Graduate Theses & Dissertations

“At least I can feel like I’ve done my job as a mom”
This study examines the household foodwork of low-income mothers in Peterborough, Ontario and considers how community food initiatives (CFIs) such as community gardens and good food box programs can support these women in their efforts to feed their families adequately. I draw on multiple data sources: interviews with representatives from Peterborough CFIs; interviews with and illustrations by 21 local low-income mothers; debrief sessions following participants’ tours of CFIs; and my ongoing involvement with two local food networks. The mothers’ extensive foodwork considerations, strategies, and struggles reflect an engagement with three main ideals that are placed further out of reach through poverty and food insecurity. Women experienced pressure through these ideals: the “good mother,” to take primary responsibility for their children’s well-being through food; the “good consumer,” to participate in society as individual consumers; and the “good food program participant,” to avoid indications of over-reliance on food programs. Each ideal reflects the neoliberal exaltation of self-sufficiency and its flipside, the vilification of dependence. The research results highlight the need for CFIs to focus on the broader, systemic discursive and material challenges that can hamper the foodwork of all low-income mothers, in addition to addressing the immediate needs of their own participants. Towards this goal, Peterborough CFIs employ principles of universality, social inclusion, democratic processes, and broadening of social imaginaries. In their efforts, CFIs must navigate between cultivating collectivity and interdependence on the one hand, and engaging with this familiar, individualizing neoliberal ethos on the other hand. This study provides insights about the subjectivities of low-income mothers that may be useful for CFI programming as well as more analytic examinations of the role and impact of CFIs. It also reveals the common feminization, devaluation, and under resourcing of the food-related work of both mothers and CFIs. In doing so, the study points to the urgent need for broad dialogue and political action regarding poverty, dependence, caring labour, and the roles of citizens and the state in ensuring that households can adequately feed themselves. Author Keywords: Community Food Initiatives, Community Food Programs, Domestic Labour, Food Insecurity, Gendering of Caring Labour, Household Food Work
To be kind or not to be kind
Past research suggests that students who are more academically resourceful tend to attain higher grades and feel more socially and academically adjusted at university. These same studies also show that students’ general resourcefulness and academic self-efficacy are strong, positive and direct predictors of their academic resourcefulness. My thesis expands upon this line of research by investigating the six dimensions of self-compassion (i.e., self-kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, self-criticism, isolation, over-identification) within the framework of the academic self-control model. In Study 1, a mixed methods approach was used, whereby after completing a measure on general learned resourcefulness, 20 students were interviewed to describe in detail their experiences with academic success and failure. Across the continuum of resourcefulness, interviews were analyzed for usage of self-compassion, academic resourcefulness, and explanatory style. Four themes emerged illustrating, compared to the highly resourceful students, the less resourceful students demonstrated fewer instances of academically resourceful behaviour, believed academic successes should require little effort, focused on the product of getting a high grade versus the process, and were less socially adjusted and mindful, and more isolated, ruminative, and overly self-critical when describing academic disappointments. Study 2 employed a correlational design to examine the relationships between the dimensions of self-compassion and the variables of the academic self-control model, with a sample of 196 students. As expected, the six dimensions of self-compassion were more strongly related to general resourcefulness than academic resourcefulness, with mindfulness and common humanity being unique predictors of the former variable. The contribution of the six dimensions to academic resourcefulness was shared with general resourcefulness and academic self-efficacy. The bivariate relationships between the dimensions of self-compassion and students’ grades were largely non-significant. Two dimensions uniquely predicted students’ adjustment to university – isolation and common humanity – alongside general and academic resourcefulness. In summary, the dimensions of self-compassion uniquely related to the more general measures of the model. Future research should explore the usefulness of an academic-specific measure of self-compassion in the prediction of academic resourcefulness, explanatory style, and grades. Whether including training on how to be more self-compassionate, in conjunction with teaching resourcefulness strategies, is beneficial for students is discussed. Author Keywords: academic resourcefulness, adjustment, explanatory style, general learned resourcefulness, self-compassion, self-efficacy
"TOUGH BUT NECESSARY"? AN ANALYSIS OF NEOLIBERAL AND ANTI-FEMINIST DISCOURSES USED IN THE ELIMINATION OF THE NEW BRUNSWICK ADVISORY COUNCIL ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
This study demonstrates that the New Brunswick government rationalized the 2011 elimination of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women (NBACSW) by discursively framing it as a duplication of services and as a non-essential service. The study relies on interviews with women who had been involved with the NBACSW, as well as literature about the use of neoliberal and anti-feminist discourses at the national level. I argue that the two rationalizations offered by the New Brunswick government rely on similar neoliberal and anti-feminist discourses to those used at the national level to eliminate women's institutional machinery and thus diminish women's capacities for advocacy and political representation. I argue that this discursive move positioned the province's largest women's advocacy group as an impediment to the common good of the province and as a threat to "Ordinary New Brunswickers," signalling a negative step for women in the province. Author Keywords: Anti-feminist backlash, Canadian Feminism, Canadian Women's Movements, Discourse Analysis, Neoliberalism, New Brunswick
Commonality of Enemies
Carlism and anarchism were revolutionary social movements that acquired significant popular support during the most intensive period of modernization in Spain (mid 19th to mid 20th centuries). It was noted but not well explored by contemporaries and historians that these enemies were similar in their hostility towards modernization and in their intense idealism. This thesis compares the two movements in order to determine the nature of their commonality and what this suggests about ideological enemies. A range of sources were consulted, including scholarship on modern Spain, biographical information on individuals who converted from Carlism to anarchism and contemporary print media. It was concluded that they were produced by the same destabilizing processes of disentailment and industrialization, which drew the working classes towards proposals that would have otherwise seemed implausibly utopian. The thesis further suggests that they were uniquely idealistic, in that they put moral integrity before the success of their cause. Author Keywords: anarchism, Carlism, enemy other, modernization, Modern Spain, social movements

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