Congress 2017

CSA Annual Conference and Congress 2017 of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Location: Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario
Dates; May 30 to June 5, 2017

4th Annual CSA Rural Sociology Research Cluster Meeting
Thursday June 1, 2017
5:15 pm to 6:15 pm
Location: KHE-323

2016 CSA Rural Sociology Conference Roundtable
The Viability of Communities II: A Focus on Food, Energy, Human, and Politico-Legal Resources
Date: Thursday June 1st
Time: 10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Location: CED-703
Session Chair: Satenia Zimmermann, Lakehead University


Fabrizio Antonelli, Mount Allison University
“Exploring possibilities for economic and knowledge development in small university towns in Canada’s Martitime provinces
Canada’s Maritime provinces are faced with the significant challenge of retaining populations with an aim toward regional growth and prosperity. In particular, the small communities in the Maritimes are shrinking as young people are choosing to move to large urban centres in the Maritimes and other parts of Canada. With a disconnect existing among young peoples’ pursuits of higher education for work in the knowledge economy and the lack of knowledge work in small towns, what possibilities exist for small towns to retain its youth? This paper will present findings from an ethnography of small university towns in the Maritimes exploring the possibility for the retention of social science and humanities graduates from local undergraduate universities. In addition to the narratives of undergraduate students regarding career, community, and personal development, community employers and economic groups discuss possibilities for knowledge-based work that will attract and retain local graduates in the social sciences and humanities. The possibility to better understand the planned career trajectories for young people with the aim to retain human capital presents opportunities for economic growth and community development in Canada’s Maritime region.

Robert Bridi, York University
“The Statem Civil Society, and the Agricultural Biotechnology Industry”
There are complex ways in which agricultural production, biotechnology, and the interventions by the state and civil society are interconnected. Advanced capitalism is characterized by a general (albeit temporally and spatially uneven) tendency towards technological change in its various forms. In contemporary times, biotechnology is one such form. As with all forms of technology, its emergence is a contradictory process. As an industrial phenomenon, biotechnology may be seen as an opportunity for individual segments of the capitalist class for accumulation of exchange value as well as a capitalist growth strategy at the sectoral level. Its emergence is indicative of an instantiated counter-struggle on the part of specific capitals against impinging price competition in the agricultural industry and, at a macro-scale, of the intensifying decline in the rate of profit in advanced industrial economies. The emergence and utilization of biotechnology both as a means of production and as a means of increasing (monopolistic) profit is part of a wider process of market-oriented reforms in the agrarian sector occurring at national and international scales. However, interventions on the part of the state which generally tends to play an enabling role, and of civil society whose aim is to at least partly resist the expansion of the market for biotechnology, have not ceased, so the outcomes of market-based restructuring in general and the use and consequences of biotechnology in particular are anything but automatic. The argument is illustrated with empirical evidence from the development, adoption, and production of agricultural biotechnology in the Canadian context.

Roopa Rakshit, Lakehead University
“Keewaytinook Okimakanak: Leading the way with clean-energy sources”
Nestled in the boreal landscape of northwestern Ontario are the Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) First Nation reserves that are dealing with energy insecurities for decades. Remote locations, the absence of all-season roads, off-grid status, and diesel dependency are adversely affecting their environment, individual health, socio-economic opportunities and overall well-being of these communities. As climate change is progressively and significantly affecting the weather patterns, these communities, over the last decade have experienced shorter winter road seasons and weaker ice conditions that have limited the amount of diesel fuel that are “trucked-in”, subjecting these communities to the risk of insufficient supply unless supplied by air. This latter supply method is also extremely costly. Amidst a range of challenges from raising the initial investments, efficiency and reliability factors, building local capacities, keeping pace with emerging technologies, colonial federal policies, discordant and ambiguous federal-provincial policy overlaps, and finding the right partners, the communities are adopting clean sources of energy. The paper will elicit renewable energy development in the KO communities while identifying their desire to be self-sufficient as a key motivation for engaging with energy projects and discussing the various implications of self-sufficiency in the context of Indigenous power and self-determination.

Alina Strugut, Leipzig University
“Class Spatialities of Rural Tourism, Subsistence Matters”
This paper examines how European Union (EU) rural tourism affects the well-being of local subsistence farmers as shown by the socio-spatial reconfigurations it imposes on their communities. The analysis draws on ethnographic research in Gura Riului (Romania) and Hoyos (Spain) – two villages that embraced tourism in the past two decades in response to similar socio-economic challenges, and where subsistence farmers constitute more than 80 percent of the population; but that differ in the duration and intensity of access to EU financial support for rural tourism, with Hoyos having had a longer and broader exposure than Gura Rîului. First, this paper contrasts the EU discourse per which rural tourism will economically advance and empower subsistence farmers who, seen as valuable suppliers of environmental benefits and cultural heritage, are left with little choice but to diversify their activities and embrace tourism; with the fact that these farmers, seen as uncompetitive and wasteful, are completely excluded from EU financial support for rural tourism. Then, the discussion turns towards the villages of Gura Rîului and Hoyos, and shows how, in the absence of access to EU funds, subsistence farmers position themselves in the struggle to unlock access to the income-generating opportunities and casual earnings brought by tourism developments in their communities. Drawing on Bourdieu’s elements of social structuration, it uncovers the socio-spatial reconfigurations imposed by the recent tourism developments as inscribed in geographical proximities of wealth and power; the position-takings and struggles that different social groups engage in so that they can secure access to economic resources; the emerging social distances between a new ‘leisure’ class of tourist entrepreneurs and the subsidence farmers now rendered collectively weak; and the meanings attached to these distances.

Satenia Zimmermann, Lakehead University
“Conquering Colonial Law: First Nations unwavering allegiance to improving community viability in Ontario’s remote north”
This paper focuses on the determination of First Nation communities to improve viability through natural resource development in Ontario’s remote north. A critical examination of the literature will show that colonial law continues to impede First Nation communities from obtaining levels of viability that would allow them to be independent. A historical account of the creation of the Indian reserve system, the implementation of the Indian Act , the division of Crown lands and mineral and timber rights in the province of Ontario will be conducted in order to put the current situation into its proper context. An examination Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Crown’s duty to consult, and Ontario’s Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994 , the Mining Act, 1990 and the Far North Act, 2010 , will show how colonial law has attempted to ‘catch up’ with the implementation of Aboriginal rights as guaranteed by the Charter . Landmark Supreme Court of Canada rulings will be used to support the argument that colonial law continued to obstruct Aboriginal peoples endeavours to improve community viability. This critical examination of how colonial law impedes the ways in which Aboriginal peoples have been able to improve viability shows that the law is a key component that cannot be overlooked.

Steven Jobbitt, Lakehead University
“Grass Roots Politics, Sustainable Communities, and the Greening of the Right in Contemporary Hungary”
This paper examines the role that environmentalism and sustainable development has played in radical right-wing politics and community building in rural Hungary since 2004 (the year Hungary joined the EU). Focusing in particular on right-wing community organizers in small towns and villages in Eastern Hungary, the paper argues that the notions of environmental justice and sustainability that are key aspects of the anti-EU/anti-globalization politics of Hungary’s radical right are of key importance to understanding the popular appeal of radical parties in rural Hungarian communities. Faced with significant changes as a result of the end of communism in 1989-1990, as well as significant political and economic shifts after Hungary’s ascension to the EU in 2004, a retreat into right-wing but ecologically-informed grass roots organizing is one important way that people in rural communities have adapted to both regional and even global shifts over the last 25 years. Situating the analysis in historical context, the paper argues that what we are witnessing in Hungary today is by no means new, but shares much in common with the fascist and radical right wing populist movements of the interwar period.

Sonia P. Nguyen, Western University
“The interprovincial migration of international students in Canada after permanent residency”
To maintain and grow the population and economies of smaller provinces, Canada’s immigration policy is undergoing a shift to facilitate the regionalization of new immigrants—including international students. The rapid growth of Canada’s international student population over the past decade has made them an increasingly important source of high-skilled labour for their provinces of study if they stay after graduation. Familiarity with the local community during their studies becomes an asset which improves their labour market opportunities and, in return, they contribute diverse skills and experiences to the local economy. With data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB)—a database which links temporary and permanent immigrants’ administrative files with their annual income tax files—the research analyzes the interprovincial mobility of international students who landed as permanent residents. An event history analysis will be presented on the likelihood and timing of students’ out-migration after graduation based on their demographic profile and pre-immigration experience. By illustrating which individuals are more likely to stay in their province of study, the research to be presented seeks to contribute a more nuanced understanding of each province’s ability to attract high-skilled labour in the short- and long-term.

2016 CSA Rural Sociology Conference Roundtable
The Viability of Communities I
Date: Thursday June 1st
Time: 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Location: KHE-323
Session Chair: Jennifer Jarman, Lakehead University


Karen Foster, Dalhousie University
“The Ethics of Work in Rural Atlantic Canada”
This paper draws on focus group data from an ongoing sociological study of rural economic development to consider if/how ordinary people living in rural communities think about (rationalize, make sense of, struggle with) their responsibilities vis-a-vis maintaining their community in the face of the well-known threats to rural life–outmigration, population ageing, shrinking tax bases and loss of services and infrastructure. Specifically, I analyse the extent to which people make connections between their work (paid and unpaid) and consumption and the viability of their communities into the future. For example, how do people navigate the choice of where to buy certain products, what to do for a job/career, what to study, etc., when all of these choices ostensibly have implications for the short- and long-term viability of the place they live?

Pamela Irwin, Independent Scholar
“Untangling community resilience through a comparative case study of rural Australia”
While social-ecological resilience encompasses three capacities: to absorb perturbations and retain a similar function; to self-organise; and to adapt and transform through learning, a consensual definition of community resilience remains elusive. The literature broadly supports Wilson’s (2010) notion of multifunctionality, and Forgette and Van Boening’s (2010) proposition that community resilience is a collective assessment of various attributes (political, economic, environmental, cultural, social, and personal) that are dynamically incorporated into a vertical structure. Community resilience is also associated with the existence, development, and engagement of networked resources that shape a community’s response to change, uncertainty, and unpredictability in the natural or social environment. This paper explores the differential impact of structural changes and community adaptation (resilience) in rural Australia. It is based on an analysis of empirical data captured during an ethnographic study conducted in 2012. Compared to the proactive civic engagement initiated by the surrounding much smaller (and more vulnerable) towns, the study found that a regional centre demonstrated impoverished mitigation strategies, less adaptation, reduced sustainability, and lower resilience to the challenges of global neoliberalisation, climate change, and a downward spiral of rural depopulation.

Toba Bryant, University of Ontario Institute of Technology; Scott Aquanno, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
“Job-Related Community Quality of Life in Oshawa, Canada”
The purpose of this research was to assess job-related community quality of life in Oshawa. Community quality of life is concerned with how living and working conditions affect the health and well-being of community members. Oshawa was chosen because it has experienced significant economic restructuring as a result of intensifying global economic competition. The automobile industry has been a major employer in Oshawa for over 100 years, a source of good jobs with good pay and benefits. Yet, work in the automobile industry consists increasingly of workers with no job security. We consider how work is being redefined through a complex and layered process of corporate restructuring. This restructuring includes, but it not limited to, the proliferation of nonstandard – and insecure — employment in the automobile and other sectors in the economy. We examine the political and economic context that has led to the proliferation of precarious work.

Chris Southcott, Lakehead University
“New linkages (and leakages) in northern resource development”
In Northern Canada over the past 30 years the establishment of new comprehensive land claim agreements, devolution, and new self-government initiatives have meant a change in the way that extractive industries operate in the region. Many of what were considered the standard forward, backward, and final demand leakages of the mid-20 th century continue to exist. Indeed, the movement to increased reliance on fly in fly out (FIFO) types of employment arrangements can be seen to increase some of the leakages. At the same time, we are seeing increased fiscal linkages in certain cases and Indigenous communities are using Impact Benefit Agreements to try and increase other types of linkages. Based on research gathered through the Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA) project this paper will examine the degree to which communities in Canada’s Territorial North are dealing with new leakages and attempting to increase existing and new linkages.

Tendayi Garutsa, University of Fort Hare; Fhulu Nekhwevha, University of Fort Hare
“Women;s Knowledge, Food Security and Community Viability: The Case of Khambashe Rural Households, Eastern Cape, South Africa
This paper is based upon fieldwork conducted in Khambashe rural households in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. These households were affected by the outbreak of violence when the African National Congress (ANC) was unbanned in South Africa in 1990. In the late 1970s as part of the apartheid policy the South African government implemented a decentralised homeland industrialisation system and the Ciskei Bantustan benefitted the most. This strategy hinged on employment incentives on the basis of which firms were subsidized for 95% of the wages paid to workers. In addition, firms which relocated to the bantustans could also receive incentives in the form of government subsidised loans, state-led power, labour, tax, service, transport, and import subsidies. As a result, within a short space of time more than 100 firms were established and industrial jobs in the Ciskei increased by more than 400 per cent. With the advent of the South African post-apartheid democratisation process in 1994, the subsidies to the firms established in the apartheid homelands were withdrawn. A rapid de-industrialisation process occurred. This study investigated how the Khambashe households utilized indigenous knowledge to make food security a realisable goal. The findings indicated that women carry out most of the essential tasks in food production processes which include planting, hoeing, weeding, and harvesting using local tools and with little assistance from men. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of this gendered labour and resource allocation.