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    Research methods: exploring the social world in Canadian contexts
    (2024) Symbaluk, Diane; Hall, Robyn
    Research Methods: Exploring the Social World in Canadian Contexts, third edition, provides students with a readily accessible introduction to research methodology. This open textbook covers qualitative and quantitative methods, guiding readers through planning and conducting research, proposal writing, and report creation while addressing common research errors and challenges. Key topics include ethics, research design, sampling, experiments, surveys, qualitative interviewing, ethnography, and mixed-method approaches.
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    Research recast(ed): S3E3 - Bringing young minds to MacEwan through experiences, experiments, and fun with Dr. Emily Milne, Dr. Kaitlyn Towle, and Steven Campbell
    (2023) Leschyshyn, Brooklyn; Smadis, Natalie; Milne, Emily; Towle, Kaitlyn; Campbell, Steven
    On today’s episode, we talk to Dr. Emily Milne, Kaitlyn Towle, and Steven Cambell about MacEwanCYU. With the help of MacEwan, students from Ben Calf Robe can learn about what the university has to offer. Their project helps to inspire young minds and invite them to aspire to a secondary education.
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    The influence of the Internet on hate crime and violent extremism
    (2023) McDermott, Emily; Chaudhry, Irfan
    In the modern age of technology, it has never been easier to connect with people with similar interests. Everyone with an Internet connection is only a few clicks away from accessing a vast amount of information from around the world. While the Internet has been used in many beneficial ways, recently research has shown an increase in alt-right and extremist ideologies in popular online spaces such as Youtube. This phenomenon has been explored by the New York Times podcast “Rabbit Hole,” wherein they investigate growing extremist ideologies on Youtube and other social media websites to demonstrate the effects on individuals in the real-world. Using “Rabbit Hole” as inspiration, this mini-podcast will examine these online trends by exploring the limitations of Canadian legislation on hate crime and violent extremism in the online sphere, while using perspectives from individuals affected by online hate speech and hate groups to provide context to the issue. This presentation aims to show how the Internet may influence one’s understanding of hate crime and violent extremism.
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    “Hesitation gets you killed:” perceived vulnerability as an axiomatic feature of correctional officer working personalities
    (2023) Schultz, William
    Research on correctional officers (COs) has expanded over the past two decades, giving us a broad picture into the mental health, culture, and discretionary practices of a traditionally overlooked branch of law enforcement. However, gaps in this portrait remain. Drawing on 131 semi-structured qualitative interviews with Canadian COs, I demonstrate how COs’ perceptions of vulnerability powerfully shape officer actions and working personalities. To explain this, I introduce the concept of the vulnerability axiom, a cultural heuristic that frames how officers perceive their position within prisons. COs describe themselves as vulnerable to threats posed by incarcerated people, managers, and other officers, and act in specific ways to mediate these threats. The vulnerability axiom shapes how COs perceive their position within the prison, impacting relationships with managers and incarcerated people and shaping officer control behaviors. I conclude by discussing how the vulnerability axiom may help to reframe future CO research.
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    The floating signifier of "safety": correctional officer perspectives on COVID-19 restrictuions, legitimacy and prison order
    (2022) Schultz, William; Ricciardelli, Rosemary
    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect prisons internationally. Existing research focuses on infections data, meaning we do not fully understand how COVID-19 shapes front-line prison dynamics. We draw on qualitative interviews with 21 Canadian federal correctional officers, exploring how the pandemic impacted prison management. Officers suggested inconsistent messaging around COVID-19 protocols reduced institutional and officers’ self-legitimacy, fracturing trust relationships with incarcerated people. Furthermore, officers suggest that personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gowns and face shields took on multiple meanings. We use Lévi-Strauss’ floating signifier concept to analyze how individual definitions of “safety” informed day-to-day prison routines. We conclude by arguing that legitimacy deficits and contested definitions of “safety” will continue to create uncertainty, impacting prison operations going forward.
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    Courage catalysts: creating consent culture on campus: a toolkit by students, for students
    (2021) Burnham, Julia; Clarkson, Levi; DesRochers, Jacob; Dunne, Catherine; Gabriele, Carina; Garcia, Jaye; Glaspey, Tayler; Gray, Mandi; Gupta, Radhika; Irvine, Taylor; Javed, Kainat; King, Zoe; Kuzmyk, Emma; Magaji, Vatineh; Malankov, Chenthoori; McKay, Alannah; Perry, Nell; Prévost, Francis; Snow, Aubrianna; Toner, Jackie; Wong, Tia; Wright, JJ (Jessica)
    Being a student at a post-secondary institution (PSI) comes with many challenges: balancing academic commitments, maintaining a social life on and off campus, working, and family responsibilities—to name a few things. On top of these pressures, more than 71% of Canadian students experienced or witnessed unwanted sexualized behaviours while completing their degree. Though there’s been decades of activism and research to prevent and address gender-based violence (GBV), we still have a lot of work ahead of us to prevent GBV on campus and to meet the needs of survivors at PSIs. If you’re coming to this toolkit frustrated about the pervasiveness of violence on campus, know you are not alone. In fact, this toolkit was designed by diverse student advocates from across Canada who felt a similar frustration. We became involved in advocacy work for a variety of reasons, such as witnessing injustice, supporting our friends in the aftermath of GBV on campus, or navigating sexualized violence ourselves. We had an incredible opportunity to collaboratively create the kinds of tools we wished we had when organizing on campus, and we hope it will be helpful to you. If you are someone who strives to see a growing consent culture at your PSI, this guide will walk you through tools that may help you reach that goal.
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    Social media and mobilizing change for community impacts: results report
    (2022) Vigor, Jana; Wright, JJ (Jessica); Campbell, Karen
    Social media has become a pivot for individual level activism and community level change. This collaborative project between the Canadian Women’s Foundation and the McGill iMPACTS project investigates the connections between social media and action for social change in the context of sexual assault on Canadian post-secondary campuses. Along with a panel discussion hosted on June 22, 2022, this report is the final knowledge dissemination component of the project’s three phases. An interdisciplinary literature review on feminist social media use, gender-based violence (GBV), and campus responses to rape culture was developed during the first research phase. The second phase involved connecting with key informants and conducting in depth interviews. This third phase has resulted in this report, summarizing 12 key informant interviews conducted with anti-violence organizers, student activists, and frontline staff working at post-secondary institutions (PSIs) across Canada. The interviews offer insights into how feminist organizers use social media platforms to educate, build movements, and support survivors of sexual violence.
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    Speak out: addressing 2SLGBTQ youth dating violence: lessons on how to support 2SLGBTQ youth who face dating violence in Canada
    (2022) Wright, JJ (Jessica); Zidenberg, Alexandra M.; Fraser, Ley; Peter, Tracey; Jakubiec, Brittany; Cameron, Lee
    There are many ways that 2SLGBTQ youth navigate healthy relationships and find joy in their relationships with friends, family, and partners (Asakura, 2019). However, from the available Canadian research, it is known that 2SLGBTQ youth have an equal or greater chance of encountering dating violence when compared with their cisgender and heterosexual peers, particularly if they are multiply marginalized (Dank et al., 2014; Martin-Storey, 2015; Reuter & Whitton, 2018; Smollin, 2011). Recent research from Exner-Cortens et al. (2021) found that one in three Canadian adolescents had experienced dating violence, and the prevalence rates were highest for nonbinary youth. This increased risk of dating violence can also be linked with systemic violence (i.e., cisheteronormativity, settler colonialism, and ableism), which perpetuate dehumanization and translate into interpersonal violence (Abbas, 2022). Despite the increased risk of dating violence for 2SLGBTQ youth, the resources they turn to are not well-informed about issues such as transphobia and homophobia (Quinn & Ertl, 2015).
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    Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic: a national survey of gender-based violence services at Canada’s post-secondary institutions
    (2022) Abji, Salina; Wright, JJ (Jessica)
    The COVID-19 pandemic was described as an “unprecedented time” for post-secondary institutions (PSIs) across Canada. Campus closures, the pivot to virtual classrooms, and new health and safety measures have left a significant mark on campus life. While the impacts of COVID-19 on learning and research were often the focus of campus measures, less attention has been paid to how the pandemic affected the work to address and prevent sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) at PSIs. Yet we know that GBV is a global problem that has been categorized as a “shadow” pandemic by the UN, and that PSIs have a significant role to play in GBV prevention education, response, and policy/research leadership on this issue. To help bring more attention to the impacts of COVID-19 on GBV education and response efforts at PSIs, the Courage to Act project initiated a national survey of GBV frontline workers and others involved in GBV efforts at PSIs. Courage to Act is a national initiative focused on addressing and preventing GBV at PSIs in Canada. Leveraging our network of 3500 stakeholders and over 170 of Canada’s top GBV experts and advocates, Courage to Act conducted two surveys, one in 2021 and 2022. Both surveys invited participants to comment on the impacts of COVID-19, as well as innovations and priorities for addressing and preventing GBV at PSIs moving forward. A total of 104 participants responded, mostly frontline GBV workers on campus, but also administrators and students involved in this work. While the results of this community-based research study were not representative of all campus communities, there were important themes that emerged in our analysis. We extrapolated from these themes to identify six major “lessons from the pandemic” for PSIs to consider. These lessons provide insight into how the movement to end campus GBV can build back the momentum for preventing and addressing GBV that was lost due to COVID-19.
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    ‘Just say no’: public dissent over sexuality education and the Canadian national imaginary
    (2019) Bialystok, Lauren; Wright, JJ (Jessica)
    Scholars of sexuality have argued that ‘moral panics’ about sexuality often stand in for broader conflicts over nationality and belonging. Canada has spent decades cultivating a national image founded on multiculturalism and democratic equality. The Ontario sexuality education curriculum introduced in 2015 drew audible condemnation from a variety of groups. Drawing from Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Race Theory, we argue that the public discourse surrounding these protests exposed the limits of Canadian pluralism, fuelling a meta-debate about the ‘Canadianness’ of recent immigrants and the incompatibility of liberal values with those of non-Westerners, especially Muslims. We explain this in terms of contextual factors such as Ontario’s publicly funded Catholic school system and anti-Muslim xenophobia in the post-9/11 era. Our analysis speaks to the importance of intersectional social justice efforts as part of the movement for comprehensive sex education.
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    The appropriation of sex education by conservative populism
    (2020) Bialystok, Lauren; Wright, JJ (Jessica); Berzins, Taylor; Guy, Caileigh; Osborne, Em
    Curriculum change involves struggles among political actors and interest groups, and those efforts related to sex education have been noted for their particularly vexatious character. When Doug Ford was elected Premier of Ontario, Canada in 2018, he immediately repealed the comprehensive health curriculum of 2015 and attempted to muzzle teachers during the 2018–2019 school year, only to unveil a strikingly similar “new” curriculum for 2019–2020.This article analyses Ford’s treatment of sex education as part of a conservative populist agenda. Using Critical Discourse Analysis, we divide the government’s approach into six components that illustrate how anti-elitism and fact-bending drove curriculum policy. Our analysis contributes to discussions in curriculum studies and educational politics by connecting the recently ascendant political ideologies in the West with the already contentious area of sex education.
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    Speak out: lessons on how to support Canadian 2SLGBTQI youths who face gender-based violence
    (2023) Wright, JJ (Jessica); Zidenberg, Alexandra M.; Fraser, Ley; Peter, Tracey; Cameron, Lee; Jakubiec, Brittany
    2SLGBTQI youth are at disproportionately high risk of experiencing gender-based violence compared to their cis-heterosexual peers, although there is a gap in research explaining why as well as what this violence looks like. Part of the explanation relates to ongoing homophobia and transphobia; however, more research is needed to understand 2SLGBTQI youths’ feelings of safety within their communities, their experiences of violence with partners, and their help-seeking behaviours. Given the limited Canadian research, the Speak Out project was undertaken. The Speak Out project is a multi-phase project with Phase 1 encompassing a survey of youth across Canada about their experiences of gender-based violence. From across Canada, 292 youths were recruited and asked to complete a survey on gender-based violence. The survey covered four domains related to violence (physical violence, emotional abuse/control, sexual violence, virtual violence) participants experienced, experiences with help-seeking, and connections to the 2SLGBTQI community. Most youths had connections to the broader 2SLGBTQI community and were open about their identities, but many reported being discriminated against based on their gender expression (50%) and sexual orientation (43%). Of the participants who answered questions related to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, very few reported any incidents. More youths reported virtual violence via text messages (34%), making them afraid to ignore phone calls or other contact (18%), and surveillance of their social media (18%). These results contribute valuable knowledge on the experiences of Canadian 2SLGBTQI youths and have important implications for both education and frontline service provision.
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    Non-binary youth and binary sexual consent education: unintelligibility, disruption and possibility
    (2023) Wright, JJ (Jessica); Greenberg, Ellis
    This paper theorises the ways in which non-binary gender is rendered invisible through binary Yes/No sexual consent education. Judith Butler’s framework of gender intelligibility is drawn upon to consider the absenting of non-binary youth from consent education. We suggest that the undoing of the hegemonic colonial gender binary also be a project of consent education. Consent education is often taught through a highly gendered lens underscored by the ‘miscommunication hypothesis,’ which posits normative binary gender roles as the underlying cause of sexual violence and fails to account for how non-binary youth experience and navigate consent. Furthermore, we examine how binary Yes/No consent education negates non-binary gender by rejecting the grey area of consent. The dismissal of grey area experiences is problematic for non-binary youth as ambiguity around consent may be more prevalent amongst non-binary people due to increased experiences of trauma and the common experience of gender dysphoria. Despite this invisiblisation, non- binary people have formulated their own modes for navigating sexual pleasure and consent. We call for more research into how non-binary youth are invisibilised by binary consent education as well as how these youth are challenging normative consent and reimagining sexual cultures that centre interdependence, mutual pleasure, and care.
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    Trauma-informed consent education: understanding the grey area of consent through the experiences of youth trauma survivors
    (2022) Wright, JJ (Jessica)
    Sexual consent education has emerged in recent years as the most popular method of preventing gender-based violence. Yet, the concept of consent used in much contemporary programming problematically oversimplifies sexual exploration and the power dynamics it is imbued with by asserting that consent is as simple as “Yes” or “No.” The messiness of sexual negotiation or the ‘grey areas’ of consent that youth may experience are left unaddressed. By examining the experiences of youth trauma survivors through a trauma-informed lens, the limits to binary consent education become clear. I draw on empirical data from nine open-ended interviews with Canadian youth trauma survivors to demonstrate how a trauma-informed lens may be implemented in consent education. I argue that educators should include understandings of consent which falls outside the Yes/No binary in order to adequately address youth survivors’ vulnerability to sexual (re)victimization. I examine how three of the psychosocial impacts of trauma, dissociation, hypersexuality, and struggles with acquiescence, refuse the binaristic model of consent and should be considered for trauma-informed consent education. While education alone cannot end rape culture, addressing the grey area of consent in consent education may help reduce preventable harm for survivors, as well as youth more broadly.
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    Research recast(ed): S1E4 - A conversation with Dr. Emily Milne
    (2021-09) Ekelund, Brittany; Cave, Dylan
    Today we learn about a more personal approach to focus groups, the importance of listening, and working with community partners to make sure that research benefits those participating. Joining us is Dr. Emily Milne, an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at MacEwan University. She is an applied sociologist and a community-engaged researcher. We talk about her ongoing project with Ben Calf Robe School, giving kids cameras to capture their experiences as the school prepares to move into a new building. We also talk about Emily’s recent project with Edmonton Public Schools and some of the most promising practices to emerge from the exploration of the perspectives of Indigenous students and their families when it comes to Indigenous parent involvement in the education process. If you would like to follow up on any of this information or get your hand on a copy of the reports mentioned in this episode, Dr. Emily Milne welcomes you to email her at
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    Is economic growth good for population health? A critical review
    (2023) Patterson, Andrew
    A large multidisciplinary literature discusses the relationship between economic growth and population health. The idea that economic growth is good for societies has inspired extensive academic debate, but conclusions have been mixed. To help shed light on the subject, this paper focuses on opportunities for consensus in this large literature. Much scholarship finds that the health-growth relationship varies according to (1) which aspect of “health” is under consideration, (2) shape (e.g., positive linear or logarithmic), (3) issues of timing (e.g., growth over the short or long term), (4) a focus on health inequalities as opposed to population averages, and (5) multivariable relationships with additional factors. After reflecting upon these findings, I propose that economic growth promotes health in some respects, for some countries, and in conjunction with other life-supporting priorities, but does not by itself improve population health generally speaking. I then argue there is already wide, interdisciplinary consensus to support this stance. Moreover, policies focusing exclusively on economic growth threaten harm to both population health and growth, which is to say that political dynamics are also implicated. Yet multivariable approaches can help clarify the bigger picture of how growth relates to health. For moving this literature forward, the best opportunities may involve the simultaneous analysis of multiple factors. The recognition of consensus around these issues would be welcome, and timely.
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    Success is different in our eyes’: reconciling definitions of educational success among Indigenous families and education systems in Alberta, Canada
    (2023) Milne, Emily; Wotherspoon, Terry
    Notions of ‘student success’ feature prominently in emerging educational discourses and policy orientations. Current policy frameworks focusing on equity, performance, and reconciliation claim to offer validation for perspectives of Indigenous peoples and other racialized communities, but they are simultaneously raising the stakes for individual responsibility and performance. This paper explores these developments by examining how Indigenous students and family members understand and experience educational success in relation to the notions of success advanced by school systems. We present a case study conducted in Alberta, Canada, drawing on data from ten focus groups with 77 Indigenous youth and parents of Indigenous children connected to one school division. Highlighting the ways that social and educational policy frameworks related to employability and performance exacerbate contradictions inherent in settler colonial societies, we reveal how school systems, despite claims to the contrary, continue to adopt practices that undermine the capacity for many Indigenous people to achieve their aspirations.
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    Public perspectives on curriculum reform for truth and reconciliation in Canada
    (2023) Wotherspoon, Terry; Milne, Emily
    The implementation of school reforms to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples provides an opportunity to explore what Canadians think is important in framing their identities and values. This paper draws on data from a survey of public perspectives on education for reconciliation activities in two Canadian provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We consider the broader community context within which schools are located. By examining public perspectives, we are able to assess how curricular initiatives related to reconciliation are understood by community members, both as a priority in itself and in relation to other key curricular areas. Informed by critical race theory, our findings suggest that reconciliation is restricted to activities that do not involve extensive change to existing curricular and ideational frameworks. These perspectives exist alongside extensive opposition to reconciliation justified by claims that Indigenous experiences and perspectives are receiving undue attention relative to more pressing educational priorities. Our findings suggest that aims to transform dominant understandings about Canadian history and identity remain far from being fulfilled.
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    Correctional officers and the use of force as an organizational behavior
    (2023) Schultz, William
    During the past 30 years, bureaucratic managerialism has reshaped how prison staff maintain order. Policies and graduated disciplinary models have replaced coercive methods, reducing disciplinary use of force by prison staff against incarcerated people. Managerialism, however, disguises deep problems in the interpretation and enforcement of use-of-force policies. Drawing on 131 semistructured interviews with Canadian correctional officers (COs), I show how managers and prison staff interpret and negotiate policies to justify using force to maintain order. Although COs frame policies and management supervision as significant checks on their actions, they also suggest that inconsistencies in policy interpretation and implementation facilitate certain kinds of use-of-force decisions, which I define as “construction” and “outsourcing.” I conclude by discussing the broader organizational implications of these findings.
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    “I have to be a man for my son”: the narrative uses of fatherhood in prison
    (2023) Schultz, William; Bucerius, Sandra M.; Haggerty, Kevin D.
    Research on incarcerated fathers tends to accentuate the harmful familial consequences of parental incarceration and discuss how having children might prompt incarcerated fathers to desist from crime. Less attention has focused on how narratives of fatherhood shape the day-to-day dynamics of incarceration. Drawing on 93 qualitative interviews with incarcerated fathers in Western Canada, we focus specifically on our participants’ parenting narratives. Such narratives are significant interventions in the world, allowing incarcerated fathers to frame their identities in particular ways while simultaneously shaping personal behaviour. Our research, 1. Identifies important fatherhood narratives provided by our participants, and 2. Details how such narratives operate in prison, allowing our participants to advance personal agendas that are themselves related to the dynamics of incarceration. In doing so, we provide insights into incarcerated fathers’ situations and advance criminological efforts to appreciate how different actors entangled in the criminal justice system conceive, manage, and narrate their situation.