of strong therapeutic alliance. Exposure to trauma was related to high levels of both therapeutic alliance and a strong ecological system, potentially moderating this relationship. No relationship was found between youth engagement in program activities and improved lagging skills, nor did social, emotional or executive functioning skills appear to affect youth engagement. Parental responsiveness and emotional regulation appear to act as potential mechanisms impacting the relationship between program engagement improvements in lagging skills. Findings from this study highlight the complex relationship between exposure to trauma and outcomes and the importance of emotional regulation and relationship-building skills as mechanisms leading to positive outcomes.
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    Perceptions of Image-Based Sexual Harassment and Abuse: A Systematic Review
    Gauthier, Emilie; Sociology; Saulnier, Alana
    Image-based sexual harassment and abuse (IBSHA) is a type of sexual violence encompassing various actions such as revenge pornography, child pornography, and many others that use intimate images to inflict harm upon another. This systematic review summarizes 175 works documenting relevant social actors’ perceptions of IBSHA, including police officers, social media platform administrators, offenders, victims, lawyers, judges, educators, activists, and the general public. A communicative constructivist approach is used to analyze and discuss the findings. Other theories applied to the findings include reintegrative shaming, responsive treatment, trauma-informed care and Ten Boom and Kujipers’ (2012) synthesis of victims’ needs. Framed by the context in which the images were produced and distributed, themes such as responsibility attribution, offender motivations, morality, cisheteronormative sexuality, social expectations, and more inform perceptions of IBSHA. Most importantly, findings suggest that some constructions of IBSHA foster negative attitudes towards victim-survivors and spark unfavorable perceptions of formal regulatory responses aimed at addressing IBSHA. Results highlight the need for research, policy-oriented work, and intervention practices seeking to improve the attitudes, responses and resources victims of IBSHA have access to.
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    Exploring Job-Related Stress and Job Satisfaction Amongst Correctional Officers and Correctional Staff
    Henry, Jared Alexander Kenneth; Sociology; Sytsma, Victoria
    The role and responsibility of the correctional officer has increased in both complexity and difficulty over time. This expanded role can be categorized into four main tasks: (1) security--providing surveillance inside the prison; (2) service--looking after inmate needs; (3) helping inmates adjust to life inside the facility; and (4) helping inmates prepare to re-enter the community (Griffiths & Murdoch, 2018). Due to both the carceral environment and the nature of the work performed by the correctional officer, decreased job satisfaction, experiences of stress and burnout, and poor mental health have become prevalent (Hepburn & Knepper, 1993; Armstrong & Griffin, 2004; Finney et al., 2013; Lambert et al., 2010; Isenhardt et al., 2019). The present study provides insight into level of job-related stress level and job satisfaction of prison staff and correctional officers within the Canadian context. More specifically, this project examines differences between prison staff and correctional officers in job-related stress and job satisfaction, across correctional security levels. An original 28-item anonymous survey was administered to 46 correctional officers and correctional staff. Findings from the survey identify similarities between the occupation groups in perceptions of safety and the perceived value of their role to the public. Findings indicate several differences in perceptions of impact of work, information received from management, level of team cooperation, level of respect from supervisor, and value of their role to the inmates. Similarities in perception across security levels were also found (perception of personal fulfillment and pride in work), as were similarities across previously worked security level (experiences of tension, and feelings of stress, anxiety, frustration, worry, emotional exhaustion, and distress).
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    Discourses of Disability and Sexuality: Barriers to Sexual Citizenship
    Jenner, Ginger; Sociology; Abrams, Thomas
    This project brings together two areas of discussion that are often avoided or completely denied: disability and sexuality. This thesis will employ a disability studies framework to understand the barriers that prevent disabled people from being sexually active citizens. I begin my looking to the historical, political, and cultural construction of disabled people’s sexuality as a problem. Next, I take a cross-cultural perspective. I provide a cultural history of disability and sexuality in 20th Century Denmark. Disability and disabled people’s sexual practices were once medicalized and institutionalized in Denmark. With social reform, the discourse changed, seeing the fundamental relationship between disability and sexuality normalized. I contrast this experience with Canadian policy and legislation, that continues to deny individuals with disabilities their status as sexual citizens. By examining the Immigration Act of 1910 and the Sterilization Act of 1928, I argue that colonial biopower segregated and aimed to eradicate minority groups from its goal of a pure Canadian state. I suggest these practices influence present-day policy. I find this discourse present a guide to sexual education that has been produced by the Government of Ontario, for parents of adolescents with developmental disabilities. Here disability remains an object of fear, danger, and something best avoided. This project ends by arguing for a critical movement encompassing disabled Canadians and the support necessary to achieve sexual status. I conclude with some recommendations to affirm sexuality for all, in both policy and pedagogy to come.