Department of Sociology Graduate Theses

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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.
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    Standardizing Automated Licence Plate Recognition Policy in Canadian Policing
    Pelletier, Amanda; Sociology; Saulnier, Alana
    Automated licence plate recognition (ALPR), a popular policing tool is minimally regulated in Canada. I document historical and contemporary patterns of ALPR use and procedures governing ALPR through a national survey of all municipal, provincial, federal, and First Nations police services across Canada. A content analysis was used to identify key themes in the collected procedures. Themes include ALPR purpose, retention, proactive planning, information access, data modification, data security, expectations of users, public education, and training. Themes from service procedures are situated against Canadian and international ALPR guidelines to identify all the content that should be included in a comprehensive ALPR procedure. This comprehensive framework will contribute to the standardized and evidence-based use of ALPR in Canada.
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    Repression, Resistance, State of Exception: The Case of Peace Academics of Turkey
    Onurer, Gaye; Sociology; B. Lauer (Levine-Rasky), Cynthia
    This dissertation examines the embodied impact of a 2016 petition statement, namely the Peace Petition, for the signatory public intellectuals, known as Peace Academics, in the intensifying authoritarian context of Turkey. The Turkish state is one in which politico-legal exceptionality has become the norm through a routinized state of exception since the second half of 2016 in the aftermath of a coup attempt. The peace petition statement, publicized in January 2016, condemned state violence and human rights violations in the southeastern part of the country predominantly populated by the racialized Kurdish ethnic minority. The signatory academics have faced a disproportionate crackdown alongside multiple violations of their social, civil, and political rights. I examine the ongoing social, spatial, economic, legal, and political consequences of the petition statement for the Peace Academics throughout the case. I also examine the creative forms and practices of resistance in which the academics have engaged in the face of intensified repression. The main thesis of this dissertation is that (1) on the threshold of law and the absence-of-law, the regime in Turkey blends repressive biopolitical mechanisms with novel necropolitical mechanisms to control and punish public dissent, in this case the academics, and; (2) although politico-legal exceptionality is often thought to shut down the possibilities of resistance, it offers both limitations and opportunities to create and inspire collective and everyday forms of resistance in local, national, and transnational contexts. In examining the first of these claims, this dissertation offers insight into the logics and workings of intensifying forms of authoritarianism. In exploring the second of these claims, it offers insight into academic-political activism in an era of democratic backsliding.
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    Unsolicited Advice: An Examination of the Affective Politics in Disabled Peoples' Lives
    Ingram, Megan; Sociology; Abrams, Thomas
    The prevalence of unsolicited advice in the lives of disabled people is well catalogued through the mass of news articles, op-eds, and social media posts dedicated to the issue. However, less is known about the affective impacts of this advice on disabled people and the potential resistance that may be enacted towards negative affects directed towards them such as resentment, fear, and pity. The present work aims to explore the links between emotion, mind, and body that occur in interactions involving unsolicited advice between disabled and non-disabled individuals. Using narrative accounts from fifteen semi-structured qualitative interviews with disabled individuals in Ontario, Canada, the research addresses: 1) The affective impacts of unsolicited advice on disabled people. 2) Strategies disabled people use to manage the emotional impact resulting from unsolicited advice and “blame culture" (Hughes 2015), individually and collectively. 3) The ways disabled individuals emote or ‘perform’ their subject positioning in response to this unsolicited advice. Ultimately, this research argues that while unsolicited advice acts as a method of blaming and shaming, wherein non-disabled individuals work to soothe their own discomfort with disability and the broader neoliberal political context, disabled people resist feeling 'ashamed' and strategically react to and deploy emotion in response to unsolicited advice in resistant and empowering ways. The availability of emotional responses to different parties within the interaction, as well as the strategic deployment of emotion by disabled people indicates a politics of emotion, and, more specifically, a politics of shame.
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    Municipal Climate Change Governance: A Pathway to Resilience-Building and Vulnerability-Reduction A Case Study Of Kingston, Ontario
    Yousefinejad, Elham; Sociology; Taylor, Marcus
    In 2019, Kingston became the first municipality in Ontario to declare a ‘climate emergency’. This declaration stimulated further commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance community resilience to adapt to climate change impacts. The present research aims to evaluate Kingston municipal government’s climate policies to understand strengths, weaknesses, and areas for potential improvement. Formulated upon the analytical frameworks of adaptive governance and political ecology, this qualitative research triangulated content analysis of the documents produced by the City of Kingston with semi-structured interviews with the City officials and social justice advocates whose works are related to climate policies and the most vulnerable population in the face of climate change. The results of this study are summarized through three main arguments. First, adaptive governance and resilience thinking elements are present in Kingston’s climate policies. However, they need to be further and more explicitly developed to shape the policies in future. Second, Kingston emphasizes scientific framing and technical solutions for reducing emissions over the contextual and human security framing and adaptation. Consequently, the idea of climate vulnerability and importance of justice-oriented approach to avoid maladaptation and unintended effects of adaptation on marginal groups is not integrated in its climate change plan so far. Finally, to address this gap, Kingston needs to create a new policy document with a stronger equity and justice orientation within both adaptation and mitigation.