Congress 2014

CSA Annual Conference and Congress 2014 of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Brock University, Ontario
Dates; May 24 to May 30, 2014

1stAnnual CSA Rural Sociology Research Cluster Meeting
Thursday, May 29, 2014
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Location: Vallee-499

2014 CSA Rural Sociology Conference
Session 1: Dynamics of Change in Rural Labour Markets and Communities: Poverty, Exploitation and Inequalities
Thursday, May 29, 2014
10:45 am to 12:15 pm
Location: Vallee-499
Session Chair: Jennifer Jarman, Lakehead University


Howard Ramos, CJ Stoddart and David Chafe, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Is Culture Enough? Assessing the tangible and intangible benefits of tourism around Labrador’s Battle Harbour Historic District
Literature on rural tourism critically questions the commodification of culture and landscapes, showing that replacing rural resource based industries with tourism often leads to a mummification of culture and questionable economic payoffs. Using new survey and qualitative data from three communities in surrounding the Battle Harbour Historic District in Labrador, this paper explores how rural communities view the benefits of tourism and interactions with tourists. The paper finds that people living in the communities value the cultural showcasing of their communities and history but are ambiguous of the economic rewards of tourism. We conclude by questioning whether the intangible cultural rewards of tourism, around meaning making, outweigh the tangible rewards around promoting economically and socially viable communities.

David Calnitsky, University of Wisconsin
Basic income in a small town: Eroding stigma though universal eligibility
This paper is part of a dissertation examining the impact of an understudied quasi-experiment from the late 1970s called the Manitoba Basic Annual Income Experiment, or Mincome. For three years, participants in the program were able to access guaranteed incomes equivalent to $18,950 for a family of four. While Mincome took place in three sites, I focus on the “saturation” site located in the town of Dauphin, Manitoba, where all town residents were eligible for Mincome payments.
Using qualitative survey data I analyze subjective assessments of stigma among Mincome participants; as a contrast I analyze similar surveys from traditional welfare participants. Participants willing to join Mincome were not willing to go on welfare, even if necessary, because relative to welfare, Mincome was not perceived as degrading and invasive. In contrast to welfare, Mincome was seen as “more normal” and helpful “for everybody”, not just the very poor. I argue that by blurring lines of demarcation between low-wage workers, unemployed workers, and social assistance recipients, basic income can reduce the barriers to forging solidarities across social categories. This analysis places the erosion of stigma at the explanatory core of the association between the universality of a program and its resilience.

Jillian Smith, Memorial University of Newfoundland
When petro-capitalism comes knocking: Rural resilience and the Gros Morne fracking controversy
The modern world’s appetite for fossil fuels remains insatiable. With the depletion of conventional oil and natural gas sources, the world is, with increasing frequency, turning to unconventional resource extraction processes. This includes the high-energy pursuit of what John Urry terms “tough oil,” with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, being a prominent example of this. Situated within a sociology of petro-capitalism framework, I explore how environmental dimensions of fracking near Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park are understood from the perspectives of local community members depending upon their own environmental ethics. By studying proposed fracking projects in communities such as Sally’s Cove, we can better understand how rural communities negotiate the relationship between petro-capitalism and democracy. Faced with the question of whether to accept the risks and benefits that fracking projects entail, the Sally’s Cove controversy raises questions as to what environmental justice means for rural communities of Newfoundland. Further, the controversy also provides insight into rural resilience, the dynamics of urban privilege, and how these privileges are expressed and manifested in rural communities that are at the fringes of global flows of capital and oil. Understanding how petro-capitalism is navigated in rural communities is theoretically valuable, as knowledge of the nuances and dynamics of the local controversy illuminates global petro-capitalist flows.

Natalie Hanson, Dalhousie University
Where have all the truckers gone? Rurality, agriculture, and the changing PEI trucking industry
This paper explores the historical connections between rural communities and the trucking industry, within Canada and specifically Prince Edward Island. There have long been connections between trucking and agriculture in particular, such as the transportation of agricultural goods, as well as labour market connections. Agricultural workers in particular, having familiarity with heavy equipment and trucks, have historically transitioned to truck drivers when looking for alternative work. This group of workers has diminished over time, with changes to Canadian agriculture and the economy. The trucking industry is also experiencing a labour shortage. This paper examines these linkages and how changes to rural labour markets and the trucking industry have impacted this labour shortage. Part of the changes to rural labour markets explored is the trend towards interprovincial migration or commuter migration. The specifics of the PEI trucking industry are detailed using interview data collected from truck drivers and company representatives.

Junrong Du, University of British Columbia
Synthetic Effects of the Structuring of Rural Labor Markets in the Pearl River Delta, China
With the dramatic driving force of institutional change and regional development in the last three decades, labor markets in the PRD region have changed significantly. Labor markets for labor migrants in the PRD region differ in terms of the disparity of regional development. In this research, various social mechanisms that affect labor markets of labor migrants will be examined. By comparing the different structuring of labor markets in the core and peripheral regions, I explore how regional disparity results in diverse rural labor markets in the PRD.
I found that the structuring of local labor markets follows different patterns. A synthetic analysis on rural labor markets in the PRD region has been examined. The transformation of labor markets in the PRD region in the last 30 years will be reviewed to illustrate that the evolutions of local labor markets are based not only on regional economic growth, but also on institutional change and cultural legacies in historical development. By introducing various economic and social elements into the regression models, the different structuring of local labor markets on the basis of regional disparity will be compared to reveal the significant associations between local labor markets and labor migration in the region.

2014 CSA Rural Sociology Conference
Session 2: Dynamics of Change in Rural Labour Markets and Communities: Competing Industries, Mobility and Cultural Change
Thursday, May 29, 2014
1:45 pm to 3:15 pm
Location: Vallee-499
Session Chair: Jennifer Jarman, Lakehead University

Miya Narushima, Janet McLaughlin and Jackie Barrett-Greene, Wilfred Laurier University, Brock University, AIDS Niagara
Migrant Farm Workers in Niagara: Knowledge and Attitudes of HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health
Every year over 30,000 migrant farm workers (MFWs) are employed as temporary foreign workers in rural areas of Canada. The Niagara Region hosts one of the largest concentrations of MFWs. The workers, who hail primarily from Mexico and the Caribbean, are predominantly married men with dependents or single mothers, who leave their families to work as temporary labourers for months at a time, often multiple years in a row. This study was conducted as a part of community outreach to these workers. Using a mixed method approach—survey (n=103) and four focus group with both male and female workers from Mexico and the Caribbean—this pilot study investigated: 1) MFWs’ knowledge about HIV/AIDS and sexual health; 2) attitudes toward condoms and their use; and 3) their preferred sources of information about sexual health. The results suggested that MFWs face specific vulnerabilities to sexually transmitted infections due to various structural and cultural factors, and revealed notable differences between male and female as well as Caribbean and Mexican workers in terms of areas of knowledge and belief, condom use practice, and preferred information sources. The results of this study call for further collaborative research and culturally-sensitive health promotion interventions among these groups.

Regina Aminta Belloso, Lakehead University
Conceptualizing poverty and vulnerability in Thunder Bay: The Case of the New Directions Speakers’ School
This paper will discuss the major themes and findings made in a graduate thesis research project on the New Directions’ Speakers’ School in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Originally created as an avenue for injured workers to get together and share their experiences with each other, this initiative has opened up to assisting individuals living in vulnerable situations which include: lone parents, those who are aboriginal, disabled, low-income, and/or those who have had limited education. Today, the program has evolved on a much wider scale to combat poverty by giving participants the tools necessary to ‘speak out’ on social justice issues in the community. Additionally, students gain skills that can be applied to various community engagement opportunities. As a result, this paper will use an intersectional analysis to explore how gender, race, class, as well as (dis)ability have contributed to vulnerability and poverty in Thunder Bay. Building on the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Robert Putnam, it will be argued that poverty is not simply about economic measures, but rather a lack in the social and cultural capital that an individual can rely on in times of long-term financial uncertainty.

Isaac Alexander Gray, Carelton University Great Village, a Community in Crisis: the Political Economy of Staple Industries, Labour and Social Policy in Rural Nova Scotia
This paper will focus on the case study of Great Village, Nova Scotia (population: 300) and the ways in which the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme and changes to Employment Insurance have affected the community.
The paper will be divided into two sections. The first section will use the work of Neil Brenner and Rianne Mahon to examine the historical and contemporary socioeconomic reality of Great Village. It will show that liberal ideology has been institutionalized in the community, and as local industries were forced to close by market forces, the local population has been unable to conceptualize collective forces and have tended to migrate away from the community, rather then imagining new possibilities that would enable them to remain in Great Village.
The second section will specifically address the impacts of the TFWP and the recent changes to EI on the community. Inspired by pervious work by Jane Kelsey, the section will conclude that the goal of social policy in rural Nova Scotia is not, nor has it ever been to make the Nova Scotian countryside self sustained, but rather to maintain a complacent workforce, capable of servicing the province’s staple industries. With that in mind, the TFWP has allowed the state to effectively outsource social services, as the migrants are denied access to Canadian services and thus remain dependent on the services provided by their home countries. Thus, the Canadian state no longer is required to provide social services in order to maintain a rural workforce. Hence the recent changes to EI, which no longer effectively supports seasonal workers. Sadly, the Nova Scotian is now experiencing the most significant outward migration in Canada.

Satenia Zimmermann, Lakehead University
Ring of Fire mining exploration: An opportunity to learn from past failures and ensure Matawa First Nation communities are provided with the skills needed to succeed in the mining sector and beyond
Why do the majority of working age members of First Nation communities involved in mining exploration areas remain uneducated, unskilled, and unable to compete for well-paid jobs, despite Duty to Consult and subsequent Accommodation agreements that include provisions for the employment and training of First Nation peoples? An examination of the research conducted on the Voisey Bay Nickel Project and the Lutsel K’e Dene’s in the development of BHP Billiton’s Ekati mine demonstrates how previous agreements fail to provide First Nation peoples with the skills necessary to sustain employment in the mining sector. Current research and studies conducted by the governments of Canada and Ontario support the argument that the Ring of Fire mining exploration possibilities provide Ontario with the opportunity to become a leader in the development of a comprehensive plan, which recognizes the importance of working with Matawa First Nation communities to ensure that a comprehensive plan of action is developed; which will not only provides the skills needed for community members to work within the mining sector, but to succeed for life.