2018 Abstracts


Michael Adorjan, University of Calgary, Canada

Rosemary Ricciardelli, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

The New Privacy Paradox: Youth Agentic Practices of Privacy Management Despite ‘Nothing to Hide’ Online


Focus groups conducted with Canadian teenagers examining their perceptions and experiences with cyber-risk, center on various privacy strategies geared for impression management across popular social network sites. We highlight privacy concerns as a primary reason for a gravitation away from Facebook towards newer, more popular sites such as Instagram and Snapchat, as well as debates about the permeability of privacy on Snapchat in particular. The privacy paradox identifies a disjuncture between what is said about privacy and what is done in practice. It refers to declarations from youth that they are highly concerned for privacy, yet frequently disregard privacy online through ‘oversharing’ and neglecting privacy management. However, our participants invoked a new mindset, more frequently among older teens, that they have ‘nothing to hide’ online and therefore do not consider privacy relevant for them. Despite this mindset, the strategies we highlight suggest a new permutation of the privacy paradox, rooted in a pragmatic adaptation to the technological affordances of social network sites, and wider societal acquiescence to the debasement of privacy online.


Daniel Albas and Cheryl Albas, University of Manitoba, Canada

The Etiology of an Edifice Complex: Living Rooms and Dining Rooms as Agents of Socialization


This work is part of a much larger ethnographic study of the family home and how its furnishings and physical arrangements influence the dynamics of family life. We draw upon the social psychology of Mead and his premise that the natural environment and organisms within it mutually shape one another to provide the basis for our argument that houses as physical structures are shaped by their occupants who, in turn, are shaped and influenced by the houses themselves.


Oluwatomi ‘Tomi’ Akinyede, Lakehead University

National Identity in Nigeria: From the Perspective of the ‘Yoruba’ Tribe


Nations are made up of diverse individuals who nevertheless possess some common characteristics. These shared similarities are what help define national identity, which is shared by a majority (if not quite all) of the nation’s citizens. However, in a pluralist African society composed of diverse tribes with different cultural values, defining or affirming national identity becomes more complex.

As Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is home to over 190 million people. Located on the Western axis of Africa, the Nation constitutes 250 diverse ethnic groups, with each creating cultural boundaries to differentiate each from the ‘other.’ Out of these hundreds of different ethnic groups, there are three major tribes: Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. By applying the framework of symbolic interactionism and exploring the concept of boundary work, this paper will consider how the “Yoruba tribe” defines its sense of national identity, and what this means to individuals on the ground. Do the preservation of social and cultural boundaries reinforce a division between the Yorubas and other ethnic groups? What does being a Nigerian mean to Yorubas? Aside from language, how do the Yorubas differentiate themselves from other tribes in Nigeria? How do these differentiations reinforce (positively or negatively) the perception of national identity? These questions are just the first step in finding the elusive meaning of national identity in a very diverse nation like Nigeria.


Sobia Ali-Faisal
Wenjun (Steve) Lai
, University of Prince Edward Island
Marginalized Boundaries: Foucauldian Discourse Analysis of Muslim Masculinity

Gender is understood to be a construct which we enact rather than have. Socially constructed, gender performance is informed by a variety of identifications, including ethnicity, culture, and religion. Indeed, the intersectional nature of our identities diminishes boundaries and demands that gender performance, including performance of masculinity, be understood as part of a complex web. However, Western-based psychological research on the masculinity of men who come from marginalized communities is limited. Consequently, masculinity has often been defined with the invisible boundaries of racial, cultural, and religious privilege. Using a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, the current study seeks to explore the performance of masculinity of young Muslim men and how this performance intersects with their thoughts regarding the sexual coercion and harassment of, and violence toward women. The results of the research will inform our paper on how marginalized men create, challenge, and even transgress the boundaries of gender, ethnicity, and religion.


Anne Arber, University of Surrey, UK
Emotions and Reflexivity in Field Research

This paper explores the taken for granted and often unexplored aspects of emotion work necessary to progress a research study.  Within this paper I will be extending the concept of reflexivity to consider emotional reflexivity and what this means for researchers who are trying to understand emotional experiences in the context of health and illness.  I will be drawing on illustrations of emotional reflexivity at different stages of the PhD journey this will include the natural history of the research, hidden emotions, emotional fallout and insider and outsider identities. The context of the studies discussed include infertility, hospice care and counselling.  Data from PhD research diaries and journals will be used to explore the concept of emotional reflexivity and its practical application in field research. The positive aspects of being alive to emotions as well as the difficulties will be discussed.


Patricia Atlass, the University of Prince Edward Island

Social and Emotional Learning: Exploring the Boundaries of Public Education


SEAK is a collaborative interprovincial project of the four Atlantic Canadian provinces lead by the Canadian Mental Health Association NS Division, toward scaling-up Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).  The SEAK scale-up of SEL is occurring in two ways: mobilizing provincial and regional partners to institutionalize SEL (vertical scale-up); and working with school boards and selected schools to implement a pilot SEL program (horizontal scale-up). Integrating SEL involves a reimagining of education systems and curricula. Presently, there is a growing awareness of the need to support youth mental health and wellbeing in schools. At the same time, the evolving knowledge based creative economy calls for an increased focus on the development of social and emotional skills. Through qualitative evaluation research exploring students, parents, education professionals and key stakeholders’ views and experiences of SEL, this collaborative project exposes some of the shifting boundaries of public education policy and practice within contemporary times.


Victoria Baker, University of Toronto, Canada

“Us vs. Them” – Loose Coupling in Policy and Practice in Correctional Institutions


Organizational studies argue that the rhetoric that guides institutional policies and expectations seldom reflects the everyday operations within an institution (Meyer & Rowan, 1977; Weick, 1976). In the context of Canadian correctional work, correctional officers believe that stress is created in part due to the perceived disjuncture or the “loose coupling” (Meyer & Rowan, 1977) between organizational policies in contrast to employees’ lived experiences. Drawing upon interview data with 11 provincial correctional officers in Ontario, this presentation will examine how the perceived disconnect between policies created by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) and employees’ frontline practice is understood to incite occupational stress among correctional officers.


Sarah Balcom, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Observation and Institutional Ethnography: Helping Us to See Better?


Institutional ethnography is a research approach that originates from the work of Canadian sociologist, Dorothy Smith. Smith developed her work during the 1970’s - 80’s and drew from Feminist and Marxist theories and ideology.Researchers who apply institutional ethnography consider ‘texts’ (or discourses/documents) to be essential to both the existence and ruling of institutions (Smith, 2001). According to Smith (2001), “exploring how texts mediate, regulate and authorize people’s activities in modern societies expands the scope of ethnographic method beyond the limits of observation” (p. 159). Consequently, most researchers prioritize interviewing and the analysis of ‘texts’ over other data collection methods. In this paper, I argue that observation is still important because it informs the analysis of ‘texts’ and reveals how they are in use at field sites. Consequently, researchers should incorporate observation into fieldwork when institutions allow field site access. Some examples from nursing literature are also used to show how observation can be beneficial and help researchers “see better.”


Clive Baldwin, St. Thomas University, Canada

The Paralogic of Transabled Experience: An Exploration of Transgressive Identity


Transabled people – people who seek a physical impairment in order to align their physical body to their mental map of what their body should be – fall foul of a number of social boundaries: the boundary between able-bodiedness and disability, the boundary between mental health and illness, the boundary between what is seen as an acceptable need and an unacceptable desire.  Drawing on interviews with approx. 50 transabled people this paper presents a number of challenges to these boundaries through a number of paralogical concepts -  disabling ablebodiedness, enabling disability, healing harm, ambulant paraplegia, and incomplete wholeness – as a means of understanding the experience of transableism.


Clive Baldwin, St. Thomas University, Canada

Lauren Ripley

Awakening, transgression, and identity: The experience of Otherkin and Therianthropes


In the social sciences, there is much discussion and research into the construction, negotiation, and maintenance of identity, and it is generally accepted that identity is multiple and fluid, with boundaries between identities being acceptably grey.  One less grey boundary, however, is that between the human and the non-human.  Some individuals – the Otherkin and therians – identify as other-than-human.  For therians, this identification is with an animal that exists in the world (wolf, dog, dolphin, bear, cat, and so on).  In the case of Otherkin, one might identify as dragon, vampire, werewolf, or other creature that does not exist in this world – or even as a non-biological being such as android or universal glitch.  Drawing on interviews with Otherkin and therians, I will explore the journey of awakening to a non-human identity, and the experience of transgressing the human-non-human divide.


Bonnie Barnett, McGill University, Canada

Researching Emotion Cultures: Revealing the Undercurrents of Learning in Everyday Life


The word culture is popular today in part because it encompasses the many ways and areas of our lives that are changing as a result of our technological society. We see this lately with headlines addressing celebrity culture, post-truth culture and fake news culture – where the word culture is being used to help us identify and isolate an idea or issue.

This paper isolates the role of emotion cultures to better understand the relationship between the emotions, the self and society. This is important as traditionally emotions have been excluded as a viable source of knowledge which has impacted the way we understand and research emotion. By recognizing emotion cultures, researchers can move past the social boundaries that limit our understanding of emotion and lived experience in society’s new learning spaces.


Connor Barry, St. Thomas University, Canada

Wittgenstein on Boundaries and Transcending Boundaries


Mead regards games as central to the understanding of social interaction.  Scholars have explored affinities between Mead and Wittgenstein's thought on games and social interchange.  Wittgenstein is, indeed, attested to have had a close familiarity with pragmatist thinkers.  However, insufficient attention has been drawn to the role of boundaries in reaching common understanding.  Wittgenstein introduces the notion of boundaries in the context of the consideration of games.  Having explored the ambiguous bounds of what might be considered a game and what may not, he then generalizes his notion of a language game.  Our ability to participate in language games is essential to our capacity to arrive at mutual understanding.  However, familiarity with one mode of discourse equally bounds our capacity to immediately grasp alternative discourse.  This recognition of both power and limitation in our habitual modes of expression constitutes a valuable insight Wittgenstein brings to our understanding of social science.


Gary Bowden, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Hooking Up: Then and Now


Modern technology has spawned a diverse variety of apps designed to facilitate romantic relationships, hooking up, and making new friends. In earlier times this function was fulfilled by marriage correspondence bureaus, organizations that served as intermediaries by providing information that enabled individuals to correspond through the mail. This paper, based on primary data drawn from over 125 such organizations that existed in the United States during the mid-1930s, will describe the nature of these organizations and their clientele. A secondary aim of the paper will be to compare and contrast these organizations and their clients with their modern day parallels.


Madison Brockbank, McMaster University, Canada

Examining male-identified student perspectives of sexual violence on Canadian University campuses


The present study, which was one of the Undergraduate Student Research Award projects at McMaster University in 2017, sought to qualitatively examine male-identified student perspectives of sexual violence on Canadian university campuses. In-depth interviews were facilitated with seven male participants from various universities in Ontario. Participants were asked a series of questions regarding how they understand consent and sexual violence, whether they think sexual violence is a problem on their respective campuses, how the social construction of masculinity influences their perspectives, and how to better engage men as allies in sexual violence prevention. The findings revealed that young men perceive consent as a non-process, believe sexual violence on campus to be inevitable, experience a “grey area” between consent and sexual violence when alcohol is involved, are heavily influenced by the male peer group, and experience tension in internalizing notions of traditional masculinity.


Stella Čapek, Hendrix College, USA

Trees as Dialogue: Negotiating Boundaries with the Anne Frank Sapling Project


My project began with my interest in a small tree sapling installed at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock. Grafted from the chestnut tree that stood outside of Anne Frank’s attic window while she wrote her famous diary, saplings are provided by The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect to organizations that will link the tree to dialogues about past and present social justice issues. The Little Rock memorial references the “Trail of Tears,” the internment of Japanese-Americans, and the Central High desegregation crisis, all troubling episodes in Arkansas history. From an environmental microsociology and symbolic interactionist perspective, I explore how the sapling acquires meaning as a “significant other,” commemorating a past event and potentially building inclusive dialogue that fosters hope but does not shun complexity. I also consider the sapling’s ecological needs and material agency, since it is more than a passive recipient of human meanings and orchestrations.


Wendy Chappel, York University, Canada

Ethnographic Content Analysis: Representations of a School Shooter in Young Adult Literature


Ethnographic Content Analysis (ECA) is described by David Altheide (1987) as an “analysis [that] is used to document and understand the communication of meaning, as well as to verify theoretical relationships. Its distinctive characteristic is the reflective and highly interactive nature of the investigator, concepts, data collection and analysis” (p. 68). Guided by several of Hannah Arendt’s theoretical perspectives, including violence, shame, masculinity and forgiveness this paper with focus on themes of unacknowledged shame, hegemonic masculinity and forgiveness and will employ ECA to analyze representations of the school shooter in young adult novels.


Wendy Chappel, York University, Canada

Deborah Davidson, York University, Canada

Taking Visual Sociology to the Classroom: A qualitative approach to understanding sociological concepts


In our presentation, we discuss our use of visuals as a way for students to both enhance and demonstrate their understanding of sociological concepts related to gender. In a pilot project the summer of 2017, in our third year Sociology of Gender course, students were asked to analyze an assigned reading and visually present their analysis. Each student was asked to create a visual story board using only images to illustrate key theories and concepts from the article. Students were given 10 minutes to present their story board and 10 minutes to answer questions from their peers. Here we describe both our rationale for this method and the results of the pilot project, including students' feedback on the approach.


Robyn Cheung, York University, Canada

The Construction of a Chef: Analyzing the Integration of Social Justice Standards in a Long Established Profession


The identity of a professional cook, long established across cultures, has been in flux since the early 2000s, initially because mass media have sensationalized the cooking industry, idealizing it and spreading misinformation about the challenges and the realities of becoming a professional cook. This sensationalization of food-fame culture, has inspired an influx of people to join the culinary industry. But, media have also recently facilitated a social justice lens on the dynamics and inequalities of this industry. My thesis is that social justice principles highlighted by the influx of new inspired-cooks, has change culinary culture and the industry, as well as the characteristics of a professional cook. This study is based on a series of semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of professional cooks in Toronto, Ontario. The analysis will show the trajectory and the foreseeable change of the identity of a long-established profession.


Francoise Chevalier, HEC Paris, France

Theorizing from the Field: A Praxis


The paper illustrates Grounded Theory in action and depicts, in a very practical way, how we navigate in our researches between Field work, Ideas and Interpretation .

The process involves the construction of theory memos, practice memos and interpretive memos. We put a strong emphasis on the production of clinical descriptions. Next, a step back is taken from the data to gradually conceptualise and move towards interpretation. A specific mode of reasoning is applied to connect the field and the literature.  Progress towards theory is made in successive steps and loops.

What this approach demands is a combination of the art of storytelling or clinical description with the search for interpretative models.


Piotr Chomczyński, University of Łódź, Poland

Roger S. Guy, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, USA

An Ethnographic Approach to the Formal and Informal Economy in a Local Mexican Community


Using ethnographic research, this paper addresses the local economy in an impoverished suburb of Mexico City. We discuss the trust and personal relations exist among members of local communities and its importance in understanding the formal and informal economy in the form of “front and back businesses.” Front businesses exist in the formal economy of the community. Because of the inability of local governments to provide social services, they look the other way when it comes to the existence of illegal, or informal economic activity such as selling drugs to augment their income. Former offenders who have returned to the community make ends meet in an economy that offers little operate most of these back businesses. Local governments also benefit from the proceeds of these illegal transactions in form of payments to keep police away from them in return for keeping a low profile in their sale of drugs. Gangs, the local embodiment of the cartel, extort money from local business that is used by the cartel to payoff law enforcement. As one informant stated, this is the “grease that makes the machine work.” In this way, some of the illegal profit is partly redistributed to local governments. Cartel members are always in search of expanding their activity by exploiting small local drug sellers with promises of larger profits by selling for them. This is exceedingly risky because the cartel will dictate the quota that a seller must meet. Failure to meet these quotas carries dire consequences.  Therefore, is important to keep a low profile by selling only small amounts of drugs so as not to attract the attention of the cartels and avoid the risk of being forced to sell large amounts of illicit drugs.


Erika Clark, R.A. Malatest & Associates, Canada

Defining Boundaries of a Brain Injury


March of Dimes Canada provides a wide range of services to people with disabilities to assist them in their independence, work, and community life. One of the programs offered through March of Dimes is the Stroke Recovery Group for individuals living with the effects of stroke or brain injury. Through two focus groups with stroke and brain injury survivors, the data revealed a shift in family life and health. Participants were active family members, employees and community members before their stroke or brain injury, but experienced a change of roles due to the effects of their brain injury. As a result, participants rely on family and spouses for care giving, and find alternate activities due to reduced or loss of employment and withdrawal from community activities. Using social boundary theory, this presentation will explore the transition from defined social boundaries to undefined social boundaries of participants.  


Dawne Clarke, St. Thomas University, Canada

“That’s trailer park life!”: Place-Myths, Crime & Criminality in The Trailer Park Boys.


I examine the strategies deployed in women's shelters and theorize them as neoliberal mechanisms of governance intended through “gentle coercion” to produce ideal shelter user-subjects. Drawing from Cruikshank's analysis of advanced governing strategies and their involvement in creating the state-citizen (1999), I argue that both regiment and caring-based shelters user governance to project the notion of an ideal “shelter user-citizen,” which I categorize as a shelter user who embodies neoliberal notions of success. I aim to fill the current void in research on governance in caring-based shelters by addressing the manner in which “gentle coercion” is used within these shelters as a form of neoliberal governance, and how governance can be problematic for women whose identities and experiences differ from those of the predominantly white, middle-class, and abled-bodied cis-gender women in charge of shelter procedures and programming.


Nicole Coomber, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Police Use of Twitter: 21ST Century Community Policing


The purpose of this study is to provide insight into new contemporary policing practices that incorporate social media. Specifically, a southern Ontario metropolitan police service’s use of Twitter as a community-policing tool will be examined in order to obtain an understanding of how Twitter facilitates and/or constrains collaboration with the public in solving crime. As this study is for an ongoing Master’s thesis, an outline of the proposed research will be presented. This will include a literature review of community policing, police presentational strategies and police use of Twitter. As well, the study’s methodology and theoretical perspective will be touched upon. Further, my research objectives and research questions will be discussed along with any findings that have emerged thus far.


Esther Darku, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

(Re)Constructing National Identity Through ‘Wear National’ Campaigns


This article examines the attributes of ‘wear national’ campaigns as economic strategy that mobilises culture and nationalism. The campaigns are examined as crucibles for producing an economic oriented national cultural identity aimed at creating market spaces for local economies in an ever globalising world. It argues that the concept of ‘wear national’ produces an identity that purports to be local but aimed at the global market. The identities that are produced are therefore ideologically local but global in their outlook and expression. Hence, wear national campaigns are simultaneously global and local, drawing from global - local antecedents that foster the idea of a global market. Using qualitative data from interviews conducted in Ghana and South Africa, this paper describes Wear campaigns and demonstrated the ways in which these campaigns produce an identity driven effect for textiles and clothing.


Deborah Davidson, York University, Canada

How Griefwork Shifted a Relational Boundary: From ‘Dead Baby’ to ‘Granddaughter’


Griefwork (Davidson, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2017), as a concept understood within a symbolic interactionist perspective, is the labour shared and negotiated between grieving persons and caring others.  The goal of griefwork is to integrate loss into one’s life in a meaningful way.  Hospital protocols for perinatal death (death around the time of birth), which began to emerge in the later 1980s, are now practiced as a matter of course.  Prior to the protocols, women and their families were expected to “go home and forget about it”, their grief and their babies unacknowledged.  In this presentation, I tell a grandfather's story about the practice and consequences of the protocols today, and how the meaning of a baby born still was remade through symbolic and physical interaction – with the baby born still.


Scott de Jong, McMaster University, Canada
Understanding sense of community in undergraduate residence halls

The residence experience is rather unique and hosts an intriguing opportunity to examine the creation of social boundaries and the formation of individual and group sense of belonging. This paper examines the undergraduate student experience in residence communities at McMaster University. Drawing on in-depth interviews and participant observation, this project will focus on how students/student leaders form and maintain a sense of community to and within their residence buildings. The 7-month ethnography will take place over the 2017-2018 school year and will look to SI and social network theories to inform the process. To this end, the project hopes to identify the key factors of the residence experience (i.e., student organized events, student-student leader relationships, etc.) that contribute to a students’ sense of community in residence.


Nathan DeVenne, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

The Hidden Message: How Art Changed Homeland


Showtimes’ award winning series Homeland was under scrutiny in 2015 after the show’s production team neglected to verify one of the visuals. The team hired a couple of artists to make the set more authentic by graffitiing the walls with Arabic script. The show’s plot has often been criticized for its alienating views of the Middle East, enforcing cultural stereotypes. The graffiti artists utilized this opportunity to infiltrate the production and challenge the racist and prejudice assumptions disseminated by the show. Instead of having content characteristic of Middle Eastern graffiti, the artists wrote captions such as “Homeland is racist.” Using Arjun Appadurai’s (1996) -scapes, and an analysis of the visuals in Homeland, I argue that the cultural implications of globalization arise in the form of media productions. Fears of the hybridization of culture are solidified by shows such as Homeland, who continue to influence public opinion.


Leonie de Vries, De Montfort University, UK
Allison Kirkman, University of Waikato, New Zealand
The Scattering of Ashes: Conflict over risk in the disposal of unbounded cremains of the deceased

The body rendered to dust (ashes) during cremation disperses with the physically bounded body, before decay, providing material that has infinite possibilities for transcendence of the bounded body. The scattering of ashes of the deceased takes many forms: from dispersal to the wind; scattered on seas, rivers and lakes; and ritual dispersal into or on the earth, including football grounds and other public spaces. Ashes are often divided between families and friends who then do different things with their portion. Ash-scattering is a deeply private ritual, yet it invariably takes place in a very public setting, however organisations, such as Local Councils and groups concerned about ecological effects of ashes on water and vegetation are calling for more regulated boundaries within which ashes may be disposed of. Stories of ashes disposal were analysed using Mary Douglas’ Cultural Theory of Risk considering societal conflict over risk related to the unbounded disposal of the cremains of the deceased.


Adrian Downey, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Meeting Points: An Indigenous Arts Informed Exploration of White Privilege and Indigenous Identity


This presentation seeks to explore the theoretical and practical meeting points between arts-informed and Indigenous methodologies as manifest in the author’s master’s thesis. The presentation first focuses on the literature around arts-informed research with particular focus on the work of Ardra Cole and Gary Knowles. It then shifts to a description of Indigenous methodologies from the academic literature (specifically, the work of Margaret Kovach and Shawn Wilson) and with reference to the author’s own lived experience as an Indigenous person. The boundaries and meeting points of these methodologies are further explored through the context of the author’s thesis research around white privilege and Indigenous identity. Key methodological principles common to both paradigms such as respect, reciprocity, and accessibility are explored with concrete examples from the author’s work. The presentation concludes with a brief discussion of where these methodologies fit within the larger context of social sciences research.


Marie-Lise Drapeau-Bisson, University of Toronto, Canada

Threading the Quilt of Memorialization


In a current project on the memorialization of the feminist novel L’Eugélionne published in Québec in 1976, I analyze four sites of memorialization and deploy multiple data collection strategies: content and discourse analysis, focus group, visual methods, interviews and reflexive analysis. I adopt these various strategies to “pay attention to the forms and the media through which phenomena are enacted, encoded or embodied” (Atkinson 2005: 10) and will explore in this presentation how their combination allow me to grasp the different cultural forms of memorialization. I will argue that these strategies provide me with a window into the multi-level, power-laden and temporal process of meaning creation in the memorialization of cultural objects. In doing so, I take an interpretive approach to culture and put forth a definition of the qualitative researcher as a quilt maker who “stiches, edits, and puts slices of reality together” (Denzin and Lincoln 2000: 5).


Jennifer Dustin, McMaster University, Canada
Exploring the Outlines of Personal, Professional and Public Boundaries of the Professional Identity of Social Workers

Social work is a complex and demanding profession often made more so by the persistent need to outline, re-define and/or confirm the boundaries of our practice with service users, fellow professionals, our peers, and sometimes for ourselves. In this presentation I will share preliminary findings from my doctoral research exploring ways in which social workers define their professional identity as “social workers”, how they believe the profession is represented in the media, and any perceived connection between the two. This research centres practitioner voices in exploring how social workers conceptualize their professional identity for themselves, to others, and in relation to media representations and conflicting understandings of the profession.


Marie Hélène Eddie, University of Ottawa, Canada

Apprehending Communities with Different Boundaries as a Researcher


This communication will discuss the challenges of conducting qualitative fieldwork that involves communities of different cultural backgrounds with different boundaries, all the while ensuring compatible data collection from group to group. This reflection is based on my encounter, as an Acadian researcher, with an Acadian group, a First Nations’ group and an Anglophone group, all of which fought, as allies, against a perceived environmental threat in New Brunswick.

These encounters led me to embrace an iterative process and flexible data collection techniques. Questions of boundaries were raised as I attempted to maintain a healthy balance between distant observation and friendship; learned to accept refusal of participation; faced the responsibility of not leaving these communities empty-handed; and came to terms with the fact that traditional academic considerations sometimes conflict with the wishes of the participants.


Kasey Egan, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Rape Myth Acceptance and Understandings of Consent on Canadian University Campuses Using Participatory Action Research


Many scholars agree that we live within a rape culture, which actively works to normalize and excuse acts of sexual violence. Rape myths are a prevalent social norm, which perpetuate the notion that the victim is at fault for experiencing violence, or alternatively that the violence is “illegitimate". Therefore, rape myths act as a form of neutralization and work to reduce the injury of victims. This presentation will examine the ways in which rape myth acceptance (RMA) relates to understandings of consent in Canadian university students, as well as determining how educational intervention is capable of combating RMA prevalence and increasing understandings of consent. I will discuss the model of the educational session I will be delivering to participants and the instruments of measure used to determine both RMA and understandings of consent.


Hannah Eggett, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada
“Preying on Predators”: An Exploration of Creed Catchers’ Victim and Villain Narratives

Vigilantes have existed in differing capacities throughout history, acting as social control agents in their communities through addressing behaviours viewed as transgressive. The emergence of the internet and other technological advances have led to the development of new forms of vigilantism. In particular, the cyber-vigilante, who addresses transgressive conduct that occurs in an online setting. This presentation will explore the meaning making activities of one Canadian cyber-vigilante organisation: Creep Catchers. As the organisation targets the transgressive behaviours of those believed to be online sexual predators, I will focus on how Creep Catchers determines who they should direct their attentions toward during their vigilante undertakings. Moreover, I will discuss the various victim and villain narratives invoked in this process.


Sheri Fabian, Simon Fraser University, Canada

A Community-based Collaborative Action Research Project: The Process of Building Relationships with our Indigenous Students


In early 2017, we began a community-based collaborative action research project to help us better understand the needs and experiences of post-secondary Indigenous students who report enduring misrepresentation and the silencing of Indigenous histories and colonization that negatively impacts their experiences.  In our efforts to create an opportunity for students to “talk back” to the institution and faculty members we knew we needed to set aside time at the study’s outset for relationship-building.  This pre-research phase has been crucial to ensuring a truly participant-driven model that is grounded in respect and trust and allows students to take ownership over the project. As white settler faculty members, the process of building relationship and negotiating and transcending social boundaries has been an ongoing learning process as we support our Indigenous students. In our session, we report on our process and experiences working with our Indigenous student research collaborators, consultants and participants.


Michael Fleming, St. Thomas University, Canada

“Truckers Don’t Cry”: Difficult Data Collection Amidst a Culture of Suspicious Masculinity


Some of the most interesting sociological analyses of truck drivers have been completed by drivers-turned-sociologists, or participant observers with unfettered access to the work worlds of truck drivers. Successful and satisfying qualitative research with truck drivers, however, is made increasingly tenuous amidst fears of driver and participant safety, liability, and a work place environment that is not as hospitable to outsiders as it may once have been. This presentation discusses the research design and methodological struggles and successes I have had researching truck drivers in Atlantic Canada, including framing data and finding the most accommodating ways to gather data from and about truck drivers while maintaining rigorous data collection standards. The primary focus of this presentation is data collection with truck drivers. These strategies may be of interest to researchers working with culturally and physically difficult to reach participants.


Katie Flood, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Ballet and Childhood


Many young girls dream of becoming a professional ballerina and having a wardrobe full of beautiful tutus, pointe shoes and tiaras. A ballerina is an exquisite combination of an athlete and an artist. Ballerinas are dedicated individuals driven to their profession to which they give both their body and soul. Girls aspiring to become a professional ballerina begin the many years of training at a very young age; however, boys can begin later in life and still have professional careers. Only a handful of young ballet girls from around the world will be accepted into the institution of a professional ballet school.  Here they are cut off from wider society for an appreciable amount of time and together lead an enclosed formally administered life (Goffman, 1961, xii). Ballet and feminism have had a long and complicated relationship. Germaine Greer once reportedly called ballet a "cultural cancer" and saw it as the personification of a sexist culture, a culture that stems from a patriarchal society” (Carter, 2001).


David Foord, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Engineering design in the construction of bionic hands


This paper examines the construction of bionic hands and new research identities and methods at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from the 1960s to the 1980s.  The Boston Arm project was originally conceived and structured in the early 1960s along the lines of other Cold War research projects. It was to be performed by a group of university-industry researchers, with science providing the principals for a product that would, it was anticipated, outperform the already launched Soviet technology. But while the science of cybernetics provided the inspiration for the Boston Arm, what emerged as the primary method for knowledge creation was an experimental, clinic-based, design-engineering method. The case study examines the social construction of the Boston Arm and the transition in engineering practices and identities from Cold War, military-sponsored academic engineering to the research commercialization focus of the 1980s.


Kamaria Francis, R.A. Malatest & Associates, Canada

The Building Blocks of Childcare in Ontario


Within the sector of early years and childhood education, several issues exist that affect the recruitment and retention of employees that makeup this vital workforce. In 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Education commissioned a study to better understand the factors that contribute to improving the recruitment, retention and engagement of childcare providers.

Through an extensive literature review and jurisdictional scan, the problem of a gender imbalanced workplace, the public profile of employees, and the education and training the employees receive were reoccurring themes. Elevating the profile of early years and child care professionals will not only benefit the workforce but the general public as they will have an increased understanding of what they do, and why it is important to invest in these employees.

This presentation will explore how increasing unification within the sector, which is affected by these issues, will create clarity around social boundaries between the sector and the public, therefore creating stability and an opportunity for the changing of attitudes and perceptions of the workforce.


Angela Garcia, Bentley University, USA

Discourses of Bordering in Contemporary Political Debate about the U.S./Mexican Border


In this paper I will use conversation analytic and critical discourse analytic approaches to investigate how the concept of the “border” is used in contemporary political discourse in the United States.  The data sources for this paper will be drawn from a collection of video and audiotaped speeches, events, and interactions involving the President, members of Congress, experts, and members of the public.  These data are all available on the public cable television website C-SPAN.  The purpose of the analysis will be to explore the meanings and implications of the border and discourses about the border in contemporary American politics through a micro-sociological approach focusing on the communicative techniques and strategies used in the interactions and events studied.  Connections and implications between the U.S./Mexican border will be considered in terms of its connection and use in constructing borders between political parties, citizens of various social categories, regions, and immigration statuses.  


Andrew Gardner, University of South Australia, Australia

An investigation of serious boundary violations by Nurses in Australia since the commencement of the National regulator


A review of the findings of tribunal hearings for unprofessional conduct in relation the management of professional boundaries since the national body Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) commenced in July 2010 up until July 2017, has revealed some disturbing findings.  This research into serious boundary violations revealed 55 Tribunal hearings and 4 Panel hearings relating to Nurses breaching professional boundaries by either stealing from patients, sexual misconduct, or other abuse of power such as behaving in a verbally or physically aggressive manner.

This presentation will attempt to profile some of the potential warning signs and risk factors leading to boundary violations through the use of two case studies as examples of Nurses breaching professional boundaries in Australia.  The findings from this research have potential implications for the higher education sector, workforce managers and the regulator in terms of their role in the broader protection of the public.


Michelle Goldenberg, McMaster University, Canada

Disciplinary Traitors: the double boundary-work of anti-vaccine physicians


Gieryn’s (1999) book Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line examines how the criteria demarcating science and non-science varies across five historical episodes. In each case the cultural cartography of science is drawn to convince audience members that science is credible. This paper focuses on the boundary-work of anti-vaccine physicians—a group that concurrently defends and undermines the boundaries of science. Organizationally central as physicians, but marginal in their ideas about vaccination, the actions and claims made by these individuals are inevitably situated in settings where the tacit assumptions about the attributes of science are forced to become explicit (Gieryn ibid). Data gathered from their personal websites, books, blogs, videos, and media appearances, is used to understand the episodic map of science drawn by anti-vaccine physicians and the ways it extends and denies epistemic authority to science in order to win the credibility contest surrounding vaccines.


Julia Goyal, University of Waterloo, Canada

Hiding Behind the Screen: Comparing Online and Offline Data Collection Methods in Qualitative Research


Though Airbnb accommodation-sharing is a relatively new phenomenon, a new form of entrepreneurial work is emerging with various occupational health and safety (OHS) implications. Airbnb hosts are self-employed workers and, therefore, not protected under the Ontario Employment Standards Act. There is scant literature on the OHS in Airbnbs, but numerous studies speak to the physical, chemical, biological and psychosocial risks faced by hotel workers (the closest comparator to hosts). For my Master’s research, I used online document analysis and in-depth semi-structured interviews to explore OHS standpoints, challenges, and experiences of hosts navigating within the Airbnb platform. Online posts, from 2015 to 2017, in the community.withairbnb.com forum helped provide insight into the OHS situations of hosts, as described by hosts themselves. In this paper, the qualitative online document analysis will be juxtaposed with interview data to discuss the use of online and offline data collection methods.


Debra Graham, Carleton University, Canada

Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun: Crisscrossing Gender, Time, and Space by way of the St. Petersburg Self-Portrait


French painter Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842) is celebrated for her likenesses of eighteenth-century monarchs, nobles, and the many representations of herself. Yet, little ink has been spilt on her Self-Portrait of 1800. This dearth of scholarship is surprising considering the artist gifted the work to the Imperial Academy and purportedly declared it was the best of all her self-portraits. A look at the painting through a feminist new materialist lens provides insight into the sticky signs that have marked her life and the image. As an émigré to Russia fleeing the French Revolution and its aftermath, a single mother working in a male-dominated field, and a pioneer portraitist for an old-world aristocracy, Vigée Le Brun’s fashionings in the St. Petersburg Self-Portrait reveal her innovative negotiations for traversing boundaries of gender, time, and space.


Adam Grearson, McMaster University, Canada

Navigating Disability, Self-Disclosure, and the Resulting Boundary Work


This presentation focuses on an auto-ethnography which reflects on my experiences as a person with the mental disorder schizophrenia. Over the course of eight years since my diagnosis, I have chosen to disclose my disability to most people who I come into contact with in professional, occupational, and social circles. This auto-ethnography highlights the responses I have received from self-disclosure, which range from “I would never have guessed you have schizophrenia” from my peers to complete avoidance from a key mentor in my life.

After reflecting on responses to self-disclosure, I discuss the subsequent and stigmatizing “Othering” / boundary work process which occurs: here, both other individuals and myself attempt to separate me from the “average” person with schizophrenia due to my high-functioning capacities. I conclude with the response strategies I have used which ultimately reinforce this boundary work.


Kelly Greenfield, Memorial University Newfoundland, Canada

Fish Ponds and Forest Spirits: Social Research as a tool for Effecting Culturally Appropriate Change


This research project is a qualitative inquiry based primarily on 11 months of participant observation and a primary data source of 20 in-depth interviews with rice and fish farmers at O’Saray Commune in rural Cambodia.  I conducted my field research in association with the Sustainable Rice Fish Integration (SRFI) Project, hosted by the Marine Institute International of Memorial University.

I examine the social and cultural implications of the incorporation of a new form of aquacultural technology into the existing rice farming practices of these farmers.  While I conclude that the SRFI Project was a successful development project, I demonstrate how it could have been better if it included a social lens in the design and implementation stages.  Such a lens would take into account religion, superstition, and gender.  This project effectively illustrates how social research can be used as a tool for effecting culturally-appropriate change through aid organizations.


Sylvia Grills, Queen’s University, Canada

That’s not for me: Doing whiteness through self-exclusion


Racial and queer intersections have taken on a sense of critical urgency in Toronto. In 2016 Black Lives Matter halted Toronto’s Pride parade in an effort to have space and funding needs met which exposed race-related tensions in the queer community. An increase in far right political views is correlated with a rise in violence against people of color and queer people. In response to the current political moment which is marked by a focus on social justice, solidarity and social inequality I conducted interviews with queer people living in Toronto. When I asked about racial issues and anti-racism white participants often responded that anti-racism was not for them or about them. In particular, white participants claimed that their self-exclusion made them allies to people of color and anti-racism. I analyze the construction of allyship through self-exclusion and how this construction supports white comfort and race-related oppression.


Salomey Gyamfi Afrifa, Erasmus University, the Netherlands

Analyzing Processes of Institutional Change


The Water Sector Reform Programs in Ghana, (e.g. the National Community Water and Sanitation Programme) seek to achieve an accelerated and equitable delivery of improved water facilities to rural and small towns, and to ensure the sustainable management of these facilities at the same time. However, the implementation of these reforms has not been in accordance with its desired expectations. Implementation has faltered because the reforms were in conflict with practices emerging from communities implementing these Water Sector Reform Programs. Using six (6) cases, an in-depth study is made to explore processes of institutional change and how these impact on users’ access to water and sustainability of small town water systems. This study adopts Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) to, allows the accumulation of knowledge and mapping of theories to clearly specify the structures and mechanism to explain and understand processes of institutional change.  


Kaitlin Hagarty, Lakehead University, Canada

Where Mothers Have Been, Can Go and Would Like to Be


The idea of social boundaries around motherhood is not a new concept. There are socially constructed ideas around what a mother should wear, how she should dress and how she should act. In fact, the very idea of a mother is a social construct. But as society advances, and rules and norms change, how are the boundaries of motherhood changing? Although my work is in its preliminary stages, it aims to explore the boundaries around motherhood over time and how they have changed, who patrols these boundaries, and who benefits from them. These social boundaries around motherhood can dramatically alter a woman’s life and her life choices, and are deserving of a great deal of attention.


Anna Hay, St. Thomas University, Canada

Gender & Judgement, Sexuality & Sentencing: Queering the Courtroom


Queer populations experience intimate partner violence (IPV) at a rate that is at least equal to that of their cisgender heterosexual (cishet) counterparts (McKay, Lindquist & Misra, 2017). In spite of this, academic research concerning IPV in queer populations is relatively scant. This thesis will probe for disparity at the judicial level; specifically, it will examine how queer identity affects criminal sentencing decisions in cases of IPV. Using a mixed-method comparative analysis, a total of twenty IPV sentencing decisions are subjected to a critical discourse analysis. Using ten cases involving cishet couples and ten cases involving queer-identified couples, a comparative analysis demonstrates sentencing disparity between the two samples as well as some qualitative differences in the offered rationales for the imposed sentences.  Most IPV research employs a feminist perspective. This project instead utilizes queer theory to indicate the presence of subtle prejudice when sentencing instances of queer IPV.


Mariana Hernandez Hernandez, Memorial University of Newfoundland

‘Positivity’ in Cooking Shows and its Instrumentality in the Construction of Culinary, Lifestyle and Regional Identities


Although the skew towards ‘positivity’ is unmarked and common across languages (Rozin, Berman, & Royzman, 2012), this paper demonstrates its functionality in the construction of the instructional cooking show as a ‘fantasy of transformation’ (Ashley et al., 2004, p. 184), as well as in the creation of culinary, lifestyle, and regional identities. Using qualitative and language variation analysis, this study focuses on the linguistic performances of twelve food celebrities from Canada, England, and the USA. Results show that positivity extends beyond words that are intrinsically positive, such as good, happy, beautiful, to other non-intrinsically positive terms (e.g., quick/slow) which become positive within the constellation of positive meanings generated by chefs. For example, while Ree Drummond uses 'quick' variants to construct a culinary, lifestyle, and regional identity that transposes the ideals of the American Frontier, Michael Smith makes use of 'slow' variants to create a locus amoenus identity.


Jason Hickey, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Doing Grounded Theory in a Cross-Cultural Context


This presentation will discuss three ‘boundary’ issues encountered during a recent grounded theory study of recovery from mental illness in Qatar. The ‘boundary’ issues were ‘accessing participants’, ‘breaking social boundaries’, and ‘interviewing/translation’. Grounded theory’s emphasis on theoretical sampling led to the development of a flexible sampling strategy; its Implementation was facilitated by the lead investigator’s affiliation with a respected local educational institution and professional relationships with health care staff. The methodological focus on social processes required in-depth exploration of participants’ challenges and strategies used to overcome these. This led to discussions of taboo topics that crossed social and cultural boundaries. The use of constant comparative analysis overcame linguistic boundaries as the analysis corrects potential translation errors through the continuous modification of concepts. In summary, grounded theory methodology enabled the researcher to overcome boundaries in a cross-cultural research project.   


Catherine Holtmann, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Towards Cultural Sensitivity: Intimate Partner Violence and Religion


Feminist research has problematized the boundaries between the public and private, particularly concerning intimate partner violence (IPV).    The characteristics of women from minority groups that contribute to their vulnerability in situations of IPV differ from majority women.  This paper is based on qualitative research with Christian and Muslim immigrant women and public service providers from the Canadian Maritimes.  Research conducted at the intersection of IPV and religion shows that many public service providers consider religion to be private even though it is an important aspect of immigrant identities.  Immigrant women’s vulnerability to IPV is not caused by their religious identities and practices, but shaped by the ways in which religion informs intimate relationships.  Furthermore, the boundaries between religion and ethnicity are blurred.  Analysis of data from research participants based on feminist and intersectional theorizing can lead to more culturally sensitive understandings of IPV, bridging the boundaries between sacred and secular.


Áine Humble, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada

Elise Radina, Miami University, USA

Moving Beyond “Themes Emerged”


This presentation describes an in-press book detailing the processes behind qualitative data analysis. In the first section, authors of 13 chapters describe their data analysis for recently published work (in the past 5 years) on family-related issues. Topics and methodologies vary (e.g., authoethnographic account of having a stillborn child; multi-site, longitudinal study about caregiving support in long-term care). A companion website provides supporting visuals for most chapters—screenshots, images, and figures. The second section is four “dialogues” between first-section authors on (a) reflexivity, (b) qualitative data analysis software, (c) arts-based analysis, and (d) data display.  We describe how this book offers “behind the scenes” narratives showing the complexity and messiness of data analysis as researchers make sense of diverse types of data (e.g., observations and interviews). The intent is not to provide a “step-by-step formula” but to provide readers with a variety of stories about how data analysis actually occurs.


Rachel Hurdley, Cardiff University, UK

‘They’re just dust gatherers’ – mantelpieces as focal points and backgrounds for everyday life


When English medieval fireplaces moved from floor to wall, they became places for arranging, maintaining and performing identities. Once carved into stone and wood, these tableaux became mobile and changeable with the addition of shelves. What horizons these platforms opened up! The perfect Georgian symmetry of mirror, candlesticks, vases and clock reflected light back into the room, and the wealth of its owners. Victorian overmantels were towers crammed with colonial goods, fossils and china, assuming possession of natural and human worlds. Between the World wars, neat symmetry jostled with inherited goods, souvenirs, snapshots and ephemera: ashtrays, rent books, letters, collar studs. This was the age of the Mass-Observation project, ‘an anthropology of ourselves’.

Despite mid-century rejection of ‘dirty’ fires, fireplaces are making a comeback as everyday life floats into hyperspace. The middle classes, at least, want to gather dust, to settle into whatever counts for real these days.


Paul Issahaku, Memorial University, Canada

How aging and old age is understood and practiced differently in Ghana: a preliminary formulation


Although the proportion of older Ghanaians is increasing, there is little phenomenological research on aging in Ghana which taps into lived experience, meaning making, and self-presentation of older Ghanaians. I intend to share the preliminary formulation of a study on ‘How aging and old age is understood and practiced differently in Ghana’. Among others, the study aims to investigate how age, sex, gender, and geography shape the meaning of old age and the lived experience of older Ghanaians. The study is situated within the life course perspective which understands individuals in terms of how they age over time, the social roles they enact and meanings attached to these roles, and historical events they live through and how these shape meaning. Age, sex, gender, and geography are all social boundary markers which have symbolic and material consequences for people. Data will be collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed using N’Vivo techniques.


Hamutal Jaffe-Dax, Rutgers University, USA

Where Does Jerusalem End? A Topological Analysis of Mental Maps of Al-Quds/Jerusalem


How do Jerusalemites – Palestinians and Israelis - define their city? According to which key principles is Jerusalem perceived and constructed as “a place”? The present research aims to understand the cultural perception of space, through a structural analysis of Sketch-Maps and Mental Maps of Jerusalem and other cities, which were drawn, described and interpreted by 37 Palestinian and Israelis from Al-Quds/Jerusalem in 2011-13. In order to pattern the phenomenological order of space the analysis is focused on the topological concept of boundary. The definition of Jerusalem as a social and spatial entity is questioned through the realization of its external and internal borderlines, as envisioned from the local point of view. In contrast to formal, official, municipal and geographical definitions of the city, the Jerusalemites draw ethno-national and local lines which reflect and construct their intensive boundary work as agents of cultural dispute.


Brittany Jakubiec, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada

Queering identity development with LGBTQ youth in Prince Edward Island, Canada


Adolescence is a period where one’s identity begins to form and solidify (Savin-Williams & Cohen, 2007).  Although it is true that identity continues forming into early adulthood (Wagaman, 2017), it is during the teenage years that youth begin to discover and attempt to understand their gender and sexual identities (Grace, 2015).  In the available literature related to gender and sexual identity development during adolescence, there is a notable lack of youth (<18) voices, experiences, and opinions (Schmitz & Tyler, 2017) and how identity is self-defined by this population (Wagaman, 2017).  In my dissertation research, I will explore the sexual and gender identity development of LGBTQ youth in Prince Edward Island, using an in-depth descriptive qualitative research design, with interviews and journal-writing as methods, and situated in queer theory.  In this presentation, I will present my preliminary findings.


Amanda Jenkins, University of Guelph, Canada

Prioritizing Cleanliness over Health: Exploring Women’s Use of Vaginal Hygiene Products and the Need to Feel Clean


Over the counter vaginal hygiene products, including vaginal washes, douches, sprays, wipes and powders, represent a growing market in North America (Nicole, 2014). Companies who produce these products profit by constructing vaginal odour as unclean and presenting vaginal hygiene products as necessary to attain cleanliness, freshness and ‘good’ vaginal hygiene. However, emerging medical research has linked some vaginal hygiene products to adverse health effects including bacterial vaginosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. Based on interviews with 31 Canadian women, I explore how attaining vaginal cleanliness through the use of vaginal hygiene products has become a necessity for some women. This necessity is one where women are willing to tolerate unpleasant side effects from the use of vaginal hygiene products in their pursuit of attaining vaginal cleanliness. I examine how socially constructed boundaries around women’s bodies as ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ impact the decisions women make around vaginal health and hygiene.


Alexandrea Jewett, St. Thomas University, Canada

Shedding Light on Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Gladue Sentencing Decisions: A Two-Eyed Seeing Approach


Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code of Canada specifies that incarceration should be the last resort when sentencing Indigenous offenders; in reality, it is often treated as the only option. Most research about Indigenous people and incarceration was framed through a colonial lens. Acknowledging the value of Indigenous knowledge, my research incorporates a Two-Eyed Seeing (TES) approach which provides an opportunity to integrate a colonial perspective with an Indigenous lens to present a new outcome, based off each of their strengths. This study sets out to find evidence to demonstrate how TES is incorporated into the sentencing of Indigenous offenders. Two-Eyed Seeing informs a qualitative content analysis of eight Supreme Court of Nova Scotia sentencing decisions of Indigenous offenders between 2012-2017. Preliminary findings show that during sentencing there is evidence of TES and colonialists perspectives operating and that there is a need for a more balanced co-management.


Kevin Jones, University of Portland, USA
Jordan Winczewski, University of Portland, USA
Exploring Experiences of Belonging and Exclusion among LGBTQA+ Undergraduate Social Work Students

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and other non-heterosexual (LGBTQA+) students on college campuses face a wide range of challenges, including high levels of victimization and social exclusion. A recent study found that LGBTQA+ undergraduate social work students, despite being in a discipline dedicated to social justice and human rights, experience lower levels of satisfaction and success than their heterosexual peers. This interview-based qualitative study explored the experiences of belonging and inclusion as well as exclusion and marginalization of 20 LGBTQA+ undergraduate social work students in their social work programs and field placements. Using qualitative content analysis, we found that participant experiences were shaped by four elements of social work programs: 1) relational, 2) environmental, 3) content/curriculum, and 4) structural. Examples will highlight how these factors facilitate or undermine belonging and inclusion, and recommendations will be made for undergraduate social work programs to better support LGBTQA+ students.


Navjotpal Kaur, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

“I asked for it”: How Women Experience Stigma in Transition from Being Infertile to Being Mothers of Multiples Through ART


Scholars are largely divided in their criticism of assisted reproduction technology (ART). Some criticize the increased and invasive medical interventions as disempowering women, while others argue that ARTs empower women by protecting their right to reproduce as they see fit. Research on the stigmatization of infertility and ART in the context of mothers of multiples is conspicuously missing from the literature, a notable lacuna in knowledge given ARTs are more likely to result in multiple births. Drawing on in-depth semi-structured interviews with 23 mothers of multiples, we show how these women interpret the stigma of first being “infertile” to then being “artificially” fertile to becoming mothers of multiples. Focusing on women who had twins or triplets after undergoing ART, we show how the agential freedom and alleged “empowerment” bestowed on women by the choice to use ART can transform into disempowerment.


Emma Kay, Dalhousie University

The Provincial Funding Experience of Women’s Non-Governmental Organizations in Nova Scotia


The landscape of federal and provincial funding for non-governmental organizations is always changing and in the past decade, women’s organizations have seen federal funding reduced. What remains unclear is how women’s organizations perceive funding and, more specifically, barriers to it. Using data from a survey of women’s non-profit organizations in Nova Scotia on funding accessibility, this paper examines how women’s organizations perceive obstacles to funding and in turn, how they navigate them. The organizations surveyed indicate feelings of discontent with the present state of government funding at both provincial and federal levels and participants identified strategies in the grant-writing process for overcoming obstacles to funding. The overall sentiment across women’s organizations is that the funding is insufficient. They are critical of funding rationales and they believe that the design of government grants does not account for the needs of those whom they fund.


Suzanne Kennedy, York University, Canada

Sights and Sounds, Stories and Stenches


This paper aims to illustrate the permeable boundaries between conceptions of the narrative self, the sensory self and the feeling and emotion worlds embodied in these concepts. Specifically, I aim to explore how the symbiotic relationship between these concepts, contribute to the making and understanding of meaning about self and how each relies on the other to articulate and contextualize how we come to experience realities and human group life. Using sensory-graphic data gathered during in-class sensory observations, sensory work conducted by Kevin Hetherington Kelvin E. Y. Low, and narrative analysis theories developed by Katherine Bischoping and Amber Gaszo, the research demonstrated the interdependencies between narrative self and the sensory self as we endeavour to create consistent and coherent meanings of self.


J. Scott Kenney, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Illegitimate Pain at the Ideological Crossroads: Ex-Muslim 'Apostates' Caught in the Middle


In this paper, I build upon earlier work on "illegitimate pain" (Kenney and Craig, 2007, 2012; Kenney and Slowey, 2010), forms of emotional and physical suffering that are variously neglected, misunderstood, or stigmatized, and that can be conceptualized along dimensions of relative legitimation. Having taken the position that illegitimate pain is defined, bounded, legitimated, and perpetuated by ideologies prominent in a given society (Kenney, 2017), I consider what happens when several seemingly divergent ideologies simultaneously - yet for different reasons - define the suffering of a distinct group of people as illegitimate.

Specifically, this paper analyzes these dynamics by empirically reviewing the experiences of ex-Muslim "apostates" in the 21st century. It considers the painful lived experiences of those "caught in the middle" between different worlds - between religious stigmatization, demonization by the political right, and the frequent progressive neglect of such concerns for fear of shoring up political opponents. As a result, 'apostates' often suffer in silence, or are forced to live "double lives" in order to "pass," even to survive.


Steve Kleinknecht, Brescia University College, Canada

Leaving the Fold: Defection and Cultural Continuity among the Old Order Mennonites


While we often conceive of social boundaries as cultural practices which keep the outside out, in this presentation I explore how they also operate to keep what’s inside in.  Through my research on cultural continuity among the Old Order Mennonites, I analyze how the community deals with defection.  Perhaps the most direct internal threat to the group’s culture comes when members leave the community.  For the Old Order, should individuals become dissatisfied with their lifestyle, they have the choice to continue to submit to the brotherhood and be respectful of their brethren, or exit from the group.  Forgoing familiarity for the unknown, though, becomes a social control mechanism dissuading departure.  How exiting is viewed and controlled are taken up in this presentation.  The benefits of exiting to cultural continuity are also explored.  For the Old Order, it is essential to strike a balance between keeping members and shedding their discontent.


Rosalinda Knight, Dalhousie University, Canada

Understanding the use of audio and video diaries to explore health care experiences: A systematic review


As technology evolves and advances, there is merit in evaluating how new technologies are utilized in qualitative research.  Audio and video diaries are such technologies that can provide rich longitudinal data; however, little is understood about how they are used in the context of exploring health care experiences. This paper presents our findings on a systematic review that investigated the use of video and audio diaries in this context and recommendations for their use in health research. Our findings demonstrate that these diary formats allow researchers to collect data from a diverse range of participants, who would otherwise be excluded using traditional written diary methods. Broad themes around the use of video and audio diaries include: 1) integration into the research design; 2) incorporation of the data into the analysis; and, 3) ethical considerations. Our findings illustrate the flexibility and richness that is possible with audio and video diaries.  


Taylor Knipe, University of Guelph, Canada

Exploring the Pluralization of Community Safety: A Qualitative Analysis of the Perceived Operation of Situation Tables


Recent concerns regarding the sustainability of public policing have been acknowledged by Public Safety Canada (PSC), initiating the push towards new and more collaborative models of community safety. These collaborative models are often referred to as Situation Tables, which seek to mitigate acutely-elevated risks of crime and/or victimization in the community through multi-sectoral risk-driven intervention. My master's research explores how the lived experiences of those working on the frontlines of one Situation Table, the Community Partners Risk Intervention Table (CPRIT), fit within the broader community safety and well-being framework proposed by the Ontario Working Group (OWG). Through in-depth interviews with seven members of the CPRIT, and a documentary analysis of reports prepared by the OWG, my research qualitatively analyzes how Situation Tables are intended to operate, in rhetoric, and how one table is perceivably operating on the ground.


Eunjung Koo, Erasmus University, the Netherlands

Demarcating the Boundary of Work from Action in Politics and Activity in Community


To recognize household work as ‘work’ by extending the boundary of work beyond market or estimating value with the corresponding market value has aimed to clarify its significance in the society. However, clarifying its significance do not guarantee its value in everyday life. To recognize worth of human behaviour by value has rather covered the worth beyond market. Hence, in order to demarcate the value of work which differ from those by the other human behaviours, this research focused on the different ways of allocating goods and services in respective spheres: giving in community, exchange in market, and redistribution in politics. Relying on qualitative research, the respective values engendered by different behaviours exemplified employing triad care behaviours of paid domestic workers: ‘care’ by unpaid care ‘activity’ at home, ‘freedom’ by paid care ‘work’ in the market, and ‘justice’ by care ‘action’ in the government programmes.


Ashwani Kumar, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada

Adrian Downey, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Dialogical Meditative Inquiry: An Existential and Emergent Approach to Research


This presentation has three purposes: 1. To explain the nature of dialogical meditative inquiry (DMI) as a research methodology as developed by the principal investigator (PI). 2. To underscore the usefulness of DMI for subjective and inter-subjective qualitative research. 3. To share the process and results of a research project that employed DMI research methodology.

DMI methodology emphasizes three key components—listening holistically, learning from silence, and having an open and vulnerable attitude—that allow for a deepened engagement so that inner thoughts and feelings may be expressed in meditative awareness. In addition to the PI’s previous research, this methodology draws on autobiographical method (Pinar & Grumet, 1976) and a/r/tography (Irwin & deCosson, 2004). Illustrative examples are drawn from a recent project where the PI, with a student collaborator, employed DMI toward the conceptualization and theorization of his ideas regarding teaching, learning, and researching as integral aspects of meditative inquiry.


Nicholas Kuzmochka, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Hegemonic Masculinity in Gay Men – The Strife of the Second-Class Gay


Gay men are a group that experience severe degrees of external discrimination across the world. One more covert way that gay men experience this is in the ways gay men recreate discrimination through intragroup conflicts and power systems. Though this is a group that is typically comprised of only one gender, many of these modes of power are rooted in the concept of hegemonic masculinity, as outlined by Connell (1985), and create a hierarchical system of gay men who exude a ‘straight’ masculinity over gay men who present with ‘gay masculinity’. This is largely achieved through systems of contextualizing, first, femininity as the absence of masculinity and, second, gay masculinity as the expression of femininity. This hierarchy can be examined using Bourdieu’s (1993) concepts of capital, and his concept of power through categorization (1979). This process, while largely unintentional, is problematic both in terms of reifying discrimination within the gay community, and recreating gendered power despite the presence of only one gender within the group.


Yasmin Lalani, McGill University, Canada

Navigating Boundaries in Research Relationships: Reflections from Two Ethnographies in England and Peru


Researcher identity is of paramount importance in ethnographic research.  It is critical in the qualitative tradition for the researcher to acknowledge how their social location might influence data collection and analyses.  This paper will draw on findings from two ethnographies with vulnerable populations conducted in England and Peru.  In particular I will discuss the ways in which my identity as a female person of colour might have influenced how participants “read” my interactions with them and how the balance of power shifted during participant observations and interviews.  While it could be claimed that my identity as a woman of colour “helped” gain trust with these vulnerable populations, I argue that it is still prudent for researchers to acknowledge how their position of privilege can affect relationship-building processes with participants. 


Abbie Leblanc, St. Thomas University, Canada

Welcome to Unceded Territory: On Hobbes’ Social Contract, Colonized People and Their Oppressors


The driving question behind this paper is how Hobbes’s social contract theory can be used to understand tensions between Canadian First Nations people and the government of Canada. This paper addresses this question in three sections: first, by outlining the rhetorical argument behind Hobbes’s social contract theory; second, assessing on how this rhetoric colours the history of colonialism in Canada; finally, reflecting on the consequences these findings imply for the future of reconciliation in Canada. Understanding colonialism through the lens of Hobbes’s social contract is important due to the theory’s ubiquitous acceptance of the legitimate basis of government. If the Canadian government acts in accord with this philosophy, yet has failed to provide the First Nations people with the opportunity to ever truly consent to their government, then it is possible that addressing the continuing effects of colonialism faces a much more fundamental obstacle than simply apologizing for past wrong-doings.


Gayle Letherby, Plymouth University, UK

Permeable Boundaries: Personhood, P/politics, Scholarship, Life …


In this paper I briefly outline my 30+ year academic consideration of the experience of mothers, other-mothers (those who mother in so-called inappropriate social, economic and sexual circumstances) and nonmothers, which has included an interest in cultural representation, as well as political and academic definition. Throughout my career I have reflected on the significance of auto/biography within my work and here – through some of my academic and other writings (which includes memoir, fiction and political opinion pieces) – I continue this to highlight the overlapping relationships between work and personal life, scholarship and other work related endeavours (including voluntary work, political activism and non-academic writing). Overall, my argument is that any boundaries between the public and private and between the academic and the non-academic, in my work and life at least, are permeable.


Sarah Li, Independent Researcher, UK

The Natural History of Doctoral Research: The Role of a Research Diary and Reflexivity


The aim of this paper is to locate critical moments of reflexivity in my doctoral research, focusing on my longitudinal research diaries. The moments highlighted were practical, theoretical, analytical and personal. I will present the actions I take, the implications arising from these moments, the strategies used, the insights emerged and the outcomes achieved. I will use the analogy of traffic movement, signs, rules and regulations to depict and describe the challenges, obstacles, turning points, struggles, despair and triumph in this journey. I will provide a table of features that constitute the concept of reflexivity and the strategies that I used to practice reflexivity. I hope to crystallize this concept and make it practical and recognizable for research students.


James Livingston, Saint Mary’s University, Canada
Stories of Success among People found ‘Not Criminally Responsible’

Each year, 850 Canadians are found by a court to be ‘Not Criminally Responsible on account of Mental Disorder’ (NCRMD). Almost all will return to the community, with upwards of 90% never reoffending. Little is known about the people who succeed. In fact, the narrative circulating about this group is exceptionally negative. To disrupt this negative narrative, a qualitative study was conducted to develop a better understanding of mental health recovery and crime desistance from people found NCRMD. Using a biographic narrative interpretive method, stories were gathered from 12 people who had achieved various forms of success after being found NCRMD in Nova Scotia, Canada. These stories offer insight into the lives of people found NCRMD, including experiences with mental illness, conditions contributing to their criminal behaviour, interactions with the forensic mental health system, and traversing through turning points and identity shifts.


Seung-Wan Lo, Algoma University, Canada

Making visible invisible boundary using a Bourdieu-informal methodology


Social boundaries are largely conceptualized as tangible within structural frameworks. Boundaries as such are often understood as a ‘thing’ instead of a process. In this presentation, I draw on my completed doctoral research that studies a nuanced understanding of inclusion and exclusion, using Bourdieu’s anti-dualistic framework to examine Chinese students’ experience in higher education in Canada. I show that, rather than a ‘thing’, the more elusive social boundaries are enacted and reproduced through a sequence of inter-related processes through which power becomes diffused and exclusion is made invisible. The study makes visible the invisible working of symbolic power in boundary-making, utilizing Bourdieu’s inter-related concepts of field, habitus and capital. This presentation underscores the rich, yet under-recognized, possibilities of using Bourdieu’s concepts in qualitative research as an integral framework rather than independent concepts.


Jacqueline Low, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Narratives of Home and Independence


This paper is based on qualitative study of people classed as Alternative Level Care (ALC) patients in which we used semi-structured interviews with them and/or their primary caregivers as our mode of data collection. ALC patients, who are derisively referred to as ‘bed blockers,’ are those with chronic health problems who occupy acute care hospital beds while waiting to be discharged home or to care in alternate settings. The primary focus of this project was on what factors led to their classification as ALC patients and what home supports might have prevented their admission to hospital. However, much of the interviews with the people who took part in this research were taken up with narratives of home and how that related to their perceptions of independence. In understanding these narratives I make use of Goffman’s distinction between the personal and social self.


Meghan MacEachern, Autumn Locke, Susan Reid, Dawne Clarke, St. Thomas University

Pushing the Boundaries on Women-Centered, Trauma Informed Corrections


This presentation will focus on the disparity between the proscribed programs and opportunities offered in a women’s correctional institution compared to the reality as expressed by the women residents.  The first part of the presentation will report on the initial research with women inmates and correctional officers, which revealed that women-centered programming is more than having female officers present, and that “canteen” for the inmates is not a program.  The second part of the presentation will provide an overview of the second part of the research: an examination of the women-expressed needs to consider trauma-informed corrections.  Once again, the data reveal that the women provide a different story based on their own experiences of trauma and that trauma continues during incarceration.  The research team will then speak to the way(s) in which the women offenders are attempting to restore their experiences through a women-led facilitator supported group called Women Matter.


Christiana MacDougall, Mount Allison University, Canada

Labour and Delivery: The Emotional Work of Giving Birth


This paper presents findings from a recent feminist narrative study which analyzed the birth stories of 15 women to explore the nature of emotional distress in childbirth.

While one might expect the boundary between patient and medical staff to be clear, participants’ birth stories demonstrated how the patient/staff boundary was blurred and transgressed during childbirth.

Women giving birth expected to be the recipients of care. Yet their stories indicated that even during birth they were providing care for others, representing a surprising shift in social boundaries for many women. While the patient/staff boundary was transgressed, it was transgressed by reinforcing the highly-disciplined boundaries of femininity and feminized caregiving labour.

Birthing women experienced themselves as patients and as women, and the tensions associated with managing both the rupture in the patient/staff boundary, and the disciplining of the boundaries of femininity were associated with emotional distress in childbirth.


Susan Machum, St. Thomas University, Canada

Exploring Vulnerability and Voice in Rural Research Programs


This paper explores what a ‘safe space’ mean in a rural research context. It considers how safety is framed, whose safety is questioned and how vulnerability is framed. In particular the paper examines recent research that frames the researcher studying rural remote populations as the vulnerable, powerless, participant while the rural residents they research are imbued with volatile power, on the verge of eruption. A fundamental question the paper considers is: How is vulnerability framed by the researched and the researcher during the data collection process when research is pursued in rural communities?

Methodologically the paper uses an autoethnographic approach and shares interview experiences from several decades of research with rural populations in rural communities.


Taylor MacKenzie, McMaster University, Canada

Exploring students’ perceptions of Dalhousie University’s management of sexual assault issues


Sexual assault on university campuses remains a pervasive issue, with Dalhousie University being no exception. It has been argued that universities regularly fail their victims of sexual assault as they do not adequately manage sexual assault issues on their campuses. Few studies, however, identify the perceptions of students on these university campuses. A qualitative methodology of nine semi-structured interviews was employed to explore the perceptions of Dalhousie undergraduate students regarding Dalhousie’s management of sexual assault issues. This study shows that Dalhousie University, in the eyes of its students, does not adequately manage sexual assault issues on campus. Students speak to the persisting rape culture on campus, the lack of resources on campus and the multiple barriers to these resources that exist. This research sheds light on the consistent rates of poor management of sexual assault issues on university campuses nationwide, from the perspective of the students, some of whom are victims of these sexual assaults.


Justin MacLeod, Acadia University, Canada

The Barriers Between Animals and Humans: Julia Kristeva Through a Posthumanist Lens


The goal of this paper will be to explore the work of Julia Kristeva, specifically her understanding of borders, to the relationship between humans and animals. Posthumanist literature has widely addressed the issue of humanity’s relationship with animals, specifically that animals have become dominated by humans as domestic pets, sources of labour and of course as a food source. The work done by Kristeva compliments the established posthumanist literature, as it identifies and works at the core divide between animals and humans. Through her concept of abjection, Kristeva identifies how aspects of societies begin to be viewed as an impurity that is to be reviled, feared and excluded. Understanding how we create barriers between animals and ourselves will demonstrate how these relationships are inherently exploitative, and open the possibility to create a society that breaks the “barrier” between humans and animals.


Marco Marzano, University of Bergamo, Italy

Ethics and Power, An Ignored Relationship


The deep connection between ethics and power is rarely recognized in the qualitative research work. I believe that this is a gap that has to be filled. In this paper, starting from my research experience and from a theoretical analysis of the concepts of power and authority in researcher-participants relationship, I try to examine how power relations in the field affect and define ethical dilemmas. I will also explain why a regulatory approach based on informed consent and IRB is totally inadequate to catch this problem; on the contrary, it risks to generate some dangerous unethical effects.


Mary McCluskey, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Societal Constructions: The Media’s Role in the Portrayals of Male and Female Filicide Cases


Often, mothers who murder their children are portrayed as “bad mothers”, as “the news media creates monsters out of [those] who transgress what is considered appropriate maternal behavior” (Goc, 2009, p. 42). This is especially important, as the media has created portrayals of females as murderers, which are different from portrayals of males who murder their children. Previous research has addressed the association of motherhood in female offenders, however, there is a lack of research that compares the portrayals of females and males who murder their children, formally known as filicide. This research seeks to analyze filicide cases, and the labels and social constructions that are attributed to each gender through media representations. The goal of the presentation will be to address preliminary findings, and provide insights into the characterization of gender in filicide cases, and how that impacts the public’s perceptions of female offenders compared to male offenders.


Colleen McMillan, University of Waterloo, Canada

“Hidden Stories, Contested Truths” – Using Autoethnography to Challenge Trauma within a Medical Setting


This autoethnographic study intentionally challenged clinical, professional and diagnostic boundaries in search of a method to heal from a traumatic, physical event. This decision required a therapist and client, also both academics, to abandon conventional therapeutic boundaries and to mutually risk our personal and professional selves in the hope of reformulating how the issue of trauma is understood and approached. As authors, we make visible the many boundaries that we encountered and negotiated over a 2 year period of counseling. We conclude that some boundaries must be deconstructed so that the act of healing is not private but public. As women and academics we make our personal process a public one, however, we also share how our decision resulted in questions and critique from colleagues and peers.


Stephen McMullin, Acadia University, Canada

Digital media and Religious Congregations: An analysis of Responses to Open-Ended Questions


This paper will present qualitative data from a sociological study of more than 1500 respondents in Canada and the United States who commented on ways that their religious lives are affected by digital media, both as it is utilized in congregations and as people experience it in their everyday lives.  Answers to open-ended questions were coded according to theme and analyzed in order to understand how the lived experience of people in religious congregations is being affected by digital media.


Jennifer McWilliams, University of New Brunswick, Canada  
Carmen Poulin, University of New Brunswick, Canada
Lynne Gouliquer, Laurentian University, Canada
“Feeling like the outsider”: Othering of women firefighters in Canada

Being “Othered” because of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, height and weight has been a common experience for women in traditionally men-dominated occupations. Although women’s representation in such fields has risen (Hughes, 1995), their presence in firefighting across Canada remains extremely low (3%; Statistics Canada, 2014). In this context, women find themselves at the intersection of various identities (Maleta, 2009; Paechter, 1998) and experience their impacts. Most research related to firefighting has taken place in the US, UK, and AUS. In the present Pan-Canadian qualitative study, we examined the experiences of volunteer and career women firefighters (N=112). The chosen methodology was the Psychosocial Ethnography of the Commonplace (P-SEC; Poulin & Gouliquer, 2005). Results indicated that women firefighters experience excessive othering manifesting itself in a variety of ways such as discrimination, hostile working environment, undermining of firefighting identity, and self-doubt. The discussion focuses on their marginalisation and policy recommendations that ensue.


Hena Mehta, York University, Canada

From Prayer to Prejudice: Analysing the Growing Sectarianism in New Religious Movements in India


This research paper seeks to understand the ways in which militant Hindu nationalism is unfolding on a global arena through faith-based organisations like the Brahma Kumaris (the BK henceforth) in India and in the diaspora. Brahma Kumaris which can be roughly translated to “the Daughters of Brahma”, or more appropriately the “virgins of Brahma”, calls itself the “spiritual university of the world”, claims to further world peace, increase the global happiness index by teaching their particular form of spiritual secular meditation and yoga, and prayer techniques. Since the BK places women in preaching positions, it is regarded as a progressive and an egalitarian organisation, given how few religious organisations in India allow women to be producers of spiritual knowledge.

In this paper, I will employ a few insights gained from discourse analysis, and from Himani Bannerji’s principles of the theory of the organisation of knowledge to analyse their “Awakening with Brahma Kumaris” series of videos (which are used as conscriptive recruitment tools, and are meant to embody the organisation’s philosophy) to understand the ways in which the institutional discourse of the organisation aids political Hindu fundamentalism gain cultural credence within the sphere of the Hindu Right (in India and in the diaspora), under the guise of religious tolerance


Tim Mickleborough, University of Toronto, Canada

International Pharmacy Graduates’: Breaking Down Professional Barriers


International pharmacy graduates (IPGs) comprise a significant number of the Canadian pharmacy workforce: 28 percent of pharmacists received their undergraduate education from outside of Canada and Ontario has the largest percentage of IPGs at just over 40 percent. However, despite their large numbers, little is known about how IPGs integrate into their profession, or the barriers and facilitators to creating a professional identity. In my study, I interview IPGs about their experiences as pharmacists, and using Judith Butler’s concept of performativity, I examine how IPGs activate professional discourses to form new professional subjectivities. My initial analysis demonstrates that by ‘performing’ these discourses, IPGs challenge commonly held assumptions about what it means to be a ‘foreign-trained' professional and a ‘Canadian’ pharmacist.


Melinda Milligan, Sonoma State University, USA
Container Capitalism: Organizers, Clients, and the Contemporary Obsession with “Becoming Organized”

Using an interactionist frame, the paper explores findings from an ongoing study of the culturally shaped experience of “becoming organized” as experienced and enacted by both professional home organizers and their clients. Initial findings suggest that (1) managing objects in the home is a means to manage emotions; (2) both organizers and clients seek to use home organizing as a means to repair perceived inadequacies linked to the expectations of self and others; and (3) work on the home is, in fact, work on the self, for both organizers and clients. Special attention is paid to a comparison of the KonMari method and traditional home organizing strategies. Data collection for the project includes in-depth interviews with organizers and clients, as well as participant-observation at conferences for professional organizers.


Alissa Moore, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Lynne Gouliquer, Laurentian University, Canada

Carmen Poulin, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Respecting the secular: Non-religious outlooks among older adults


There is extensive research suggesting a correlation between positive health outcomes and spirituality, but definitions of spirituality are variable and frequently over-inclusive (Hwang, Hammer, & Cragun, 2011). Spirituality is often defined very broadly as encompassing nearly all positive aspects of the human experience, while simultaneously employed and understood as an euphemism for religion (Hwang et al., 2010). This seems to perpetuate an anti-secular bias. Reflexivity on embedded cultural biases and an awareness of other perspectives are increasingly acknowledged as essential aspects of nursing (Potter et al., 2014). In this paper, drawing from an on-going study on aging and resilience in adults 90+ years old living independently, we present qualitative data on various perspectives (e.g., atheism, agnosticism) encountered amongst this group often assumed to be highly religious. We also advocate for a view of existential well-being that validates secular as well as spiritual and religious perspectives (La Cour, & Hvidt, 2010).


Muhammed Mukrram, Superior University, Pakistan

Issues of Quality in Qualitative Research


Objective: The main objective of this Paper is to highlight and address the issues of qualities in qualitative research.

Methodology: This a conceptual paper, which highlights the different concepts of quality in quantitative research and how these concepts have been transformed for ensuring the issues of quality in qualitative research.

In Positivistic paradigm the concepts of ‘Validity’ and ‘Reliability’ are used to address the issues of quality in quantitative research while the most suitable terms in Interpretive paradigms are Credibility, Neutrality or Confirmability, Consistency or Dependability and Applicability or Transferability.

Moreover the paper also highlights a number of verification strategies to verify the results of qualitative studies. Before concluding, the paper highlights the challenges faced by researchers while using different qualitative methods     

Conclusion: There is no single/final definition of qualitative research; similarly there is no fix tool to measure the quality of qualitative research, the paper highlighted a number of possible techniques and strategies to ensure the qualitative of qualitative research, moreover the role of qualitative researcher is of key importance


Shannon Mullen, University of Ottawa, Canada

‘Unsettling Education’: The Limits and Possibilities for Education as a Key to Reconciliation in Canada


Following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 2015 Report, education has been positioned as a critical pathway towards a meaningful reconciliation of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal citizens of Canada. In this paper, I examine the limits and possibilities for education to bring about systemic and transformative reconciliatory change when it has historically functioned as a system of institutionalized colonial oppression for Aboriginal people in Canada, particularly when non-aboriginal educators have learned to operate in a knowledge system conditioned by colonial frameworks. Through critical qualitative interviews with northern educators, I tease out the competing visions, aspirations, and tensions for education as a key to reconciliation in Canada. Ultimately, I discuss the social, structural, and institutional transformations that are required to disrupt education’s historic role as a colonial institution so that it can work towards meaningful reconciliation in Canada and not reproduce oppressive forms of colonial power.


Phuong Nguyen, CFVG School of Management, Vietnam

Parental Lay Self Immersion into Expert Communities of Child Health


We explored parental behaviors of child care in common minor ailments in the context of Asian developing countries which are characterized by unstructured and uncertain health care systems and social interactions. We employed grounded theory method with data from interviews with parents, pharmacy staff; and from parental online communities. Health care and medications were observed as a process in which parents like the primary actors immerse themselves in building their views and experience. Coping with perceived uncertainties and mistrust in professional sources, parents who actively live their parental role identity immerse their lay self beyond social boundaries of parenthood into the expert community of child health. We propose a theory of lay people self-immersion. It suggests that lay individuals with a strong self-identity immense their lay self beyond social boundaries into the expert world of practice.


Patrick Parnaby, University of Guelph, Canada

Understanding the Shift: A Grounded Theory Look at Police Retirement


We know a great deal about the process of becoming a police officer; however, we seem to know very little about police retirement as a social process that unfolds in a very unique organizational context. This paper attempts to answer what is, on the face of it, a rather straightforward question: how do Ontario police officers retire? Using data gathered primarily from semi-structured interviews with retired officers from five different police services in Ontario, this paper proposes a substantive theory of police retirement while drawing Glaser and Strauss’ (1971) classic work on “status passage” and Ebaugh’s (1988) work on “role exists”.


Stephanie Pena Alves, Rutgers University, USA

“Should I Knock?”: Door Politics and the Sociology of Access


Access is an inherently social phenomenon. Never a given, it is a luxury at best tacitly conferred, however more often, conditional, negotiated, if not fought for, ever mediated by the social rules, conventions, and politics of the domains to which we seek entry. These conditions to access abound in everyday life, coming to light at culturally marked sites and times for access negotiations.

While we tend not to reflect on their critical role in this ongoing endeavor, the primary sites of access in everyday life are doors. Sitting quietly in the background of interaction, doors are essential mediators between spaces and the people that occupy them. At them, we face a physical barrier to be sure, but an even stronger social one that demands we consider our status and the statuses of those on the other side of the threshold. Moreover, knowing what to do, at which door, at what time, and in what manner is not a personal challenge, but an impersonal one because it relies on intersubjevtively-held meanings achieved and maintained by the groups to which belong.

In this paper, I examine how rules of access manifest at and are mediated through doors in the various institutional domains of two Northeast university settings. Drawing on observations of offices to classrooms, dormitories to dining halls, I explore how members of these university communities use and relate to doors to gain access to spaces in their everyday lives. What are the conditions for access in these various spaces? What knowledge, status, or behaviors are required for entry? Under what conditions might an individual require a key, a knock, or simply a turn of the knob? Although we take them for granted, tacit rules of access are threaded throughout the fabric of everyday life and imbued in the architecture of everyday spaces. I argue that a sociological understanding of access requires a rich analysis of interaction relative to marked spaces and objects. Doors are, thus, as essential to a sociology of access as, I will argue, they are to access in everyday life.


Shayna Perry, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Experiencing Anxiety at University: Causes, Coping, and Coordinating Solutions


In this paper I will present the findings from my honours research in which I studied anxiety among undergraduate university students. In particular, I will focus on the findings from the qualitative portion of my mixed methods study of anxiety among undergraduate students at the University of New Brunswick. The methods of data collection I used were semi-structured interviewing and a structured questionnaire. The literature shows that young undergraduate students are prone to chronic stress because of the dramatic transition from high school into college and all that follows, such as: home sickness, maintaining relationships, and missing home town friends. Therefore, I will discuss the sources of anxiety for the students I interviewed as well as the way they cope with such anxiety. I will conclude with recommendations for the University of New Brunswick on how to better support students who experience anxiety.  


Duncan Philpot, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Performing Danger: Creep Catchers Canada and Vigilante Social Media Performances


This paper explores how vigilante groups around Canada make use of social media to share films of their encounters with alleged pedophiles as a means to shame the offenders. Key to this is how many instances feature vigilantes seeking out and finding pedophiles to shame in order to produce much of this content. This practice of self-representation (see: Yar, 2012; Smiley, 2015), where social media is used as a means of impression management, also features these vigilantes using problem frames to perform morality plays with a particular narrative structure and moral meaning for their audiences (Altheide and Michalowski, 1999). Drawing on Altheide and Michalowski’s (1999) study of the use of frames in media stories, as well as Yar (2012) and Smiley’s (2015) discussion of self-representation performances, I explore how the group Creep Catchers purposefully use the frame of danger to construct their films about pedophiles in Canada.


Richard Piekarczyk-Vacca, McMaster University, Canada

Online Discourse Following Murder-Suicides in the Armed Forces


This study seeks to better understand how military culture in the Canadian Armed Forces influences individual members and those within their social ecology.


Kayla Preston, St. Thomas University, Canada

“We have to stop Islam, or say goodbye to civilisation”; Facebook Posts and the Crisis of Whiteness in Canadian Society


With the election of Donald Trump, there has been an overwhelming increase of discourse of nationalism and a rise in racist sentiments within the western world. This has been accompanied by a rise in neo-Nazi groups in Canada (Perry & Scrivens, 2016, 819). Sociologists use the crisis of whiteness (Kincheloe & Steinberg, 1997) and the hegemonic whiteness (Lewis, 2004; Hughey, 2010; McDermott & Samson, 2005) to explain this trend in Canadian society. In this research, using critical discourse analysis, I analyze the Facebook posts of Pegida Canada to examine representation of whiteness, “pro-white” or extreme nationalist, sentiments. Grounded in critical whiteness theory (Dyer, 1997; Frankenberg, 1993), and hegemonic whiteness (Lewis, 2004; Hughey, 2010; McDermott & Samson, 2005) I examine how these posts contribute to the mobilization of discourses of fear and anger, as well as how this phenomenon can shed light on the crisis of whiteness in Canadian society.


Taylor Price, University of Toronto, Canada

Cultural Experts and the Posthumous Careers of Musicians


Musicians hold community responsibilities. They uphold values through the themes they sing about, the styles of music they play and record, and the things they stand for as individuals. When individual artists die, cultural experts fill a role in the way that an artist’s legacy continues.  They do so by constructing public memorials in major publications and imbuing musicians with artistic legitimacy. The project considers the way discourse shifts in the wake of a popular musician’s death by drawing upon music reviews published while musicians are alive and comparing them to reviews of posthumous releases. Reviews from major popular music publications originating from the U.S. and Canada are analyzed to understand the layering of interpretive cultural frameworks (Goffman 1974) that are activated by cultural experts and, in some cases, consecrate artists posthumously. The project is currently in the initial stages of analysis, this presentation will offer more substantial preliminary findings.


Craig Proulx, St. Thomas University, Canada

Interrogating non-Indigenous Online Racism Towards Indigenous People’s in Canada


Today racism has successfully colonized digital worlds thereby spreading its “knowledge” to newly tech-savvy older constituencies and, perhaps, recruiting new ones.  This paper analyzes three Canadian websites that portray themselves as fighting for equality and liberty for non-indigenous peoples from indigenous forms of privilege. I will show how these portrayals hide racism under the guise of social and political critique. I will reveal how discourses of innocence, the rule of law, equality-as-sameness and denial of racism among others structure the landscape of “white” online racism. In so doing, I illustrate how and why anthropology theory and methods can confront online racist “old whine in new glasses” while charting Canadian racism’s movement into digital worlds and the assessing the traction of its truth effects.


Antony Puddephatt, Lakehead University, Canada

Blacklisting as Boundary Work: The Demarcation of Predatory from Legitimate Scholarly Journals


Open-access journals have the potential to overcome costs associated with subscription paywalls, while providing access to wider populations. Yet within this new publishing environment, some fraudulent journals have emerged, printing almost anything for a fee, while eschewing peer-review. Such predatory journals have made scholarly publishing more contentious than ever, prompting whistleblowers to call out the worst offenders, to try and protect naïve academics and the integrity of science. Jeffrey Beall was the first to create a comprehensive "black-list" for journals suspected of being predatory, though his demarcation criteria were considered contentious, particularly by those he targeted. Since then, Cabell's International -- a private company -- has generated their own list of predatory journals, using a more transparent set of indicators to identify offenders. Drawing on Thomas Gieryn's theory of boundary-work, we analyze the stated criteria for the formulation of these lists, as well the discourse surrounding their controversy, to examine how “predatory publishing” has been variously defined and resisted by interested actors.


Helen Ramirez, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

The Missing Voice in Trauma Research


In this paper, I look at how researchers use what they call empirical research to warrant the use of people with trauma as guinea pigs to prove the worth of their study. The research is usually being conducted in reputable hospitals or universities that allows the researchers to sell their program as science which carries a misnomer of always being objective. The group participant is a willing pawn because the search for a seat in the care of a clinician is hard to come by.   What is disappeared in the final overview of the study are the voices of the clients who see the problems. They however are mostly ignored.  This paper takes a personal look at those ways in which research can play with the lives of the clients desperate for healing but who are ignored because they fit the image of the right kind of participant. 


Megha Rao, Western University, Canada

Theorizing Mass Incarceration: An Analysis of Aboriginal Over-representation on Light of Section 718. 2(e)


This study assesses the impact of Bill C-41 on Aboriginal offenders in Canada. Passed in September 1996, Bill C-41 amended the Criminal Code to clarify sentencing principles. Section 718.2(e) instructs judges to use incarceration only as last resort. Although it indicates Aboriginal offenders must be given special consideration, it does not provide specific conditions or parameters for its use, leaving it to judges’ discretion. In 1999, some clarification was provided in the Supreme Court of Canada decision of R. v. Gladue. Gladue clarified the application of section 718.2(e) and highlighted its role in alleviating overrepresentation.

This thesis considers the disproportionate incarceration levels of Aboriginal offenders in Canada and the boundaries surrounding the use of 718.2(e) in ameliorating the problem. It examines judiciary reasoning for the application of section 718.2(e) in 21 Court of Appeal cases. The study employs a constructivist, grounded theory approach to discourse analysis of extant case documents.


Sarah Reddington, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada

Shane Theunissen, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada

Relationality as Method in Accessing Indigenous Youth’s Voices


This article presentation explores relationality as a research method to access the voices of 45 Indigenous youth, The Warriors of the Red Road at Sea, who participated in a transatlantic journey on a tall ship from Halifax, Canada to La Have, France in August 2017. Through mobilizing the concept of relationality, we as non-Indigenous researchers were able to support the youth in documenting their experiences at sea and be relationally accountable to our community and young people. It is through the process of building relations that we were able to gain new insights and knowledges on the youth’s lives. This relational process has mobilized the opportunity to share, in the future, the Indigenous youths’ first-hand stories at sea in an edited book titled, The Collected Stories of the Warriors of the Red Road at Sea.


Susan Reid, St. Thomas University, Canada

Shifting the Penal Gaze: Taking Over Space in Youth Custody


This paper will discuss an innovative program led by incarcerated youth and their adult allies.  The program’s success is discussed from the perspectives of three long term incarcerated young persons and through open ended feedback from over fifty youth participants. Transforming a meeting space, bringing name brand pop and food into the institution and providing peer facilitators from outside the prison walls was the initial impetus for transcending the experience of prisonization for these incarcerated youth.  As time went on, it became apparent that the correctional officers, required simply to provide security at the meetings, began to recognize the positive effects of programming with the young people.   Youth opportunities to share their experiences with staff and have young people train officers on effective programming provide further insight into the effect of taking back space from the harshness of punishment to assist young people in their reintegration back into community.


Ian Rice, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Luc Theriault, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Blurred Boundaries in the Canadian Social Work Profession


Professional boundaries are typically defined by the regulated members of a professional group.  In Canada, the encroachment of ‘others’ into the controlled realm of the identified profession are often viewed as a threat that needs to be addressed.  Qualitative results of a recent PhD dissertation suggest that Social Work, as a profession, is open to accepting a blurred vision of the boundaries that define it.  Unlike other professions and other registered professionals, social workers, appear to be tolerant of the encroachment of professional boundaries in practice.  Results from this exploratory study indicate that the clear definition of role boundaries is less important to this professional group than the control over title.


AJ Ripley, St. Thomas University, Canada

'Feeling Seeing': What Transparent Offers Transgender Studies through the Mirror


Using Soloway’s (2016) tenants of their ‘female gaze’, the research reveals how Amazon's hit series, Transparent, challenges conversations about transnormativity, transgender embodiment, and queer time. By examining how the mirror functions as a type of “feeling seeing” in the text alongside the protagonist’s (Maura’s) character development, I am able to show the impacts of the visual regime of gender on transgender individuals and recuperate the fleeting moments within such seemingly stereotypical depictions that may reveal, despite their shroud of normativity, evidence of a productive tension between gender perception and gender identity.


Emma Robinson, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Evangelical Protestant Dating Books, Consent, and the Law: Contested Boundaries


Both Canada and the United States define sexual consent and the limits thereof in their criminal codes. However, the law is not the only domain through which individuals determine the boundaries of appropriate sexual conduct. Many religious institutions define norms of appropriate sexual behaviour, and some of these norms may differ from what is considered acceptable or unacceptable in the eyes of the law. In this paper, through qualitative content analysis of Evangelical Protestant abstinence literature guided by theoretical insights from the sociology of religion field, I explore the ways in which this literature’s definitions of sexual consent and non-consent converge with and diverge from those proffered by Canadian and American law. Lastly, I examine, based on my analysis, both the barriers to and opportunities for sexual assault prevention education in Evangelical communities, particularly in light of the current limits of the law in successfully prosecuting cases of sexual assault.


Kerstin Roger, University of Manitoba, Canada

Imagining Health Research: Imaging Data


The practice of using images in communication goes back thousands of years, with one well-known example being the Egyptian hieroglyphs. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the way in which visual images both circumscribe, describe and prescribe contemporary health narratives, and how visual information might be better introduced into research as actual data. Training health professionals using imagery as well as clinical purposes already exist. The focus here is on dissecting and problematizing the visual image - the photographic or drawn, video or digital image available online - which accompanies a text and/or narratives around a topic related to health research, and how in this increasingly visual world, visual information which may be considered valid as data in an academic context.


Maija Saari, Sheridan College, Canada

Making Tracks: Academic Calendars as Empirical Records of Jurisdictional Boundary Work Between Journalists and Scholars


Despite over a century of journalism education in the American academy (with post-war emergence in Canada), the journalist’s position inside the academy has never been secure. Unlike other professional fields, journalism has had difficulty shaking its vocationalist roots and emerging into an autonomous, knowledge-producing, self-sustaining academic discipline. In line with Gieryn and Abbott, much of this challenge can be attributed to boundary struggles between groups that co-constitute epistemological jurisdiction over journalism curriculum. As the author found in the course of conducting a broader situational analsyis on contemporary journalism education in Ontario, this boundary struggle leaves an empirical ‘track’ in academic calendars, where institutional objects such as course codes, titles, majors and minors emerge or disappear over time. For this paper, detail from two sites reveals a remarkable fluidity over time, contrasting the subjective position of the student ruled by the ‘fixed’ institutional requirements to graduate that the calendar represents.


Annalisa Salonius, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Transformation through Competition: Biomedical Researchers and Dependence on Research Funding


The debate in science and technology studies about how the academic life sciences have been changing since 1980 in both Canada and the U.S. has focused primarily on the influence of the increasing commercialization of academic research and enhanced university-industry ties. There has, however, been an assumption that the structure of academic labs themselves has remained essentially the same. This study examines an episode that challenges this assumption: the emergence of larger academic lab groups in the biomedical sciences. The paper explores how, in the case of Canada, changes in federal funding arrangements during the 1980s led professors to adopt new practices, transforming their work and the conduct of research in this field. Based on evidence from work history interviews with older and retired professors done during a larger ethnographic study of work in academic labs, the main argument is that dependence of independent researchers in this field on federal grants and a key shift in the nature of competition for those grants in the 1980s led to a transformation of the social organization of work in this field, including giving rise to larger hierarchically-organized labs. Understanding these changes and the new practices they brought about will be important for understanding the role of the contemporary independent researcher in this field.


Ana Lea Samin, Assumption College, Philippines

Communication and Social Order: A Mother’s Critical Autoethnography of Life with a Child with Downs Syndrome


This study brings the concept of power and authority in the center of my communicative performance as a mother to a child with Down Syndrome (DS).  Through a critical autoethnography, I delved into my experience as a mother raising a child with DS as we interact with the family, the medical institution and the educational institution. My narrative, reconstructed from a recollection of past experiences and aided by well-kept documents and records, was used to uncover knowledge about the social order and how this is surfaced in communication. In making sense of my experience through my narrative, the marginalization of my child with DS emerged. The communication that the medical and educational institutions used relegated my child to the margins -  in the words that were spoken, in documents, and in practice. The social order was to keep the child with DS in her place in the margins of society.  My inquiry revealed that this marginalization shaped my communicative performance as a mother into three constructs: family at the core of the social order, reclaiming power from the medical institution and negotiating with the power of the educational institution.


Josephine Savarese, St. Thomas University, Canada

Towards a Methodology of Everyday: Reading the Jeff Davis 8 Through The Louisiana Proud of Home Cooking


Between 2005 and 2009, eight women from Jennings, Louisiana, in Jefferson Davis Parish, were murdered. The bodies were located in crawfish ponds and canals. In his 2016 book, Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8?, journalist Ethan Brown reports on the homicides and the surrounding circumstances. According to Brown, it is suspected that local law enforcement played a role in the deaths.

I set details about the Jeff Davis 8 alongside a prominent cookbook from the 1990’s, The Louisiana Proud Collection of Home Cooking.   A visual qualitative research methodology is used to investigate how the drawings of Louisiana towns in the cookbook depict the state as largely rural and congenial in contrast with the depiction that materializes in the reports of the murders of the Jeff Davis 8.


Charlene Shannon, University of New Brunswick, Canada

“Comments please”: The role Facebook and Instagram comments play in displayed family leisure experiences


Leisure research lacks understanding of the interaction between technology and family leisure experiences (Trussell, 2016) and the display of family leisure (Harrington, 2015). Social Networking Sites (SNS) offer a modern tool for sharing photos and narratives of experiences and receiving feedback on what is communicated. Guided by phenomenology, this study explored lived experiences with family leisure and the documentation and sharing of those lived experiences. The study involved 16 participants (12 identified as female, 3 as male, 1 as gender fluid) ranging in age from 28 to 51 who posted family leisure experiences on Facebook or Instagram. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a photo elicitation technique (Harper, 2002, Van House, 2006). Participants’ described friends’ comments on their family leisure posts extending the reflection phase of their leisure experience, reinforcing family leisure choices, enhancing perceptions of the experience, and supporting the creation of an altered narrative for negative family leisure experiences.


Pat Sikes, University of Sheffield, UK

Challenging Master Narratives in Dementia Research


In the UK where the emphasis is on living well with dementia, it can be difficult for researchers to report negative accounts from those touched by dementia. Failing to accurately re-present what people say does a disservice to the research endeavour and can prevent policy and service development. This presentation considers stories told by 24, 6 – 30 year olds in an Alzheimer’s Society (UK) project taking a narrative auto/biographical approach to investigate the perceptions and experiences of young people who have a parent with young onset dementia. Sometimes their stories challenged dominant master narratives around dementia and family relationships. When these stories were reported in the media there was some vociferous criticism. Having asked the young people to share how life was for them, the researchers felt ethically bound to respect and disseminate their accounts. Researching and re-presenting ‘taboo’ topics and views raises difficult issues that will be explored here.


Michelle Silver, University of Toronto, Canada

Embodiment, loss and retirement (from sport)


For this paper, I draw from theoretical work on embodiment to examine corporeal decline and adaptation to retirement among athletes. Using quotations from interviews I conducted with masters and retired elite athletes, coaches, and people who have spent decades working in the world of sports, I illustrate how the loss of athletic identity has important implications for aging societies. In our excitement to celebrate winning in sports, we often ignore the lessons that can be associated with loss and adaptation to new physical states. In this paper, I draw analogies better the ways society all but abandons the athlete whose body no longer performs at peak ability and the aging individual who must adapt to imposed changing identities.


Derek Simon, St. Thomas University, Canada

Borderlands and Border-Crossings: A Treaty Perspective on Critical Indigenous Studies


Many people involved in critical indigenous studies are only too keenly aware of the multiple contradictory roles and positionalities of academic disciplines and actors related to producing indigenous knowledges.  These contradictory roles affect the who, how, what and timing of producing knowledges related to indigenous communities, histories and issues.

In the minds of many people contending with how research methodology and identity politics intersect with indigenous studies, there is binary opposition between insider research and outsider research. This oppositional binary of competing knowledge networks is experienced by many as ideological and impassable, an irrefutable paradigm.

The role of this paper is to explore the idea of borderlands and border-crossings as an alternative to the insider/outsider dilemma, to probe whether there isn’t an alternative means to navigate the differences and dilemmas for both insiders and outsiders to move forward with a decolonizing approach to producing critical indigenous studies.


Deana Simonetto, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Damaging Minds: Redefining Past Head Hits


Concussions have emerged as a significant social problem in sports over the past decade. Many former players and their families have been struggling to make sense out of the sudden increase of information that has emerged on head injuries. The growing number of athletes’ diagnosed postmortem with C.T.E has sparked a rise in head trauma research across multiple disciplines ranging from various issues concerning concussion in sport. Drawing on in-depth interviews with former players, coaches, and spouses from the Canadian Football League (CFL), this paper examines the changing definitions and understandings of head injuries for football players and their families as they struggle with emerging new information. Many former players are experiencing identifying moments (Charmaz 1991; van den Hoonaard 1997), where they reconstruct past head hits as head injuries. The analysis examines the ways former players are reconstructing past injuries and redefining their aging process to account for their concussions. I highlight how these processes are fear invoking, and many players and their families are worried about their futures.  I conclude by suggesting future areas of investigation.


Erica Speakman, McMaster University, Canada

Deadly or Chronic?: Competing Definitions of HIV


Today, many would agree that HIV has become successfully redefined as a chronic and manageable illness. Yet, there are some arenas where HIV continues to be understood as it once was – a deadly and devastating disease.  One such arena is found within the debate concerning the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure. Those who support the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure frame the disease as harmful and deadly.  On the other hand, those who argue against the criminalization of non-disclosure construct HIV as a condition that is chronic and manageable. In this paper, I use this disagreement over the appropriate response to HIV non-disclosure to show how definitions of health conditions can become mired in larger social problems debates in ways that lead to contests over how best to understand the fundamental nature of those conditions.


Michael Spivey, University of North Carolina, USA

Writing Culture with Southern U.S. Native American Communities: Symbolic Interaction and Collaborative Research


For more than 20 years the author has been involved in the formal recognition efforts of several Native American communities in South Carolina.  After many years of struggle these Native American communities received formal State Recognition in 2005 and 2006..  The paper begins with an overview of tribal experience during the Colonial era. Many historians interpreted this time period as the cause of the disappearance of  the tribes due to white encroachment.  Through the author's ethnographic efforts, in collaboration with tribal members, stories of resistance emerge that rewrites their cultural survival up to the present.  The paper concludes with an overview of the success that the collaborative efforts provided toward gaining state recognition.  The author addresses how a critical symbolic interactionism can contribute to public sociology by recording how struggles over meaning-making can involve the researcher in solving social issues.


Christiana Succar, University of South Florida, USA

Building Relationships with Two English Language Arts Teachers: A Narrative Inquiry


Literacy coaching is not new to education. Since the 2001 shift in U.S. educational policy towards high-quality teacher training and accountability, and student achievement, literacy, or reading coach positions have been a core part of the institution. (U. S. Department of Education, 2003). However, early in the initiative with undefined coaching roles and inadequate training there was minimal impact (Dole, 2003; International Reading Association, 2004).

In the past ten years, assisted by the publication of numerous coaching manuals and education for coaches, there has been more understanding of literacy coaches’ roles and responsibilities. For example, Toll (2014) defines literacy coaches as “partners with teachers for job-embedded professional learning that enhances teachers’ reflection on students, the curriculum and pedagogy…” (p. 10). Literacy coaches recognize an important role of coaching is collaboration and partnerships with teachers. For these relationships to happen, coaches must build connections with teachers. Thus, coaches must have knowledge of adult learning theory and strong interpersonal skills (Toll, 2014). However, there is scant empirical evidence available about the other professional identities (Rainville & Jones, 2008) and responsive/directive distinctions (Ippolito, 2010) coaches must navigate to build collaborative relationships. In this study, I plan to add to the extant literature through a narrative inquiry approach. Accordingly, I will share a personal narrative of my lived experience as a new literacy coach along with two early career English language arts (ELA) teachers as we maneuver our way together through my and their teacher practice of planning, teaching, collaboration, and building a professional learning community.


Josée Thomas, St. Thomas University, Canada

Dawne Clarke, St. Thomas University, Canada

“In the criminal justice system, [only some] sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous”: Representations of men as victims of sexual assault in Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit


Television crime dramas predominantly present women as victims and men as perpetrators of sexually based crimes, reinforcing the myth that men are not and/or cannot be victims of sexual assault. This research is guided by the question: How does popular culture shape and reinforce myths related to male sexual assault victims? To answer this question, I conducted a qualitative content analysis of five episodes of the television crime drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to explore how SVU, through images and narratives, reinforces the argument that men cannot be victims of sexual assault, and are undeserving of social and legal support.  


Jonathan Thompson, Dalhousie University, Canada

Searching for Spirits: Assessing the creation and maintenance of beliefs in a spiritualist new religious movement


Through my research, I have completed an in-depth investigation of belief creation and maintenance within a Spiritualist New Religious Movement (NRM).  Spiritualist NRMs claim to give individuals the ability to experience the spirit world through psychic abilities.  In this presentation, I will discuss my experiences as a participant observer of the group and the results of my research.

The backbone of this ethnographic work comes from a full year of participant observation.  This included weekly attendance, volunteer work, and interviews with the movement’s leaders.  During my research within this group, I strove to have a full participatory experience; such that, while undertaking their meditation and training techniques, I believe I experienced many of the phenomena the group was promoting.  Drawing upon contemporary sociological and anthropological theory, I will present a framework of analysis highlighting unique characteristics that may account for belief creation and maintenance within this particular movement.


Lisa Thomson, University of New Brunswick, Canada

‘It’s the most judgemental place that I’ve ever been’: Reconstituting Group Fitness Spaces


A career in the fitness industry is incredibly challenging given the physical demands on the body, the irregular hours of work and the instability of the marketplace. In order for group fitness instructors to maintain relevance in a competitive industry requires serious negotiating of emotional labour within the fitness studio space. Current research on group fitness has focused almost exclusively on the experiences of those who participate in group fitness classes and have neglected the unique perspective of those who produce, perform and deliver the classes.

Drawing on interviews with group fitness instructors, this presentation considers how relations of gender and sexuality are produced, performed and negotiated through an emotional labour lens within group fitness spaces. This discussion is largely situated from a symbolic interactionist perspective and includes insights into a previously under studied occupational group.


Deborah van den Hoonaard, St. Thomas University, Canada

Navigating Changed Relationships: Widows’ Relationships with their Adult Children


This paper discusses how widows talk about their relationships with their adult children and how they say those relationships have changed since the death of their husbands. It is based on a qualitative study, using a symbolic-interactionist theoretical perspective, that involved 20 in-depth interviews with women who are at least 60 years old. whose husbands died between 1 and 16 years prior to the interview, and live in urban and rural areas of a Maritime Province. Most widows report a close relationship with their children that has become even closer. Adult children tend to become protective, are very supportive, especially in the early days, and some want their mothers to move to be closer. Widows respond by being careful not to burden their children with their problems and, for the most part, prefer to remain in the location where they are living. The paper uses quotations from the interviews to illustrate the widows’ perceptions.


Jeffrey van den Scott, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Social Media and the Globalization of Inuit Music


This paper examines the careers of three Inuit musicians from Arviat, Nunavut, as they use social media spaces (Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud) to forget and connect their music with audiences across Northern Canada. In doing so, they tap into a cultural history which shows Inuit displaying interconnectedness through public media (such as CB radio and Community Radio) while showing less interest in user-to-user media such as the telephone. This trend allows for prolific sharing of music throughout Nunavut, granting independent artists new access to fans. For fans, this participatory culture allows them to build bonds directly with local music celebrities while garnering attention for them in new circles. In this way, an old feature of Inuit culture is given new life for the 21st century.


Lisa-Jo van den Scott, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

A Sociology of Walls: Learning within Walls


Walls are vastly under-theorized in sociology today.  With a few exceptions, such as the study of border walls, sociology has produced only a handful of articles on elements such as mantels, architecture, buildings, and windows.  I assert that walls are cultural objects, boundary-objects, and technological objects.  By approaching the study of walls from these three vantages, we can mobilize concepts and theories which turn something taken-for-granted into a problematized object which unveils, among other things, hidden power relations, expressions of identity, and the way walls can either maintain the landscape of our lives, or interrupt life-as-it-was.

Due to the close relationship of the land and traditional knowledge, the Inuit of Arviat, Nunavut, Canada, place a high degree of importance on going out on the land for the sake of learning.  Their everyday lives, however, are lived within houses.  These houses were imported from the South by colonizers and grouped into a hamlet.  The land and the hamlet represent “two worlds.”  In this paper, I focus on learning with the walls.  Being “walled-in” has a profound effect on the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation. For Arviammiut, the people of Arviat, the differences between learning on the land and learning within walls, within houses designed by colonizers, emphasizes the importance of learning on the land.  The built environment of the house affects the transmission of family and Inuit knowledge in two ways.  First, walls inhibit traditional ways of disciplining children. Second, walls change the transmission of skilled knowledge in gendered ways.


Latasha VanEvery, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Exploring the Media Representations of Indigenous Murder Victims in Canada


Media influences our policies and most importantly public perception on issues addressed in the news. Generally, the media representations of Indigenous people in Canada often include racism, stereotypical assumptions, power struggles, and inaccurate accounts of the event being captured. As a result, the public will perceive Indigenous people as a group to be overlooked upon and not challenge the dominating perspective. The purpose of the study discussed in this presentation is to challenge common stereotypes portrayed in the media regarding Indigenous people in Canada by analysing underlying assumptions. This presentation will outline my research objective and any preliminary findings thus far. The present study will employ a qualitative ethnographic content analysis approach in the media coverage of Tashina General and Colten Boushie using newspaper articles and televised news coverage of the cases. Critical Race Theory will be used in examining the media’s framing of Indigenous murder victims in Canada.  


Farah Virani-Murji, York University, Canada

Who am I?: The Emotional Situations and Identity Constructions of Canadian-born Ismaili Muslim Youth


In this paper, I examine the stage of adolescence and the inner work of identity formation as it takes shape for minoritized, and often marginalized, Shia Ismaili Muslim youth. Through the use of psychoanalytic theory and qualitative research methods such as focus groups and individual interviews, this study analyzes the emotional situation of adolescents, seeking to access difficult knowledge, personal feelings and memories of the youth. The world of faith, culture, and citizenship are explored through the psychoanalytic lenses of anxiety and defense. This study aims to represent the voices of second and third generation youth who are often managing instances of Islamophobia and discrimination, while also connecting and/or disconnecting with their parents’ traditions and heritage. This paper argues that the consideration of an adolescent’s internal world allows for an in-depth, layered, and complex portrait of the life experienced by the Canadian-born Ismaili Muslim adolescent.


Claudia Volpe, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Desisting from Deviance: Exploring NSSI-related Online Interactions as Part of Self-Harm Cessation Process


Non- suicidal self-injury, commonly referred to as NSSI, is defined as the damage of one’s body tissue through the practices of, but not limited to, cutting, burning, branding, bone-breaking, biting, hair pulling and head banging (Adler & Adler, 2011), without suicidal intent (Lewis & Mehrabkhani, 2016).  Self-harm literature has primarily focussed on persistence processes and NSSI-related online interaction in the maintenance of pro self-harm ideology and practice. This research will provide insight into desistance processes of self-harm and engagement in online NSSI-related sites as part of these processes. The current study will contribute to both substantive NSSI research and the broader context of literature which discusses the role of online interactions in desisting from deviance. This presentation will highlight preliminary findings, derived from semi-structured interviews with former or ceasing self-harmers, paying notable attention to the role of NSSI-online interactions in self-harm desistance processes.


Sandra Wachholz, University of Southern Maine, USA

Pedagogical Boundaries in the 1970s: A Tale of Two Cities in Higher Education


Drawing on six life history oral interviews with faculty teaching in the social sciences, this paper reports on the fluctuating borders of power they experienced within their teaching environments in the 1970s.  On the one hand, the classroom was frequently conditioned by the presence of student activists who challenged what Goffman would describe as interaction order, thereby reframing pedagogical rituals and rules in the classroom.  The boundary between teacher and taught could be quite porous, which they frequently described as exhilarating. Outside of the classroom, however, the larger university practices were replete with class, race, gender, and sexual orientation boundaries that left the faculty often feeling isolated, alone, and disempowered.   It was, as they described, the best of times and the worst of times. 


Patrick Watson, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

Video Ethnography: Some Notes from an Instant Ethnography, and Beyond


At the 2017 Qualitatives, I was invited to conduct an “Instant Ethnography” with Simone Belli and Kathleen Steeves. Simone and I had significant overlap in our research, especially the use video ethnography. We took this as a starting point and tried to produce an ethnographic film in a grocery store. The results were less than impressive, but drew to attention the significant potential, and, perhaps more importantly, shortcomings of video in ethnography. For good or bad, we are all, as ethnographers, in a situation where video is increasingly prevalent in-and-for research. I consider the use of video for scholarly inquiry, attending to specific ontological and epistemological questions about making sense of human interaction as captured “on film”. “Seeing is believing” may be a popular cultural maxim, but the Wittgensteinian distinction between seeing and seeing as is crucially important to understanding the meaning of action central to ethnographic research.


Peter Weeks, St. Thomas University, Canada

Temporality, Visualization and Interpretation: Musical Transcription and Photography


This paper examines some technologically-mediated interpretive practices involving the manipulation of temporality for the sake of analysis, taking musical transcription and photography (both still and video) as perspicuous settings.  Such practices depend essentially on recordings and images that are removed from the original spatial and temporal contexts in which they originally were performed or occurred.  The central perspective for the purposes of this presentation is ethnomethodological for the examination of members’ practices in both producing transcripts and visual images (making relevant features of an object visible and analyzable in the first place) and also the making sense of their final forms.  Since these practices involve the translation of one medium to another, this paper is also informed by media studies (such as those of Marshall McLuhan), in addition to photographic studies, and phenomenology as related to time consciousness.  A number of relevant illustrations will be employed as demonstrations. 


Ryan Wildgoose, Laurentian University, Canada
The Dark Side of Sexual Diversity: Sodomy Prosecution in Early-Eighteenth Century London

In November 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an historic apology to the LGBTQ+ community for past injustices. But an apology is only the first step. When attempting to break down the social boundaries, a common rebuttal is that the LGBTQ+ community is “overreacting.” It is important, when trying to overcome privilege, to recognise the gritty history underpinning the social regulation of non-heterosexuality. This research returns to eighteenth century London, where sodomy was a capital crime under the Buggery Act, which served as a basis for Canada’s now decriminalized sodomy laws. As a means to contextualise the present, this paper explores this dark period in LGBTQ+ history, where social boundaries were shifting and being reconstructed, and practicing homosexual acts often resulted in criminal prosecution and even death.


Kevin Willison, Lakehead University/Queen’s University, Canada

Catching the Meaning of Patient Needs and Concerns Through Inter-professional Education and Symbolic Interactionism


A key objective of interprofessional education (IPE) is to build effective collaborations amongst diverse disciplines and/or professions. In its essence, IPE strives to capture an improved understanding of the diverse orientations and meanings brought forward by varied philosophical / disciplinary perspectives. There is sufficient evidence to show that the deployment of IPE contributes to improving client/patient satisfaction by having as its primary goal to enhance patient-centred / holistic health and social care. In short, the practice of IPE provides a multi/inter-disciplinary lens to help capture the diverse needs and concerns of others. In this presentation it is argued that an IPE team member requires parallel attributes / social behavioral characteristics to that of an “ideal type” symbolic interactionist (such as: openness to other people’s ideas; and being oriented towards building/improving communication). Indeed, an improved collaboration amongst IPE and SI advocates holds potential to best capture the meanings and perceptions of others.


Kevin Willison, Lakehead University/Queen’s University, Canada

Understanding Perceptions Pertaining to Invasive Species in Ontario Using Symbolic Interactionism


In part, symbolic interactionism (SI) helps to place emphasis on people’s perceptions of population and environmental problems. To the extent that public attitudes play a key role in the persistence of these problems, it is important to know the reasons for public views on such issues so that efforts to address such may be better focused. In this talk, symbolic interactionism is discussed as a guiding framework to help garner perceptions of those living in Ontario regarding invasive species. The term “invasive” is defined here as a species (namely, “exotic” fish and plants) that are: 1) non-native to the ecosystem under consideration; and 2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic and/or environmental harm and/or harm to human health. Overall, this talk will speak of a pursued interdisciplinary 2018 SSHRC project proposal that emphasizes the use of SI as guiding framework to further the field of environmental sociology.


Angela Wisniewski, St. Thomas University, Canada

Rina Arsenault, Muriel McQueen Fergussen Centre, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Intervening and Preventing Interpersonal Violence against Women with Disabilities in the Province of New Brunswick


In this presentation we share results from an online survey and four focus groups carried out with service providers across the province who work in anti-violence and disability support sectors. Interpersonal violence, including physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse is a reality that affects many women. Women living with disabilities face increased risk of violence, including disability-related abuses including shaming, and denial of access to care or transportation (Plummer et al, 2012). Yet, police stations, courts, and shelters are inconsistently accessible and women with disabilities are rarely participants in the development of violence prevention strategies (Barranti & Yuen, 2008).  We consider how service providers from the anti-violence and disability support fields are working to assist women with disabilities as they negotiate barriers relating to housing, stigma, and lack of meaningful accessibility.


Kyle Zelmer, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Alternative Green Food Consumer Culture


In this paper, I look at alternative consumer culture in a risk society. I base my analysis on findings arising from my dissertation. Original empirical material was generated from a qualitative interview-based research strategy framed by the symbolic interactionist tradition, on the worldviews of informants, who were dedicated to environmentally green food consumption. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed for 14 theoretically sampled informants. Theoretic sampling of the literature was done and other highly relevant concepts from Low (2004) and Prothero, McDonagh and Dobscha (2010), were drawn on and adapted, based on what informants said. Overall, the worldview of this group of informants is guided by a social process per Prus (1987) and forms an alternative subculture, concerned with environmental sustainability and risk, which is at the fringe of mainstream consumer culture.