Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Union Organizing in the Canadian Banking Industry, 1940–1980
In this dissertation, I examine union organizing in the Canadian banking industry between 1940 and 1980. By demonstrating that bank workers consistently sought to unionize throughout the twentieth century, I challenge claims that bank employees and other private sector white-collar workers have low rates of unionization because they are not interested in unions or suffer from false consciousness. This research also suggests, however, that many bank workers saw themselves as different from blue-collar industrial workers; the lived reality of bank work as precarious, poorly paid, and rife with gender inequality intersected with ideas about professionalism and aspirations of advancing up the career ladder. Banks, unions, and workers drew on these ideas and experiences in their arguments for and against unionization. I also look at why previous organizing efforts did not establish a strong union presence in the banking industry. Most of these attempts failed, I argue, due to several key issues, including the banks’ anti-union activity, federal and provincial labour board decisions, and labour movement disputes over ideology, jurisdiction, and strategy. The banks consistently opposed unionization and used a variety of tactics to thwart union organizing, both overtly and covertly. The state, in the form of labour legislation and labour boards, provided unions and workers with some means by which to compel the banks to recognize unions, negotiate contracts, and deal with employee grievances; however, state action and inaction more often worked to undermine union organizing. The attitudes and strategies of high-ranking labour movement officials also shaped the outcome of union drives in the banks. Between 1940 and 1980, the mostly male labour leadership repeatedly used top-down organizing strategies and appointed male organizers with no experience of bank work to oversee union drives in a sector with an increasingly feminized workforce; labour leaders’ inability or unwillingness to reflect on this approach and to support grassroots campaigns and alternative strategies hindered bank union organizing. I thus highlight the intersection of gender and class and reveal how these factors have historically shaped the labour movement bureaucracy, union organizing, and the relationship between labour and the state. Author Keywords: banks, gender, labour bureaucracy, trade unions, union organizing, white-collar workers
“The Darkest Tapestry”
This doctoral research project is a part of the quest for an inclusive telling of Canada’s national identity and will focus on the creation of a memorialization Keeping Place model to commemorate the Indian Residential School system in Canada. My dissertation is interdisciplinary and contributes to the fields of cultural history, memory and post-colonial studies. In response to the TRC recommendation that calls on all Canadians to “develop and implement a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada’s history”, this project aims to contribute a unique analysis and discourse to the existing literature as it will focus on developing a process of commemoration of the IRS system by uniting the architectural/geographical location not only as a place/space of colonizing “perpetrator architecture” but also as a Keeping Place and “site of memory/lieu de memoire” or conscience. This project will also engage the concepts of “Indigenous Métissage” and “Cultural Interface” to aid in the creation of an educational commemoration and reconciliation Keeping Place model for all Canadians. Author Keywords: canada, indian residential schools, keeping place , memory, saskatchewan, sites of memory
History and Legacy of the “Orillia Asylum for Idiots
The “Orillia Asylum for Idiots” (1861 - 2009), Canada’s oldest and largest facility for the care and protection of children and adults with disabilities, was once praised as a beacon of humanitarian progress and described as a “community within a community.” Yet, survivors who lived in the facility during the post Second World War period, a time described as the “golden age of children’s rights,” tell harrowing stories of abuse and neglect. Despite the nation’s promise to “put children first” and protect the universal rights of “Canada’s children,” children incarcerated within the Orillia Asylum were subjected to systemic neglect and cultural discrimination, daily humiliation and dehumanization, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Far from being a place for child protection and care, this dissertation finds that the Orillia Asylum was a site of a multi-faceted and all-encompassing violence, a reality that stands in complete contrast to the grand narrative through which the facility has historically been understood. This dissertation considers how such violence against children could occur for so long in a facility maintained by the state, a state invested in protecting children. It finds that children who were admitted to the Orillia Asylum were not considered to be “Canada’s children” at all by virtue of being labelled as “mentally deficient,” “feeble-minded,” “not-quite-human,” and “not-quite-children.” Author Keywords: childhood, disability, Huronia Regional Centre, institutional child abuse, institutional violence, institutionalization
Colonialism, Capitalism, and the Rise of State Schooling in British Columbia, 1849-1900
This dissertation examines the historical relationship between settler colonialism, capitalism, and the rise of state schooling in what is now known as British Columbia between 1849 and 1900. It aims to “unsettle” conventional views of Canadian schooling history by bringing accounts of Indigenous and non-Indigenous education into one analytical frame, and it shows how the state used different forms of schooling for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous children—company, common, public, mission, day, boarding, and industrial schools—to assist colonial-capitalist social formation in the Pacific Northwest. In combining interdisciplinary insights from Indigenous studies, historical materialism, political economy, and critical pedagogy, the dissertation highlights the ways in which state-supported schooling facilitated capitalist accumulation by colonial dispossession. The central argument of the dissertation is that between 1849 and 1900, colonial, provincial, and federal governments strategically took on greater responsibility for schooling as a way of legitimizing the state and supporting the emergence of a capitalist settler society. Author Keywords: Capitalism, Education, Indian Residential Schools, Indigenous Peoples, Settler Colonialism, Violence
Pausing Encounters with Autism and Its Unruly Representation
This dissertation seeks to explore and understand how autism, asperger and the autistic spectrum is represented in Canadian culture. Acknowledging the role of films, television, literature and print media in the construction of autism in the consciousness of the Canadian public, this project seeks to critique representations of autism on the grounds that these representations have an ethical responsibility to autistic individuals and those who share their lives. This project raises questions about how autism is constructed in formal and popular texts; explores retrospective diagnosis and labelling in biography and fiction; questions the use of autism and Asperger's as metaphor for contemporary technology culture; examines autistic characterization in fiction; and argues that representations of autism need to be hospitable to autistic culture and difference. In carrying out this critique this project proposes and enacts a new interdisciplinary methodology for academic disability study that brings the academic researcher in contact with the perspectives of non-academic audiences working in the same subject area, and practices this approach through an unconventional focus group collaboration. Acknowledging the contribution of disability studies approaches to representation, this project will also challenge these methodologies on the grounds that the diverse voices of audiences are, at times, absent from discourse focused research. Chapter One offers an explanation of disability studies scholarship and the history of autism as a category of disability and difference. Chapter Two looks at how disability and specifically autistic representations have been understood academically and introduces the rationale and experiences of the focus group project. Chapter Three explores retrospective, biographical diagnosis, the role of autism as technological metaphor, and contemporary biography. Chapter Four looks at the construction of autistic characters in Canadian literature and film. Chapter Five interrogates documentary and news media responses to autism and the construction of autism as Canadian health crisis, and also explores how discourses that surround autism are implicated in interventions and therapeutic approaches to autistic individuals. Key Terms Autism; Autistic Spectrum; Asperger; Disability; Representation; Media; Interdisciplinary Research; Focus Group; Retrospective Diagnosis; Biography; Academic Method; Academic and Representational Responsibility; Literature; Film; Diagnosis; Disability Studies; Therapy Author Keywords: Academic Method, Autism Spectrum, Biography, Disability, Interdisciplinary Research, Representation
Growing Up in Postwar Suburbia
Growing Up in Postwar Suburbia: Childhood, Children and Adolescents in Canada, 1950-1970 This dissertation explores the intersections between the suburban landscape both `real' and imagined, childhood, children and adolescents. I contend that there was a richness and diversity in the experiences of children and adolescents in postwar Canada that resists simplistic stereotypes that often depict suburbia as primarily middle-class, dull, homogeneous, conformist, and alienating for residents of all ages. Suburban living has become the definitive housing choice for the majority of Canadians since the end of World War II. Suburban homes and communities were critical in shaping the everyday lives of young people in this period. These young lives were predominantly safe, comfortable, and enriched in their homescapes. Yet this was not a universal condition. While class and gender were important factors shaping childhood and adolescence, my research findings also show that children and adolescents exercised their agency in this period, and they were active participants in their lives on personal, educational, community, and municipal levels. Young people were monitored, regulated and disciplined, but they were not passive receptacles in a world dominated by adults. This interdisciplinary study uses a wide range of archival, visual and documentary sources, and also integrates oral histories as a key methodology. These oral histories have added important reflections on childhood and adolescence in postwar suburbia, providing insight into how memory constructs multiple meanings associated with the dissertation's key themes. Ultimately, I offer a pan-Canadian view of changing images and constructions of childhood by delving into more specific topics to children and adolescents using postwar Calgary suburbia as a focal point in order to understand the heterogeneity of suburban life. In studying the intersections of place, space, age, class, sexuality, `race,' and gender, I demonstrate that the lives of children and adolescents are woven into the fabric of postwar Canadian social and cultural history in a profound and meaningful way. Author Keywords: adolescence, adolescents, childhood, children, history, suburbs
Pursuing Different Policy Paths in Long-Term Care
Because federal funding for long-term care was not included as part of Canada's publicly-funded universal health care system, provincial governments have been free to determine how much, or how little, they will rely on the for-profit sector to meet the long-term care needs of their senior populations. The proportion of beds in the for-profit sector differs in each province, demonstrating that policy approaches to this type of care have developed according to distinct provincial political contexts. In this dissertation I explain why governments in two provinces, Manitoba and Ontario, have come to rely on the proprietary sector to markedly different degrees. While in the federation Manitoba stands out for its restrained reliance on this form of care, Ontario stands out for its exceptional dependence on commercial provision. In the chapters that follow I employ an historical institutionalist framework of analysis to explain why these neighbouring provinces initially pursued different policy paths in long-term care and how these paths have been sustained over time. Following an introductory chapter in which I explain the reasons for the marginalization of long-term care within national health policy making, I provide in-depth analysis of these case studies in policy divergence. I argue that contemporary policy differences between these neighbouring provinces cannot be understood in isolation from long-term historical processes. Focusing largely on the period from the 1960s to the 1990s, I emphasize that present differences in ownership are a reflection of the different constellation of actors, events, ideas and institutions that came together at critical junctures in time, and the lasting legacies that these early windows of opportunity for reform have had on subsequent rounds of long-term care policy-making. In each province, diverging ideas about the appropriate role of the for-profit sector in meeting the long-term care needs of an aging population rose to prominence on the political agenda. Over time, rigidities developed in each system, making it difficult for actors advocating for new directions in ownership to realize their ambitions. In both provinces policies put in place at earlier times greatly influenced future political dynamics, altered the guiding principles of government departments and policy makers, provided incentives for different interest group formations, and led to contrasting public expectations about the proper balance of the for-profit and non-profit sectors in long-term care provision. I conclude this dissertation by arguing that its findings can contribute in important ways to present discussions about long-term care reform in Canada generally and about the future role of for-profit providers specifically. Author Keywords: Comparative Politics, Health Policy, Historical Institutionalism, Long-Term Care, Path Dependency, Provincial Politics
Laughing to be Citizens
This study will focus on how immigrants from Sub Saharan African (SSA) countries use humour as a tool for integration and belonging (and ultimately citizenship) in Canada. My aim is to investigate, through a detailed analysis of popular culture productions from immigrant communities, the strategies and techniques of humour that immigrants employ as a mode of communication with fellow immigrants, their immediate host community and the governmental authorities of Canada. I am particularly interested in how African immigrants use their oral background and cultural memory in the production of jokes and other humour products as a way of interacting, first with fellow immigrants as the primary audience and recipients of the humour and, second, with Canadian society at large. Using the ‘Signifying’ theory of Henry Louis Gates (1988) and Mikhail Bakhtin’s (1968) concept of the “Carnivalesque” as the theoretical framework for this study, I argue that immigrants from SSA countries are using humour to question hegemonic regulations that portrays them as victims, while providing alternative narratives of themselves as subjects with human agency. I further postulate that immigrants are taking advantage of the policy of multiculturalism that exists in Canada in a positive manner as an enabler for their humour. In turn, they are using the humour produced to communicate and break down social barriers, while building bridges across communities and social strata. I bolster my arguments with a consideration of humour in three genres of popular culture – literature, standup comedy and film – to show how immigrants rely on their home culture to produce humour in an effort to find belonging in Canada as contributors rather than victims. This thesis is the first work to examine SSA humour, produced by immigrants from these countries, in the context of their immigration and integration into Canada, and the first to present extended literary criticism of the works of immigrant writers, Tololwa Mollel, Yabome Gilpin-Jackson and Segun Akinlolu. This is also the first study on the comedy of Arthur Simeon, originally from Uganda and the film of Phina Brooks, originally from Nigeria. My analysis apprehends the immigrant voice in the writings and productions of these artists and places their works in conversation with Canadian literary/cultural criticism. Until now, there has been no study of the function of humour produced by African immigrants in Canada. It is my hope that this study will not only fill that gap, but also lay the groundwork for future study in this field that I believe holds a lot of socio-cultural promise, especially in the area of cohesive habitation amongst different ethnic groups. This study aims to contribute to conversations on immigration and its impact on Canadian society as part of nation-building and national consciousness. Author Keywords: African Stand up Comedy, Humour, Immigration, Multiculturalism, Popular Culture, Postcolonialism
Canadian Refugee Policy
This dissertation is an inquiry into the politics of the frame in Canadian refugee policy. It is focused on "framing," thereby taking up the stance of critical policy studies while pressing the contribution of Donald Schön and Martin Rein in a critical and politically inflected direction. The dissertation unfolds as a political history of Canadian refugee policy that provides a "contextual mapping," relevant to both inquiry and action in regard to the framing of refugees. The main argument is that twentieth- and twenty-first- century refugee policy in Canada is a story of three shifting meta-frames: beginning with humanitarianism (in the inter-War years and the post-World War II period); shifting to neo-humanitarianism (beginning in the late 1970s, in connection with the rise of neoliberalism); then shifting again (beginning in the 1990s) to securitization. The concept of a meta-frame here is analogous to that of a "metacultural frame" in Schön and Rein, but accents political rather than cultural dimensions. This concept is developed in a manner suitable to a political history by illustrating how meta-frames both become stable and change. With humanitarianism, the refugee was typically portrayed in ambivalent terms - both deserving of and entitled to protection, while also posing a burden for the national interest. In the context of neo-humanitarianism, this ambivalence began to wane, and the refugee was more typically portrayed as a potential criminal. With securitization, especially as it has become entrenched and intensified, the refugee has been more typically portrayed as a potential terrorist. The analysis includes a focus on the particular importance of ambivalence and contingency in the politics of the frame. Securitization has become so deeply entrenched since September 11, 2001 that it appears virtually fixed in place. However, it may still become possible in moments of contingency for refugee advocates to destabilize the securitization meta-frame and help shift the framing of refugees into a more hospitable register. Author Keywords: ambivalence, contingency, humanitarianism, neo-humanitarianism, refugees, securitization
Rewiring the State
ABSTRACT Rewiring the State: The Privatization of Information Technology in the Ontario Public Service (1972-2003) David Rapaport Senior managers in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and neo-liberal public policy advocates rationalize the privatization of Information Technology (IT) as an organizational quest for new efficiencies, specifically efficiencies imported from market economies. The findings of the research for this study indicate that IT privatization frequently results in inefficiencies, dependencies and a loss of core skills. The explanation for widespread IT privatization must be sought elsewhere. This study researches and depicts two related IT developments. The first development is the evolution of IT privatization from the earlier practice of body-shopping, i.e. the hiring on contract of IT consultants to the more complex public private partnership. This evolution is a reflection of the maturation of privatization. Body-shopping informs the alienation of IT skills from the public sector, the shaping of a labour hierarchy based on skills distribution, and the foundation for the public-private partnership. The second development, the evolution of OPS management attitudes towards IT privatization, is a reflection of growing neo-liberal hegemony. Archival research indicates middle management disdain towards excessive IT privatization in the early 1980's; particularly its high costs, loss of skills and growing dependency on external private sources. By the ii late 1990's, parliamentary committee transcripts indicate IT management acceptance of more excessive IT privatization. As neo-liberal practice became more accepted and as governments and central ministries pressured line ministries through budgetary and organizational controls, IT managers accepted their new roles as authors of RFP's and tenders of public sector work. The IT service providing industry gladly bid on contracts and acquired the new skills required for future IT projects, exacerbating the provision/dependency cycle. Furthermore, the new technologies provided an ideological smokescreen of technological necessity to conceal the market forces that promoted and benefitted from IT privatization. "Why do managers in the Ontario Public Service privatize the production of Information Technology systems?" The dissertation has two tasks when answering this central question. First, it must refute the efficiency arguments. Second, it must formulate an answer within the context of neo-liberal state transformation, new investment strategies of IT service providing corporations and a restructured IT labour hierarchy. Author Keywords: neo-liberalism, New Public Management, Ontario, privatization, public private partnership, public sector
Abject Utopianism and Psychic Space
This dissertation utilizes the psychoanalytic theories of French psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva as a lens through which to read the novels of American author Samuel R. Delany. I argue that concepts proper to Kristeva's work--namely abjection and/or the abject--can provide a way to think what it might mean to be utopian in the 21st century. Delany's novels are received historically, which is to say his work speaks from a certain historical and cultural viewpoint that is not that of today; however, I claim that his novels are exceptional for their attempts to portray other ways of being in the world. Delany's novels, though, contain bodies, psychologies, and sexualities that are considered abject with respect to contemporary morality. Nonetheless, this dissertation argues that such manifestations of abject lived experience provide the groundwork for the possibility of thinking utopianism differently today. Throughout, what I am working toward is a notion that I call Abject Utopianism: Rather than direct attention toward those sites that closely, yet imperfectly, approximate the ideal, one should commit one's attention to those sights that others avoid, abscond, or turn their nose up at in disgust, for those are the sites of hope for a better world today. Author Keywords: Abject, Delany, Kristeva, Literary Criticism, Psychoanalysis, Utopia
Not In Their Classrooms
This dissertation examines the rise of teachers' union militancy in Ontario through a case study of the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario (FWTAO) and the Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation (OPSTF) between 1970 and their amalgamation into the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) in 1998. It uses the archival records of the two unions, relevant legislation, media records, personal collections, and interviews to explore how these two professional organizations became politicized, militant labour unions able to engage with the state and the trustees of boards of education. The Introduction situates the public education project within nation building in a capitalist-democracy and outlines the theoretical influences informing the dissertation. Chapter 1 follows the two unions during the 1970s as they developed into labour unions. The 18 December 1973 one-day, province-wide, political strike achieved the right to strike and established a unique labour regime for teachers. Chapter 2 examines the advance of the unions during the 1980s as they developed labour militancy. At the same time, neo-liberalism was ascending and the post-war social accord was coming to an end resulting in attacks on unions and cuts to social programs. How gender affected the elementary teachers' unions between 1970 and 1990 is developed in Chapter 3. The FWTAO campaigned for women's equality on a platform of liberal feminism while the OPSTF followed a unionist path in an effort to convince women teachers to join them. Chapter 4 scrutinizes the effect of neo-liberal ideology on education during the 1990-1995 Bob Rae NDP government and the impact the Social Contract had on teachers. The development of teacher resistance to the neo-liberal state is explored in Chapter 5. Alliances with other labour organizations during the Days of Action campaign culminated in a two-week, province-wide strike in the fall of 1997 against the Mike Harris Conservative government. The Conclusion brings together the findings of the dissertation and suggests future research exploring teacher union strength in the Canadian context. Author Keywords: Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario; FWTAO, neoliberalism, Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation; OPSTF, teachers' strikes, teachers' unions, women's union

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