Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Alpha and Omega
Game texts present unique and dynamic opportunities for lability: how readers can make choices while reading that alter the narrative's nature or outcome. Labile decisions are neither simply correct nor incorrect--the reader renders judgement to produce a desired outcome. When encountering labile challenges, players employ an interpretive strategy to resolve them. Many game texts tell stories. Games anticipate readers' interpretive strategies to orchestrate a desired result in labile narratives and manipulate players into inhabiting an identity in a variety of different ways. This thesis examines how Fallout 3 does so with periodically opposable intentions, mainly applying an inconsistent moral orthodoxy via the player character's father, but occasionally exhibiting the series' nihilistic philosophy that disdains American exceptionalism, undermining the orthodoxy. This isolates and breaks down the interpretive communities the player inhabits to play the game. Author Keywords: Exceptionalism, Identity, Lability, Morality, Narrative, Video Games
With the expansion of the internet, there are a number of opportunities to engage in cyber-bullying behaviour, however, to date, only a few studies have examined interpersonal predictors of cyber-bullying. The purpose of this research study was to explore relationship and personality factors associated with being a bully and/or a victim. The first goal of this study was to develop a comprehensive cyber-bullying measure. Results indicated three groups of cyber-bullying behaviours, including traditional (e.g. gossip); personal attack (e.g. negative remarks towards religion); and malicious behaviours (e.g. threats). Next, the associations between cyber-bullying and attachment, interdependence, and the dark triad of personality were examined. Analyses revealed that cyber-bullying was negatively associated with attachment security and interdependence and positively associated with insecurity and psychopathy. Discussion of the findings highlighted the importance of the dark triad in understanding predictors of cyber-bullying behaviours. Author Keywords: Attachment, Bullying, Cyber-bullying, Dark Triad, Interpersonal Relationships, Personality
Agony of Writing Or Ambivalent Reversal In Baudrillard's Stylistic Metamorphoses
Following Baudrillard's conceptual and stylistic shift of the mid-70s, this thesis argues that said shift is accounted for by understanding the ontological quandary Baudrillard found himself in after developing a theoretical agonism impossible to divorce from the practice of writing. By tracing the conceptual metamorphoses of key terms including semiotic ambivalence, symbolic exchange and theoretical writing itself as a total agonistic process, this thesis demonstrates that theory is not reducible to epistemic production but is rather the contentious site of challenge and aesthetic (dis)appearance. Each chapter examines a conceptual tension revealing insoluble, conflicting social forms. These forms reveal the reversibility Baudrillard finds at work in all social phenomena. These culminate in a chapter that tackles Baudrillard's writing itself as a social form that endeavours to embody the agonistic theoretical concept as a process rather than remaining a representation, or commentary on, ambivalent social conflict. Author Keywords: agonist, ambivalence, Baudrillard, reversibility, style, writing
Nature without Balance
This thesis critically analyses the connection between ideology and nature, and in particular, aims to reflect on the dominant discourses on the topic of ecological crisis. The ecological thought framework that I adhere to rests on a combination of Frankfurt School and Žižekian theories. This combination is not without serious tensions and deviations; however, central to this project are the ways in which their respective works extensively critique ideology, and propose subversive alternatives to and new meanings of how we can conceptualize nature without domination. Dominant ideas and critiques of nature and natural history emerged during the Enlightenment era, and as Adorno argues, fell victim to a “reduction ad hominem,” or the claim that in order to free oneself, one must dominate, appropriate, and master nature. I claim that the extreme choices in environmental politics today - namely organic populism on one hand and increased technological intervention on the other - fail to account for the ways ‘nature’ is a socio-historical construct, and moreover, is situated within a false reality wherein the ‘essence of existence’ is reduced to technological mastery. What we encounter in this cautionary armoury of paradoxical approaches to nature, then, is the ideological currents of established belief systems. By exposing the illusions within the concept nature, such as the argumentative persuasion that there exists an inherent balance, the elementary cell of ideology reveals itself alongside revolutionary possibilities. Author Keywords: Crises, Critical Theory, Ideology, Nature, Slavoj Zizek, Theodor Adorno
Understanding Dimensions of Environmental Sustainability in a Northern Indigenous Context
Although the concept of environmental sustainability has become increasingly popular, the literature offers little practical guidance to direct priorities or actions to support environmental sustainability in northern Indigenous communities. A case study in Hopedale, Nunatsiavut, and a systematic literature review was undertaken to understand: 1) what aspects of the local environment are of value to a northern Indigenous community; and 2) what does existing literature identify as key elements of a community-based approach to monitor valued aspects of the environment in a northern Indigenous context. Hopedale residents spoke to the importance of going off on the land and identified a number of categories of places in their local environment of importance to them, including: 1) valued areas for human-use, 2) areas to protect, 3) areas of environmental concern, and 4) areas to monitor. The systematic literature review highlighted trends on community-based monitoring (CBM) publications, and identified key 13 elements of CBM approaches that are pertinent to northern Indigenous communities. Insights from this study will inform environmental planning and management in the case community of Hopedale, as well as offer guidance to enhance current and future CBM activities in the North and elsewhere. Author Keywords: community-based monitoring, environmental sustainability, Inuit, Labrador, participatory mapping, systematic literature review
Assessment of Corporate Social Responsibility Compliance
The modern world faces a number of social, economic, and environmental sustainability challenges. Since businesses are assumed to have a role in causing such problems, they must also play a role in finding solutions. In Canada, the extent to which corporate social responsibility is institutionalized in the oil and gas industry remains a contentious issue among stakeholders. This study examines the extent of corporate social responsibility compliance in oil and gas corporations through an assessment of the corporate social responsibility reporting of two oil and gas organizations. Comparative analysis was used to determine each firm’s operational level compliance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines in terms of corporate social responsibility reporting. The study showed that firms' levels of compliance with social, economic, and environmental responsibility are unequal. As a result, a five-part mechanism is recommended to strengthen corporate social responsibility in the industry. Author Keywords: Corporate social responsibility, Corporate social responsibility compliance, Corporate social responsibility reporting, Sustainable development
Factors Influencing the Prioritization of Sites for Conservation on Private Land in Southern Ontario
Conservation organizations use strategic prioritization methods to order complex environments, evaluate landscapes, and distribute efficiently resources for conservation. This study explores how strategic prioritization decisions are made, drawing on a case study of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). This thesis identifies the factors affecting prioritization and their influence on the public perception of the NCC. The case study revealed that the NCC utilizes comprehensive science-based methods when prioritizing for conservation but its methods are also influenced by the 'opportunity function' (funding, threats, public/political support). How these factors are communicated depends on the audience (e.g. NCC Conservation Blueprints stress the scientific value of the environment; the NCC uses its media sources to emphasize the human-environment connection). These differences indicate the multi-dimensional nature of planning for conservation, its links to values emerging from science, politics, and society, and the need for collaborative conservation efforts and earning and maintaining public trust. Author Keywords: biodiversity conservation priorities, collaboration, Nature Conservancy of Canada, opportunity function, private conservation organizations, science-based conservation
Lithic Raw Material Characterization and Technological Organization of a Late Archaic Assemblage from Jacob Island, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario
The objective of this thesis is to document and characterize the raw material and technological organization of a Late Archaic assemblage from Jacob Island, 1B/1C area (collectively referred to as BcGo-17), Peterborough County, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. The purpose of this research is to gain a greater understanding of the Late Archaic period in central Ontario; particularly information on locally available raw material types (i.e., Trent Valley cherts) and regional interaction. My aim is to define the range of materials exploited for stone tool production and use, and to explore how variation in material relates to variation in economic strategies; I also complete a basic technological study. The collected data is then compared to temporally and geographically similar sites, and used to interpret possible relationships between acquisition practices, technology choices, and mobility. It was found that although the assemblage agrees with some of the mobility and raw material utilization models from south-western Ontario, many do not explain what was occurring on Jacob Island. Author Keywords: Archaic, Lithic Economic Strategies, Lithic Raw Material, Lithic Technology, Ontario Archaeology, Trent Valley
Reassessing Bioarchaeological Sex Determination and Research into Gender at the Early Anglo-Saxon Worthy Park Burial Ground Round in Hampshire, England
When bioarchaeologists investigate ancient gender identity, they typically place skeletal remains into one of six sex assessment categories: male, female, possible/probable male, possible/probable female, ambiguous, and indeterminate. However, the study samples are often reduced to male and female reproducing a male/female gender and sex binary prevalent in the "Western" cultural milieu and bioarchaeology when inferences are made about gender and sex in the past. In order to allow for the existence of non-binary cultural genders and biological sexes, this thesis: 1) demonstrates the multitude of ethnographic, ethnohistoric, historic, and medical evidence relating to non-binary sex and gender expression; 2) tests a method inspired by Whelan (1991) that looks at gender as an identity not fully inspired by biological sex; 3) keeps all sex assessment categories used by bioarchaeologists separate in analysis and interpretation; and 4) analyses patterns relating to all available material culture and biological attributes in a mortuary sample to investigate gender identity. This thesis used the Early Anglo-Saxon (470-600 AD) burial ground at Worthy Park in Hampshire to achieve these objectives. This thesis found that when examining all sex assessment categories among all mortuary variables, only the male sex was clearly defined by its mortuary assemblage. This suggests a one gender structure corresponding to linguistic evidence for one gender in Old English. Author Keywords: Anglo-Saxon, Bioarchaeology, Gender identity, Mortuary archaeology, Osteoarchaeology, Sex determination
Hunnic Warfare in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries C.E.
The Huns are one of the most misunderstood and mythologized barbarian invaders encountered by the Roman Empire. They were described by their contemporaries as savage nomadic warriors with superior archery skills, and it is this image that has been written into the history of the fall of the Western Roman Empire and influenced studies of Late Antiquity through countless generations of scholarship. This study examines evidence of Hunnic archery, questions the acceptance and significance of the “Hunnic archer” image, and situates Hunnic archery within the context of the fall of the Western Roman Empire. To achieve a more accurate picture of the importance of archery in Hunnic warfare and society, this study undertakes a mortuary analysis of burial sites associated with the Huns in Europe, a tactical and logistical study of mounted archery and Late Roman and Hunnic military engagements, and an analysis of the primary and secondary literature. Author Keywords: Archer, Barbarian, Bow, Hun, Roman, Weapon
Mythopoeia Sylvatica
Since British colonization of North America and the beginning of Anglo-speaking Euro-Canada and the United States, myth-making or representations of the forests have witnessed degradation and loss of old-growth forest ecosystems or intact sylvan landscapes. Canadian and American versions of the story of the North American Forests shared the same trajectory: forests as ‘wasted-land’ or the sylvan wilderness (terra nullius) divided into properties and cleared to “improve” the land for settlement/agriculture, forests as storehouses for timber and imperial expansion, forest landscapes and specific forest trees as identity politics and sources of industrial and economic power. While forests are recognized according to various stakeholders’ values today, what is commonly accepted as a forest varies widely. The meaning given to “forest” determines related terms and concepts, such as “sustainable forestry” and “reforestation.” This thesis addresses the issue of social-bioecological degradation, loss, and dis(re)membering of old-growth forests and problematizes traditional Western relationships with old wildwoods shaped by notions of space, politics, and economy. In the forest topos, the core question becomes which forest(s) are being imagined, represented, and remembered? Whose environmental imagination is shaping the landscape? As a critical topographical exploration of the North American forests through six witness trees, this thesis demonstrates how the meanings imbued in trees and wild woods come to determine the fate of the forests. It reveals how colonial values and trends persist in our societies still, and calls for an ethical social-ecological reimagining of the forests through traditions of ethical storytelling and environmental witnessing. Author Keywords: critical topography, environmental generational amnesia, environmental witnessing, forests, social-ecological systems, witness trees
Workplace Bullying in Ontario Healthcare Settings
This thesis builds on scholarship that highlights how expected gender roles serve to both normalize and obscure forms of violence and hostility in health care workplaces. An analysis of 25 labour arbitrations involving cases of bullying reveals how gender relations is a factor in these grievances and relevant policies in Ontario health care facilities. Reinforced by underlying expectations around women as nurturing and men as aggressive, responses to bullying are found to reflect and reproduce embedded gendered power inequalities in labour. While bullying in the workplace is often treated in policy discussions as an individual and identity-neutral phenomenon, this research provides evidence to the contrary. As a consequence, we must interrogate existing legislation and policies, asking how we can develop approaches that account for, respond to, and mitigate the causes of bullying rooted in unequal power relations, including gendered ones. Author Keywords: gender, health care, labour arbitration, policy, workplace bullying, workplace harassment


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