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  • About
  • The Global ETD Search service is a free service for researchers to find electronic theses and dissertations. This service is provided by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations.
    Our metadata is collected from universities around the world. If you manage a university/consortium/country archive and want to be added, details can be found on the NDLTD website.

Assessing Place Character in Response to Wal-Mart

Reinke, Dana Colleen 30 January 2007 (has links)
Community members across U.S. municipalities grow more vocal in their concerns about how outside retail corporations shape local community life. The way these residents respond to nation-global corporations, and the way they make arguments about what it means to live in their community, is an interesting social phenomenon. By studying community response to big box retail development I answer the question: how does a geographic location become ascribed with a definition of community? Utilizing geographic theorist Krista Paulsens place character element as an analytic tool to understand a local response to potential development of a Wal-Mart Supercenter, I examine definitions of community as they relate to issues of consumption practices and community relations. These issues were identified through various methodologies including ethnography, semi-structured interviews, historical narrative analysis and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) demographic data. Building on sociologist Thomas Gieryns sociology of place framework, I uncovered new aspects of the socio-cultural, political and economic makeup of the communities studied. This makeup is represented in the material, social practices and symbolic characteristics by which people denote local place character. Identifying these characteristics is an important step in understanding why social movements occur where they do, the nature of the emplaced social movement activity, and what inspires community members to respond to what they perceive as an external threat. My research findings advance a place-sensitive sociology that reintroduces the role of community as a part of an individuals identity. By expanding the definition of community beyond the geographical setting, the built location and the meanings and values associated with a place, can be studied as part of individuals response to social change. Additionally, my research finds that a place-sensitive sociology is also important for understanding the varied and nuanced ways that globalization impacts various scales, particularly the local. As the traditional national barriers to the global flow of people and commerce are eroded, local communities will increasingly become a focal point at which globalization can be challenged.

Gender-Based Persecution in Asylum Law and Policy in the United States

Oxford, Connie Gayle 30 January 2007 (has links)
A gender revolution has transformed the institution of asylum in the United States. The introduction of gender-based persecution laws and policies in the past decade ushered in a new era of politics in asylum decisions. Facilitated by recent laws and policies, immigrant women may gain asylum and legal entry into the U.S. by claiming they are persecuted based on factors such as female circumcision, honor killings, domestic violence, coercive family planning, forced marriage, or repressive social norms. Immigrant advocates have championed these laws and policies as reflecting the canonical feminist declaration that womens rights are human rights. The legal recognition that certain human rights abuses are gendered because they overwhelmingly happen to women has emerged as the benchmark for gendered equality in asylum adjudication. However, legal recognition of gender-related persecution is only half the story. A study of the implementation of gender-based persecution laws and policies makes visible certain assumptions about femininity, masculinity, sexuality, race, class, and nation in which asylum seekers, immigration attorneys, service providers, immigration judges, and asylum officers engage when making, preparing, and adjudicating asylum claims. In this dissertation, I offer empirical evidence of how gender structures the legal institution of asylum in the United States.


Alex, Christine 19 September 2007 (has links)
This study provides new insights on the state of participation in a contemporary ethnoreligious group organization, the Greek Orthodox Church. I examine the ethnoreligious identities and practices of participants who were diverse along lines of church activity, gender, age, generational status, marital status, ancestry, and even religion in two Pittsburgh-area churches. Data were collected through one-on-one in-depth interviews as well as participant observation within the churches organizations to capture the attitudes and experiences of the Greek Orthodox Church participant and to understand the reasons for participation amidst the predominant white ethnic climate of symbolic ethnicity. Two major themes emerged from the data. First, unmarried Greek Orthodox Americans in these organizations definitely considered how the ethnic/religious background of their chosen mate would impact their own, as well as their childrens, future in the church. Second, participants of varying generational statuses referenced different sources of attraction to the churchs activities: earlier generation (first and second) participants commonly identified the ethnic and ethnoreligious appeal of the church, while later generation (third) and convert participants acknowledged a primarily religious connection to the church. These findings suggest that theories of assimilation and symbolic ethnicity, which predict a decline in ethnic adherence, may not apply to ethnic groups who also share an exclusive religion. On the contrary, the two organizations studied here are gaining membership as Greek Orthodox Americans increasingly marry outside their ethnicity/religion but bring in their convert spouses to the organizations. Given their changing social composition, however, these churches are facing a crucial issue for their future: whether to maintain the current balance of religious and ethnic activity or to change the focus of activities to cater to the growing interest in religious-based activity.

The Visibility of Sexual Minority Movement Organizations in Namibia and South Africa

Currier, Ashley McAllister 19 September 2007 (has links)
The South African state has responded favorably to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) social movement organizations (SMOs) efforts to protect and extend sexual and gender minority rights, whereas Namibian state leaders have verbally attacked LGBT organizing and threatened to arrest sexual and gender minorities. In these countries, LGBT persons have organized themselves into publicly visible social movement organizations (SMOs) over the last ten years. Amid such different official responses to LGBT organizing, how, when, and why do Namibian and South African LGBT social movement organizations become publicly visible or retreat from visibility? To answer this question, I turn to sociologist James M. Jaspers (2004, 2006) concept of strategic dilemma. LGBT social movement organizations encountered strategic dilemmas of visibility or invisibility when they decide whether and how to become visible, modify their public profile, or forgo political opportunities. To understand the micropolitical dynamics of how LGBT social movement organizations negotiated such strategic dilemmas of visibility and invisibility, I engaged in intensive, continuous ethnographic observation of four Namibian and South African LGBT social movement organizations for approximately 800 hours and analyzed my ethnographic fieldnotes. I also analyzed more than 2,100 newspaper articles and LGBT SMO documents and conducted 56 in-depth interviews with staff, members, and leaders of LGBT SMOs. In this dissertation, I explore the varied strategic dilemmas of visibility and invisibility that Namibian and South African LGBT SMOs faced. My findings advance social movement theorizing by demonstrating the importance of studying social movements in the global South. In addition, my findings contribute to postcolonial feminist and queer theorizing by showing how marginalized sexual and gender minorities in post-apartheid Namibia and South Africa used public visibility as a strategy to argue for their democratic inclusion.

Women Stepping Out:Intersections of Welfare Policy, Work and Abuse

Ficco, Danielle Marie 19 September 2007 (has links)
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) was created in 1996, and it effectively abolished the sixty-year-old federal entitlement program for poor women and children known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). TANF imposed lifetime limits for receipt of assistance as well as work requirements for all recipients. These changes are problematic for many reasons and hit especially hard for women who are subject to abuse from an intimate partner. In this project, I use a qualitative approach to explore the relationship between womens experiences with battering, work and welfare use. I interviewed 20 women enrolled in a Work First program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These women are transitioning from welfare into the paid workforce. I found that many of these women enjoyed the social and financial benefits of paid employment. Women generally view work as beneficial for their families and believe it will afford them greater opportunities and allow them to be good role models for their children. Unfortunately, for all of these women, abuse complicates their journey. For some, work means an escape from violence at home. For others, abuse at home is an insurmountable obstacle to work. Understanding what work and welfare mean to them and the hurdles these women must overcome is critical to assisting them in their quest to break the cycle of dependency on the state or men. We must be sensitive to the variations in womens experiences with welfare and dispel the myths regarding broad stereotypes that doom all poor women and their children to a stigmatized existence.


Park, Hyung Sam 26 September 2007 (has links)
This dissertation investigates the structural dynamics of the inter-organizational (litigation, alliance) relations in the environmental movement sector (EMS) in the United States, 1970-2001. Particularly, it focuses on the litigative and alliance ties between the environmental organizations (EORGs) including both environmental movement organizations (EMOs) and environmental government agencies (EGAs), and explaining the processes by which the contemporary inter-EORG structure has emerged over time. The methods used in analysis include (balance, structural) partitioning, p-star logit, and categorical data analysis in statistical network analysis. The data analyzed were collected from various sources including LexisNexis and Guide Star and include both organizational attributes and relations. To explicate the dynamic processes by which the contemporary inter-EORG structure has emerged, this dissertation investigates the formation of dyadic, triadic, and network structure with regard to litigative and alliance ties, respectively. Selected fundamental models of network dynamics (transitive dominance, strategic actor, and social balance) help explain the empirical inter-organizational (litigation, alliance) relations in later chapters. The theoretical and empirical findings help better understand the structural and dynamic issues in the study of the environment, social movement, complex organizations, and network evolution.

Professional Intimacy: An Ethnography of Care in Hospital Nursing

Huebner, Lisa Camille 24 January 2008 (has links)
The global nursing shortage severely impacts the health care crisis in the United States and around the world. Nurses are overworked and under recognized and patients feel frustrated and neglected. Nurses professionalize their labor to increase recognition of their contributions to medicine, but these efforts focus on individualism and deemphasize the intimate nature of their work. Nonetheless, experienced bedside nurses know that intimate interactions help patients feel safe and comfortable during illness, which contributes to their healing. These interactions require specialized knowledge and skill, which contradicts the popular idea that whether or not one is caring is a personal attribute. In this dissertation, I found that nurse-patient interactions are in large part shaped by perceptions and constructions of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. I offer the term professional intimacy to characterize how nurses negotiate intimate care and learn this specialized knowledge and skill set over time. I argue for collective recognition of professional intimacy, that it can and should be taught to nurses, and that hospitals can better accommodate this labor. Allowing nurses to conduct professionally intimate work will ensure better medical care for patients, which ultimately increases both nurse and patient satisfaction.


Solinas-Saunders, Monica 29 January 2008 (has links)
This study addresses controversies in the literature of risk factors of abuse perpetrated by men against female intimate partners. Drawing upon the three theoretical perspectives dominant in the literature (family violence, mainstream feminist, and life-course perspectives), I approach the analysis from two directions. First, each perspective suggests risk factors in a particular category of influence; the family violence perspective suggests a focus on family influences, mainstream feminism suggests socio-cultural influences, and life-course theorists suggest a focus on individual/personal factors. Second, the family violence perspective and the life-course also suggested investigating influences organized by age group. I use a sample of 506 boys from the Pittsburgh Youth Study, a longitudinal study consisting of male individuals from public schools of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. More specifically, I focus on the 329 participants in the sample who reported being involved in a romantic relationship by age 23-25, age at which intimate partner abuse was investigated. The findings of the descriptive analysis show that intimate partner abuse is strongly correlated to the variables experience of corporal punishment in the family of origin, attitudes toward women, and delinquency (especially age 19-22). The multivariate analysis confirms that minority males, those who entered the relationship at younger age, those who experienced frequent corporal punishment in the family of origin (age 13-15), and those who had been antisocial during pre-adulthood (age 19-22) were more likely to abuse an intimate female partner during adulthood (age 23-25). The findings on race, age at entering the relationship, and delinquency add new evidence to existing controversies in the empirical literature. In the case of corporal punishment, the results address a gap in the literature.

"I'm not sure how much this was about music:" Networks, Locations and Rituals of Identity in Pittsburgh's Grassroots Music and Arts Scene

McDowell, Amy Denise 14 January 2009 (has links)
Scenes are dynamic social relationships and experiences that are comprised of networks, locations, and rituals. Scene networks form in recognizable meeting places around activities such as live music shows, bike collectives, drag performances and gambling rings. This paper explores how cultural producers (i.e. band members, DJs, event organizers) perceive and use networks, locations and rituals in Pittsburgh's grassroots music and arts scene. Whereas previous research examines th experience of a single scene, this study explores the many ways cultural producers activate a variety of scenes under the same umbrella. This study examines how predominately white scene networks perceive and benefit from gentrification while also attending to how gender and sexuality affect where scene events are held. Women and queer identified artists do not have the same options as their heterosexual male counterparts when it comes to creating scene events in places opened by urban revitalization projects. This study also demonstrates that the rituals cultural producers engage are particular to the identities they seek to enact. Cultural producers use rituals of identity to deconstruct hegemonic constructions of gender and sexuality. Through performance rituals, participants empower stigmatized social identities.

Whatever Her Little Heart Desires: How Social Class and Race Influence Adolescent Girls' Perceptions of the Future

Swauger, Melissa Lynne 29 January 2009 (has links)
While girls today have more educational and career opportunities than ever before, their gender, social class, and racial positions influence how they set and achieve academic and career goals. Using feminist qualitative research methods, I conducted focus groups and in-depth interviews with 22 poor and working class, African American, white adolescent girls and 18 of their mothers to examine how patterns in everyday life influence girls perceptions of the future. I begin by discussing who the girls are, focusing on how they see themselves in comparison to culturally constructed images of girls/girlhood, i.e., Girl Power and Mean Girl. I also show who they are by describing the organization of daily family life which includes such factors as television viewing, tight family ties and responsibilities, positive relationships with mothers, and an awareness of financial insecurity. I argue that an understanding of the cultural, familial, environmental, and material realities of the girls lives illustrates how life for poor and working class girls is flooded with contradictions that they negotiate as they decide who they are and who they want to become. Then I discuss who the girls want to become and suggest that aspirations themselves are less important than the contexts in which aspirations are shaped. I illustrate how poor and working class girls perceptions of the future are uniquely shaped in gendered, classed, and racialized practices within the media, family, peer groups, and schools. Finally, I discuss how the girls are reaching their goals. I argue that poor and working class girls current experiences and orientations and preparedness toward the future cannot be universalized. That is, the extent to which poor and working class girls find resources to help them plan and prepare for the future varies and these variations are illuminated when we examine girls individual motivation as well as the resources families and schools differentially provide.

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