Sutures: Conference Schedule Location: Department of Sociology 2060 Vari Hall (York Campus) Room A (Common Room) Room B (Staff Room)
Friday March 28, 2003 8:30 - 9:00 Registration and Coffee 9:00 - 10:15 am Panel 1 Room A Qualitative Methods Colloquium Zahava Rosenberg (York) Chris Williams (York) Belinda Godwin (York) 10:15 - 10:30 am break 10:30 - 11:45 am Panel 2a Room A Urban Spaces/Aesthetics Saeed Hydaralli (York): The business of aesthetics: street vending in the city. Vanessa Mathews (York): Mapping the space of a symbol: expression of graffiti in the Fashion District of Toronto. Christopher Smith (York/Ryerson): PubliCity: notes towards the (discursive) construction of public space. Panel 2b Room B Dissent and Democracy Jeff Shantz (York, Sociology): DIY networks and anarchist media Nicolas Mounier, Gibran Rivera (Tufts), Saman Wickramasinghe (UofT): Thought, Practice, Experience: the concept of exploded democracy. Jason Aprile (York): Natural capitalism and the rhetoric of sustainable business practices Ryan Mitchell (Queens). The Paranoid Critical Method: Salvador Dali and Psychical De-territorialisation. 11:45 - 12:30 Lunch (catered by the graduate pub) 12:30 - 1:45pm Panel 3a Room A Health Riley Olstead (York) and James Beaton (York): Graduate student health: Making a case for a comprehensive health audit at York University. Robyn Smith (Carleton): Am I my folic acid levels?: The government of pregnancy and nutritional risks. Janine Muller (York): Hospice care: Do physicians facilitate or impede access? Miga: Women's health and socio-economic inequality. 12:30 - 1:45pm continued Panel 3b Room B Knowledge & Academia Stephen E. Bosanac (York): The potential for the demise of Sociology in the current pseudo-scientific academic environment. Joanne M. Ritcey (UofA): Reflections of a self-reflexive scholar: weaving together the personal and the professional. Erin Stepney (UofA): Historical sociology: confessions of a committed inter-disciplinarian. Ali H. Zaidi (Sociology): Re-stitching the sacred canopy: Muslim reconstructions of knowledge as critiques of modernity. 1:45 - 2:00pm Break 2:00 - 3:15pm Panel 4a Room A Urban Spaces/Reclaiming Catherine Phillips (York): (Re)Working the garden James Beaton (York) and Riley Olstead (York): Dissent and the question of violence. Leslie Kern (York): Taking possession of urban space: Connecting women's feelings of safety to sites of privilege in Toronto. Panel 4b Room B Governmentality Marcia Oliver (York): Gender and Bill C49: The production of consenting subjects Sarah Rayfield (Concordia): Constructing the genetic subject: The discursive construction of subjectivity in the debates surrounding the establishment of national DNA data bank Steven Hutchinson (Windsor): Nodes of governance: In-house private security and the management of risk. Matthew Hayes (York): Theory as metaphor and simile: a critical analysis of Foucault's concept of normalisation. 3:15 - 3:30pm Break 3:30 - 4:45 Panel 5a Room A Identity Sujatha Varghese (York): Sociological discourse in arranged marriage studies on South Asians in Canada. Lina Samuel (York): Money, matrimony and the making of identity among women in the South Asian Diaspora. Saidul Islam (York): Labelling visible minorities: reinforcing difference in the official discourse of multiculturalism. Ann Barrow (York/Ryerson): The Reflexive Body of Munny: Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. Panel 5b Room B Intersections between Discourse and Everyday Life (Open Workshop) Susan Braedley (York): Methods and embodied knowledge. Jennifer Love (York): Discourses around motherhood. Tara Franz (York): Digital methodologies. Katherine Osterlund (York):Out Standing in the Field: Reflections on Discourse and Experience Albert Banerjee (York) Powerful metaphors and metaphors of power. 4:45 - 5:00 Break Move to Senate Chambers 9th floor Ross Building for Third Annual York Sociology Lecture. Books will be available for purchase there. 5:00 - 6:30 Third Annual York Sociology Lecture Neo-Liberalism and the Coming of the Society of Advanced Insecurity Loïc Wacquant Senate Chambers 9th Floor Ross Building 7:00 Dinner at Faculty Club Saturday March 29, 2003 Location: The Culture of Cities Centre, 440 Bloor St W, 2nd Floor. Tel: 416 323 3251 11:00 - 12:30pm Panel Discussion In the Trenches: Problems and Pitfalls of Urban Ethnography Confirmed Participants: Tim Diamond, Tara Milbrandt, Loïc Wacquant, Rinaldo Walcott 12:30 - 1:00pm Lunch 1:00 - 3:45 pm Film Introduction by Loïc Wacquant Sociology is a Combat Sport; Sociologie est un sport de combat (directed by Pierre Carles). Documentary on influential sociologist Pierre Bourdieu; uses interviews, lectures, and discussions to illustrate his theories of culture. In French with English Subtitles. 140 min 7:30 and on... Closing Party for Conference Participants. (Check out the Flyer in your Conference Package) BYOB (a small amount of food and drink will be provided; but for those who plan on 'carrying on' it is recommend that you bring you favourite snack and drink).
- 10:15 am
Zahava Rosenberg, Chris Williams,
Belinda Godwin will be discussing issues and problematics around qualitative
10:15 - 10:30 am
- 11:45 am
2a Room A Spaces/Aesthetics
(York): The business of aesthetics: street vending in the city.
like many other North American cities, has had a vexing and memorable past with
street vending. And according to a recent community newspaper article, street
vending is once again a topic of debate amongst city officials.
We propose in this paper that the current anxiety surrounding street vending, in distinction to much of the work around that topic (see for example: Morales, 2000; Cross, 1992; and Gaber, 1994), is not just simply a reflection of economic and political interests attempting to subvert the competitive threat that street vending poses to store front businesses. We might say that the culture of Toronto, as seen in the training that the lemonade stand represents for example, relentlessly invites entrepreneurialism from its members but is reluctant to accommodate the messiness and indeterminacy that its real world appearance can bring. In other words, the city is not prepared to deal with the consequences of that which it provokes. We suggest then that this conflict has much to do with the tension that is catalyzed as the city struggles with its desire to be both an unmitigated entrepreneurial zone and its, perhaps restricted, version of the beautiful, livable city (i.e., Toronto the Good: clean and orderly).
(York): Mapping the space of a symbol: expression of graffiti in the Fashion
District of Toronto.
Abstract: In the
Fashion District of Toronto, the landscape has become an outdoor canvas where
walls and fences have been transformed into pieces of art.
These displays of images, symbols, and words have created a voice of
representation. The paper will
explore and compare the notion of urban graffiti as both an art form and a form
of criminal activity. The language
of graffiti is an issue that is at the forefront of city and street life and
this medium is an issue of space, place, and power.
The space of a city is both public and private.
Graffiti has created a new sense of space in this area of Toronto, that I
label ‘expressive space’, representing its transgressive and inclusionary
The discussion uses
material from geographical inquiry. The
focus is based on place and space as two concepts that exist in the built
environment (physical) and further represent the aesthetic, social, economic,
and political climate of the street. The
structure, meaning, and interpretation of space advises what is natural in each
space within a city. Most landscapes are dillusionary in that the dominant voice is
naturalized. This naturalization
makes it difficult for other voices to be heard.
Graffiti can be seen as an attempt to participate in city life.
Although this voice is not part of the dominant image of space, place, or
aesthetics, the visibility of this voice presents a contested view of our lived
(York/Ryerson): PubliCity: notes towards the (discursive) construction of public
Abstract: What is the role and importance of discourse in contemporary constructions and conceptions of urban public space? How does (public, private and State) discourse serve to address, interpolate and (in)form the identity of the postmodern ‘public subject’? How does the dialectic relationship between (spatial) discourse and (material) built form illuminate both the politics and poetics of urban (public) space?
Hailed as Toronto’s answer to New York’s Times Square, Dundas Square is Toronto’s most ambitious public space initiative to date. Using Dundas Square as the site of my critical examination, this paper seeks to interrogate the role, function and importance of discourse in the postmodern construction and conception- (formation and understanding)- of urban public space.
In the first section of the paper I explore the notion of ‘spatial discourse’, proposing that the mobilization of specific (public, spatial) discourses, or ‘discursive fields’, has become a fundamental tool employed in the service of actualizing a transformative, private- or State- imposed, vision of urban public space.
In the second section I closely analyze several bodies or ‘fields’ of spatial discourse in order to demonstrate how these discourses have been mobilized in the service of actualizing (or trans/superim-posing) a specific vision of urban transformation. In the final section, I turn to address the specific characteristics of the ‘public’ being interpolated by various forms of spatial discourse, determining how notions of ‘public’ subjectivity and identity are (in)formed or denied, affirmed or dismissed, legitimized or actively discriminated against by spatial discourses of the State and private sector.
(York, Sociology): DIY networks and anarchist media.
Abstract: Mainstream media reports of
political demonstrations since Seattle in 1999 have portrayed anarchists as
anti-modern Luddites out to stop the flow of progress and human development.
Sensationalistic news media depictions of "anarchist violence" serve
to marginalize anarchists, while neglecting the richly constructive aspects of
actual anarchist practice. An examination of some of these constructive
anarchist projects provides insights into real world attempts to develop
non-hierarchical, peaceful and creative social relations in the here and now of
everyday life. Recognizing that corporate media are not likely to give up their
control over information flows, anarchists have relied on do-it-yourself (DIY)
principles which emphasize co-operation and self-management in order to share
information, strategize and build alliances across borders. This paper provides
insights into anarchist ideas and practices as illustrated by a discussion of
anarchist media projects that have played major parts in building global
networks to counter capitalist globalism.
Gibran Rivera (Tufts), Saman Wickramasinghe (UofT): Thought,
Practice, Experience: the concept of exploded democracy. (email contact:
Abstract: We propose that lives should, collectively and individually, be works of art. What we mean by this is that lives can in themselves be a perpetual stylization of thoughts, experiences and practices. Here the question of being is treated as inherently antagonistic and therefore political. From this platform the notion of radical democracy as it is currently articulated must further be tweaked in order for it to capture and serve this agenda. We suggest an ‘exploded’ concept of democracy and the political can more fully be understood, pursued and experienced with tools produced and provided by a practico-theoretical framework grounded in social and political theory. The following is a reflective paper taking as its material of inquiry the authors’ current political activities and experiences in a grass-roots democratization movement in Boston and in a progressive health promotion organization based in Sri Lanka. This reflection is informed by certain aspects of Pierre Bourdieu’s social theory and the radical democratic experimentalism of Chantal Mouffe and Roberto Unger. The authors point to a new direction for democracy
(York): Natural capitalism and the rhetoric of sustainable business practices.
Abstract: This paper represents an analysis of the rhetoric informing the calls for a transformation of the current practices underlying capitalism in late modernity. The desire to expand markets and realize infinite growth has been criticized as a major source of environmental degradation and has caused many to imagine how a new socio-economic system would deal with these concerns. Some of the most persuasive arguments have proposed a shift to new, more ecologically benign methods of achieving the old goals by using new technologies as a way to improve efficiency. We explore the viability of this position through an examination of the manifest and latent reasons and consequences that inform and underlie the adoption of this strategy.
(Queens). The Paranoid Critical Method: Salvador Dali and Psychical De-territorialisation.
Abstract: Advertising, popular political discourse and various social institutions have been very adept in creating myths and fantasies that have made us dependent upon them for both our desire and identity. Fantasy can be figured as the ‘grip’ or ‘hold’ that retains us as ordered subjects within any ideological system.
The purpose behind my work here is to address the need to develop tactics and strategies that will help us detach from the fantasy and myth system that support the ideological base of the state and market. I will be developing a Lacanian model of fantasy strongly influenced by Slavoj Žižek’s ideology critique as found in such works as The Sublime Object of Ideology (1989) and The Plague of Fantasies (1997), as well as employing the methods of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in such works as Anti-Oedipus (1983) and A Thousand Plateaus (1987).
I would also like to
make the argument that the tactics of the earlier so-called avant-garde
art/literature movements, such as Dadaism and Surrealism, have provided methods
of a type of proto-schizoanalysis that should be recuperated and deployed today.
I would like to argue that the surrealist deployment of the uncanny and shock,
and the tactic of detournement, are
all pragmatic vehicles to engage in the act of social and psychical
deterritorialization (in its most hopeful form at least); or, at the very least,
it can be the basis for simple and purposefully senseless disruptive acts
of poetic terrorism.
- 12:30 Lunch (catered by the graduate pub)
(York) and James Beaton (York): Graduate student health: Making a case for a
comprehensive health audit at York University.
Abstract: This research attempts to make links between education, power and everyday life by pointing to the links between academic life and graduate student health at York University. There are few available systematic indicators of student health and therefore it is difficult to assess the health outcomes of particular working and learning environments. My presentation will, however, begin to look at some of the available data on health arising out of information gathered from graduate students and from insurance companies involved in administering health plans on the York University campus. Preliminary examination of these data suggests that there are indications that students at York University may be adversely affected by aspects of their careers as students and workers. Most alarming are recent reports that show frequency of drug claims made by graduate students, particularly those that are principally prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and affective ‘disorders’. The lack of information we currently have regarding student health and safety, along with indications that student health is compromised in the academic environment warrants a call for further investigation into the conditions of learning and teaching at York University. In order to better understand the health climate at York University, this research is an invitation to unions, administration, student associations and/or activist groups to promote the conduct of a comprehensive health audit to address ongoing and hidden health concerns related to the university environment.
(Carleton): Am I my folic acid levels?: The government of pregnancy and
Abstract: My paper
considers the government of pregnancy nutrition as administered through
techniques of risk. Specifically I am interested in the organization, through
the government of pregnancy nutritional risk, of women’s relations to
themselves during pregnancy. In
literature put out by Health Canada, pregnancy nutritional risks are described
in terms of women’s bio-chemical or micro-nutrient
constituents. However, solutions to these problems are framed in terms of
interventions into individual women’s subjective
and social relations to food.
I argue that this is possible because, in the government of pregnancy
nutritional risks, populations are delimited and established in terms of
women’s relationships to themselves and food.
In this discourse, it is because of how women think about nutrition that
they are nutritionally at risk.
The delimitation of
any population is based on a characteristically sovereign knowledge of how best
things ought to be ordered for effective government. Therefore, in Health Canada
literature, pregnant women are delimited into risk groups based upon the
governmental efficacy of the relationships they conduct with themselves and
food. Social and material interventions, which effect efficacious order in
women’s subjective and social relations to food, are consequent. I analyze
Health Canada documents and consider what we all are losing and gaining when
populations of pregnant women are delimited in these ways.
(York): Hospice care: Do physicians facilitate or impede access?
Abstract: The timing of the initial hospice contact is of crucial importance to terminally ill patients and their families. Early hospice involvement can often mitigate some of the physical and psychological suffering of the patient, and lessen the emotional trauma to the family.
This paper critically reviews research relating to barriers to hospice access faced by dying patients. The main findings relate to the role of physicians in the hospice decision-making process, to how family dynamics impact early hospice contact, and to some of the special barriers leading to the under-use of the hospice system by visible and disadvantaged minority groups.
This presentation will focus specifically on the role of physicians as the single most significant factor affecting hospice access, and the disjuncture between their role as gatekeepers, on the one hand, and their difficulties with hospice referral, on the other. Several variables will be discussed including the physician’s knowledge of hospice care, their reluctance to refer their patients to a hospice, and the obstacles of estimating patient survival time.
Women’s health and socio-economic inequality.
Abstract: This study explores the relationships between women's health and socio-economic inequality in former socialist countries in Eastern Europe (data collected from Russia, Romania, Poland and Hungary) and Mongolia during the transition period. The transition, which initiated the shift from a planned economy into a market economy in 1989, involved sweeping economic, social and institutional changes in the political system of most communist countries. The process of transition from a socialist economy to a capitalist one has brought about many negative social consequences for women. Social welfare services provided by the state have decreased drastically while women’s domestic duties and care work have increased dramatically. The changes have affected women’s health and inequality more than that of men.
Stephen E. Bosanac
(York): The potential for the demise of Sociology in the current
pseudo-scientific academic environment.
Abstract: What is the
tenor of sociological praxis today? How does this affect our ability to
communicate sociological knowledge with those outside the field? This work will
consider these issues with an emphasis on academia, education and the
ideological climate that shape sociological works. Two elements will be
interwoven into the examination of these questions: 1) an analysis of the abuse,
overuse and reproduction of sociology’s jargon, and 2) a consideration of
‘pop-sociology’. Pop-sociology is defined as a practical, concise, hands-on
sociological praxis that features a strong emphasis on affecting public policy
and opinion. Does pop-sociology have the potential to redress the problematic
effects of the professionalization and hegemonic ideological underpinnings of
sociology students are being deprived on some levels of an appropriate education
and the tools necessary to the development of an accessible body of sociological
work. We are learning qualitative methodologies to varying extents at most
universities, but we are not learning how to make our knowledge accessible. A
substantial portion of the education, and the education dollar of the sociology
student, is directed toward ingraining an obscure and inaccessible linguistic
and conceptual tradition and a methodological approach that is not always
effective. Can this be overcome?
Joanne M. Ritcey
(UofA): Reflections of a self-reflexive scholar: weaving together the personal
and the professional.
Abstract: Feminists have long asserted that the “personal is political”. Similarly, sociologists such as C.W. Mills have argued that “personal troubles” (or biography) and “public issues” (or history/social structure), the distinctions and the linkages between the two, fuel the scholar’s “sociological imagination”. Personal experiences can provide background, interest, and special insights into social issues. And vice-versa: One special thing about being a sociologist is that your knowledge of social life moves into and informs your personal life, your perceptions and your decisions. Personal experiences that fuse with professional knowledge create a self reflexive scholar with a heightened ability to identify with the very social issues she studies.
My dissertation is on single motherhood, a topic selected in part because of my intimate experience within this particular family formation. Studying single motherhood has significantly informed the way that I raise my child. The two - my project and my family - comprise a sort of dialectic relationship. While this can lead to personal bias in the research process, if one’s own positioning is made constantly clear, practicing personal praxis can lead to more fruitful and thoughtful scholarship.
(UofA): Historical sociology: confessions of a committed inter-disciplinarian.
and history are the great metadisciplines of academia; the divide between them
is one of methodology, language, and intellectual posture, but it is not and
ultimately never has been a division of content. The writing of history is an
act inextricably bound up in the politics and social dynamics inscribed by
sociology, and the formulation of sociological theory is entrenched within the
unfoldings of epistemologies which possess histories of their own. Both the
sociologist and the historian seek the same end: to elucidate the vagaries of
the human subject, in society, in space, and in time.
However, not all
histories are created equal. One of the last fields of historical research to be
touched by sociological theory is that of ancient history. Classical history, my
own specialization, is uniquely problematic: intellectually it is a discipline
deeply burdened with its own heavily politicized historical tradition, and
unlike the many social histories of more recent time periods, the classical era
is both not claimed by any one living people, and yet has continued to exert
effects upon the intellectual and cultural formations of the entire Western
will feature a discussion of the particular suture that is struggling to close
between sociology and ancient history, briefly illustrated by my own doctoral
work in the Roman amphitheatre and the sociological history of violence and its
Ali H. Zaidi
(Sociology): Re-stitching the sacred canopy: Muslim reconstructions of knowledge
as critiques of modernity.
Abstract: This paper introduces the debate on the reconstruction of knowledge among a new current of critical Muslim intellectuals, who call for the development of Islamic sciences and social sciences, known most popularly as the Islamization of knowledge. The debate on the reconstruction of knowledge alerts us to the cognitive, i.e. intellectual, transformations experienced in modernity; cognitive transformations that both underpin and reinforce ‘Western’ economic and political dominance. I examine the Sufi-inspired traditionalist project of S. H. Nasr and the salafi-rationalist project of I. al-Faruqi; their works represent different tendencies and influences within the critical Muslim intellectual current. I argue that these projects should not be read largely as discursive struggles within the Islamic intellectual scene. Rather, they ought to be read as Islamic critiques of modernity, and as attempts to engage in a dialogue with critiques immanent to modernity. Notwithstanding considerable differences, these projects (among others) amount to a critique of a modern weltanschauung that severs the link between science and religion, between the natural and human sciences, between fact and value, between the subject and object. These reconstructions of knowledge amount to a critique of modernity’s penchant for fragmentation and isolation after its shredding of a sacred canopy of meaning. Suturing is an apt metaphor to describe these attempts at reconstruction, for above all they seek to respond to the challenges of modernity by re-stitching the sacred canopy of meaning based on the Islamic notion of tawheed, unity and integration.
1:45 - 2:00pm
(York): (Re)Working the garden
Abstract: Building on the work of de Certeau, this presentation is a movement through the times and spaces of the urban everyday food garden. Urban gardening (whether communal or individual) constitutes a tactical act that undermines dominant political, economic and scientific rationalities of food practices. The urban food garden may be seen as the ultimate in bricolage, filled with living and non-living art (re)created through practices of reuse and recombination of myriad materials. The urban food garden survives in the marginal spaces, places and times of the city. Creating and tending an urban food garden is a choice for difference in tastes, both literally (food) and metaphorically (aesthetic). Gardening is never just tending plants, rather it results from and constitutes memories, (re)forming the past within the present.
(York) and Riley Olstead (York): Dissent and the question of violence.
Abstract: There has been considerable
debate among activists, academics and the public about the acceptability of
"violence" in social protest. In particular, different narratives of
violence have been utilized to legitimate particular types of protest actions
and de-legitimate other types of actions. Through a multi-media format, this
presentation explores the question of "violence" as it relates to
social movements and political dissent. Video documentation of anti-poverty
protests in Toronto will be shown. Points of interrogation will include:
investigating the terrain on which "violence" is defined, exploring
how certain actions (e.g. property damage) are included in definitions of
violence while others (e.g. poverty) are excluded, and examining the assumptions
of arguments relating to gender differences and violence in protest activity.
(York): Taking possession of urban space: Connecting women’s feelings of
safety to sites of privilege in Toronto.
Abstract: This paper examines the
connections between women’s ability to take possession of urban space, and
sites of individual and systemic privilege. Based on a research project
involving young women who grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, I present interview
data that articulates women’s spatialized feelings of safety in the city. I
draw out links between feelings of safety, taking possession of urban space
through choosing to live in Toronto, and the privileges that make this act
possible. In particular, I look at factors such as familiarity, distancing,
invisibility, confidence, diversity, and whiteness in relation to race and class
privilege. I argue that particular identities, in particular urban spaces,
facilitate women’s ability to claim a safe home space in the city.
Furthermore, I contrast safety in certain spaces with the notion of “bad
areas,” a concept used by participants to define boundaries for claiming space
and feeling safe. I contend that the cultural capital and geographic mobility of
whiteness and middle-classness work to promote feelings of safety in Toronto for
a particular group of women. Moreover, the ability to take possession of urban
space functions in a reciprocal manner to reinforce certain privileged
identities. In claiming urban space
women both resist and comply with gendered, classed, and racialized modes of
(York): Gender and Bill C49: The production of consenting subjects.
Abstract: With the onset of second wave feminism in the 1970s, there has been increasing attention to the prevalence of sexual assault against women and children in various contexts. Feminist efforts to problematize sexual assault as a unique offence of gender inequality have influenced various criminal law reforms in Canada. This paper will examine the implications of Bill C-49, or what is commonly referred to as the ‘No means No Law’, on judicial determinations of consent in sexual assault cases. This new legislation was enacted in the Canadian Criminal Code in 1992 and, for the first time in Canadian legal history, provided a definition of ‘consent’ as it applies to sexual assault offences. This paper explores sexual assault in terms of how it is produced, induced, and formed by the power/knowledge regimes circulating with notions of consent. Specifically, I examine how subjects are constituted within legal proceedings dealing with sexual assault and how notions of consent are representative of one's citizenship in society. I argue that consent not only governs sexual relations between individuals but also contributes to the subjectification of a liberal subject with individual human rights.
(Concordia): Constructing the genetic subject: The discursive construction of
subjectivity in the debates surrounding the establishment of national DNA data
Abstract: This paper suggests that notions of risk play an increasingly powerful role in shaping contemporary social control practices. Evidence of this can be found in the increased preoccupation with crime and safety, which has manifested itself in the demands for a national DNA data bank. Through a careful analysis of the public discourse surrounding the creation of the National DNA Data Bank (from the period of 1995 to 1998), this research attempts to link the way in which subjectivity is constructed in this discourse to risk as a governmental strategy characteristic of late-modernity. Drawing on the work of governmentality theorists, such as Nikolas Rose and Robert Castel, I argue that risk's power as a governmental strategy, stems from its ability to produce subject positions that correspond with dominant neo-liberal forms of subjectivity, such as the responsible subject. Since access to legitimate social spheres is dependent on one's coded status, the DNA data banking system is a means through which the governmental logic of risk influences the practices of social control.
(Windsor): Nodes of governance: In-house private security and the management of
Abstract: While by no means is private security new, such forms of ‘policing’ now outnumber their public counterparts. In Ontario the ratio of private to public police is four to one and the numbers decline only slightly across Canada, excluding Quebec (Juristat 2002). The two main types of private security personnel are private investigators and security guards, both of which proliferate in the areas of loss prevention, loss control, and protective services. External contractual agencies represent the target of most contemporary scholastic inquiry, and as such, the study of in-house security departments and personnel has subsequently been marginalized. This is a result of the massive rise in national and international contract security providers, and the increased importance of security in the private capital enterprise for preventing loss and managing risk. Rather than follow this trend, the focus of this paper is on what Kennedy (1995) has termed ‘proprietary security’: those ‘officers’ who are directly responsible to their employers for the protection and surveillance of private property and persons. Based on personal communications, secondary document analysis and extensive participant observation, this piece examines how private in-house security personnel govern through risk. Maintained discretion in combination with personal decision-making and resistance create hybrid risk managers and modified programmes of governance that extend beyond the public sphere and the limits of the state. Specifically, my contention is that in-house security officers become nodes of governance in and of themselves, employing specific techniques of governance that result from mediation between corporate imperatives, personal subscriptions, and contextual factors.
(York): Theory as metaphor and simile: a critical analysis of Foucault’s
concept of normalisation.
Abstract: This essay will attempt to explore the possibility of moving beyond project oriented ideas of human emancipation by examining one of the central theoretical concepts in the work of Michel Foucault. For Foucault, our lives
are played out within a ‘carceral network’ in which a mechanism of ‘normalisation’ operates as the central form of oppression. In this
context, critical theory needs to be reorganised. It needs to develop new tools, and focus on new areas, which traditional critical social theory may have overlooked. The paper will argue that Foucault’s normalisation offers a new way of thinking about modern forms of domination. At the same time, it will attempt to trouble Foucault’s perspective. Foucault’s metaphor of
normalisation will be troubled as a way of getting at his theoretical contraption, and his unwillingness to espouse liberatory political programmes. What room does the metaphor provide for considering positive projects? Generally, what form of politics is appropriate in the context of the norm?
3:15 - 3:30pm
(York): Sociological discourse in arranged marriage studies on South Asians in
Abstract: A decisive force in shaping sociological scholarship on arranged marriage in South Asian communities in Canada has been Multiculturalism and the concurrent rise in South Asian immigration to Canada. In assessing how the rubric of ‘belonging’ has informed arranged marriage studies, I investigate several analytical assumptions that emerge from the literature. First, there is a suggestion that arranged marriage is a homogeneous cultural practice representative of ‘South Asian’ identity. Further, there is an explicit tendency to conceptualize arranged marriage as a ‘tradition’. Related to this latter notion is that arranged marriages are juxtaposed against the discourse of modernity, with ‘love’ or ‘free-choice’ marriages emblematic of modernity. This paper contends that through establishing a binary opposition between love-arranged, modern-traditional, and even Canadian-South Asian, sociologists have served to homogenize both sides and structure the relation by patterns of difference and presumptions of precedence.
The specific aims of the paper are two fold. First, the paper investigates analytical assumptions that inform sociological scholarship on South Asian arranged marriages in Canada. Secondly, I explore the analytical consequences of the representation of arranged marriages for South Asians. Through exploring discourses of arranged marriage in sociological literature, we can ascertain how arranged marriage is represented and in turn represents South Asians in Canada as silenced, oppressed, backward, ‘Orientalised’ others. In examining the above assumptions, I hope to transcend homogeneous notions of arranged marriage and subsequent renderings of South Asian peoples in fixed stereotypical images.
(York): Money, matrimony and the making of identity among women in the South
Abstract: The paper provides an examination of cultural retention and transmission among women in the South Asian diaspora, with a specific look at marriage practices and its impact on identity formation. The study explores the ways in which identity is negotiated among South Asian women within the diasporic context. The experiences of South Asian women reflect and are reflected in their active participation in the construction and reconstruction of their identity. As Canadian and American citizens their cultural locations are continually being challenged by the larger economic, political and social forces. Thus the contradictions which exist in their everyday lives, highlighted through the retention of such practices as arranged marriage and dowry, reflect the ambivalence in and problematic of identity formation. The paper will address a number of key questions. First, how is identity negotiated among the South Asian women in the Diaspora? Second, how does the practice of arranged marriage and dowry relate of identity formation? How do these practices reflect the ambivalence in identity formation? Following this, why do they maintain these practices? The focus will be on 14 interviews conducted in the spring of 1995 and 2001. What the study illustrates is that identity issues are clearly cultural ones which relate to practices of arranged marriage and dowry. The study reveals that there is a relationship between the experience of migrating to North America and shifts in attitudes toward marriage practices. The ambivalence of identity construction among the respondents stems not only from their migration experience, but as well their attempts at adapting to new host cultures while maintaining lifelong beliefs and values.
(York): Labelling visible minorities: reinforcing difference in the official
discourse of multiculturalism.
Abstract: The paper examines how and with what consequences people become labelled as “visible minorities” within the context of public policy practices. The cultural politics of identity or difference, whether old or new, arise primarily from the workings of power- in society and on space in both their material and imagined forms. Hegemonic power does not simply manipulate naively given differences between individuals and social groups, it actively produces and reproduces difference as a key strategy to create and maintain modes of social and special division that are advantageous to its continued empowerment. Labelling is one of the strategies for the dominating group to perpetuate its domination over the dominated. The non-while people, upon immigrating to Canada, get new names like, ‘immigrants’, ‘visible minorities’, ‘new Canadians’, ‘ethnic’ etc. which are equated with a connotation of ‘difference’. The difference is constructed in terms of distance from the ‘civilizing’ European white people. In the discourse of power, this difference here is branded with inferiority and negativity. Multiculturalism is therefore in a question mark. The study is concerned with labels as a conceptual metaphor. Then, using empirical data from research literature, the specific tasks are to explore how and with what consequences people become labelled as ‘visible minorities’- how an identity is formed, transformed and manipulated within the context of the official discourse of multiculturalism.
(York/Ryerson): The Reflexive Body of Munny: Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven.
Abstract: Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, which earned “nine Academy Award nominations,” opens with an upward long shot of a man, or a cyborg, pounding, cutting, the earth. Donna Haraway (1985) defines a cyborg as “a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction”. William Munny, a fictive character, embodies Haraway’s notion of a cyborg as he utilizes an instrument: to work the earth when burying his wife; when laboring as a pig farmer; and later, the gun, a machine of violence, to rid the earth of certain undesirable persons. Eastwood offers his anti-hero, a means of escape from the powerlessness experienced in his retirement from outlawing by providing both the opportunity and the justification to re-enter the world of violence through “acts of terrorism.” This paper offers an examination of how Munny’s body reflexively confirms and denies postmodern concerns with essentialist and social constructionist theories of identity formation, especially in terms of Munny’s ability to shape, determine, and resist either his biological destiny, or society’s sanction for his life.
5b Room B Intersections between Discourse and Everyday Life (Open
has taken up the concept of discourse (as well as ideology and narrative) to
name stable and oppressive social formations, such as discourses of aging,
gender, race, medicine, and progress. Such analyses have offered compelling ways
of thinking about the operations of power in the constitution of reality and the
shaping of human action. However, research that takes discourse as its starting
point frequently neglects, under-theorizes or assumes a straightforward
relationship between discourse and everyday experience or material reality. This
is problematic not least because it is often the very incongruity between
everyday experience and dominant discourse that serves as grounds for critique.
It would seem that this problem could be side-stepped by beginning one’s
research from the everyday. However, research that takes the everyday as its
starting point is confronted with similar problems, tending to neglect the power
and penetration of discursive formations (expressing one’s experience in terms
of dominant discourse for instance), and/or articulating the everyday with the
discursive. Additionally, when researchers are confronted with research
participant’s ‘experiences’ that participants themselves have yet to
express linguistically, these issues are exacerbated. In these cases, does the
research process itself create the language and thus the experience? Is this
problematic or a potentially beneficial dimension to research? How and where to
This workshop is
intended to provide a space where scholars interested in working between
discourse and the everyday in the hopes of social change may discuss their
dilemmas. Some questions for consideration are:
What are the benefits and limitations of discourse versus everyday
experience as starting points?
What research methods will provide an opportunity to understand the ways
in which individuals interact with dominant discourse, including: resisting,
transforming, ignoring or following it?
Might a more thorough theorizing of the discourse/experience relationship
enable social change? Are there potential dangers as well?
Are these dilemmas methodological and theoretical or are they also
formal, that is, having to do with the way academic scholarship is presented?
This workshop will be
hosted by a panel of three who will begin the discussion with a brief
presentation of their own particular dilemma(s). The floor will then be opened
for discussion and debate.
(York): Methods and embodied knowledge.
Abstract: This presentation will briefly explore the notion of embodied knowledge using perspectives borrowed from linguistics and discourse analysis. Everyday life is located in the life of the body, in all kinds of obvious ways, but also in cyberspace via taps on computer keyboards and in embodied experiences of speech, gesture, body memory and body language. Although it seems obvious that discourses penetrate embodiment, how do research processes translate/mediate/interpret the language of the body? How do researchers acknowledge their own embodiment in research processes? How can researchers be reflexive about the experiential, embodied aspects of research in their dissemination? A series of questions relating to these aspects of research methods will be proposed for discussion.
(York): Discourses around motherhood.
Abstract: My research attempts to bridge the gap between discursive constructions of “mother” and women’s everyday lived experiences. My inquiry is located in the context of the Canadian Domestic Scheme and its successor, the Live-in Caregiver Program. I am specifically interested in examining experiences of Caribbean women who immigrated through the programs and their subsequent experiences of motherwork in Canada, in both paid and unpaid labour. Drawing on institutional ethnography, I want to explore the connections between domestic worker’s narratives and the broader institutionalized context, including the lived experiences of employers of domestics (i.e. Canadian women who are overwhelmingly white and upper/middle class). Racialized, gendered, and classed discourses of citizen/non-citizen and mother are central to this project.
For the purposes of the panel, I would like to explore possibilities for critically examining motherhood discourses through women’s everyday lives. My research is complicated by power relations, experiences of marginality, and the cross-cultural context. In addition, among my most pressing methodological and theoretical issues include addressing and analyzing intersectionality (specifically with regard to race, gender, and class) as well as the omnipresent problem and critique: how, as a white middleclass woman, can I understand Caribbean women in such a way so as to reflect their actual experiences and challenge(overcome?) power differentials?
(York): Digital methodologies.
Abstract: In researching online interactions, virtual communities, simulation spaces and online “homes” the everyday becomes based on the discursive, the written word, and geek lingo. The language of the online world is not that of the street but that of the linguistically elite, that is to say the online elite. To begin to formulate at what point the everyday meets up with dominant discourse becomes very complex when considering virtual populations and spaces primarily because cyberspace is a text based environment which is intrinsically discursive.
Media and popular hype around the Internet have celebrated the internet as being a space free of boundaries and barriers like race, gender and class. New research has found that in fact these barriers are real in cyberspace and still continue to construct the power relationships on the Internet. In fact one of the most powerful tools in cyberspace is technical know-how which includes technical language use. The multiple types and forms of spaces online could allow for a number of studies to be done on the different “everyday” experiences of the online community. For my panel discussion I would like to focus on the ethnography I am conducting of Simulation gamers where constructs of visual self and textual self are juxtaposed with the offline self. There is question as to how much of what is experienced online is reality or is a discourse based on the everyday. How is internet reality to be analyzed? Is it real, or is it simulation? If much of one’s time is spent playing as a character, a discursive character, and a textually based character then how does the everyday intersect with this discourse?
The issues that arise with the logistics of my particular study need also to be examined. My ethnography encompasses participant observation of simulation gaming, in the game space and within public arcade gaming spaces (this is both observational and participating in the game), as well as conducting interviews with simulation gamers. Challenges arise when I will not be able to do my face to face interviews with the gamers I interact with online. In fact all of my observations and interviews will be with a diverse group of gamers as I will have trouble maintaining regularity in the people I see in the public spaces.
Katherine Osterlund (York):Out Standing in the Field: Reflections on Discourse and Experience
Abstract: As graduate students I believe we share the difficult challenge of making exciting theoretical and analytical approaches operate within our own research projects. A central dilemma emerges from the various benefits and drawbacks in approaching one’s research from either discourse or experience as the first point of contact in thinking the problem under consideration. A comprehensive analysis of social relations can afford to ignore neither, yet how shall we do this? The idea of critical reflexivity, as well as ongoing consideration of one’s positionality are suggested as resources in planning and undertaking interpretive field research. Examples of difficulties I have encountered will be incorporated. These are drawn from conceptualizing my dissertation project, a critical inquiry into the politics of romantic partnering, as well as from my involvement in coordinating a nearly-completed study of home as a site for long-term care. As this is a workshop presentation, audience input is encouraged and welcome.
(York) Powerful metaphors and metaphors of power.
Abstract: Expert medical discourses such as
bio-medicine, epidemiology, genetics, psychology and psychiatry play an
increasingly important role in providing the language and technologies to
understand and act upon ourselves. My talk centers around the way the “subject
and power” have been theorized within modes of sociological analysis that are
critical of such medical influence. On the one hand, it is often argued that
medical power operates in a “repressive” fashion by fostering dependency and
restricting individual autonomy (e.g. the medicalization critique). On the other
hand, it is frequently said that medical power is a “productive” force,
creating concepts that serve as resources in
life-planning and self-governance (e.g. Foucauldian perspectives). While both
approaches have their merits, I argue that they fall apart when required to
describe the experience of those
engaging in health care, particularly in what may be called “limit
situations” where gaps appear between medical promises and their delivery. I
hope to use this workshop as an opportunity to think outside dualistic
conceptions of power (e.g. positive vs. negative forms of power, oppression vs.
freedom, resources vs. repression, etc) and perhaps find metaphors that better
capture what it feels like to engage with medicine.