March 11 research event examines key social issues

Les Jacobs

Topics ranging from food insecurities and the growing income inequality in Canada, to federal human rights policies and social diversity will be discussed at a Social Science Research Round Table on Tuesday, March 11 at York University. The roundtable, which is organized by the Research and Ethics Committee of the Department of Social Science in partnership with the Institute for Social Research, will take place from 12 to 2pm in room S701 in the Ross Building on the Keele campus.

Chaired by social science Professors Denielle Elliott and Mark Peacock, the event features presentations by Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Professors Claudio Colaguori (Department of Human Rights & Equity Studies), Les Jacobs (Law & Society Program and the director of the Institute for Social Research), Tanja Juric (Law & Society Program) and Miriam Smith (Law & Society Program).

In “Food InSecurities in the Urban West: The Corporate Colonization of the Mouth and Backlash Movements Against It”, Colaguori discusses consumer culture influences on eating behaviour, the health consequences of nutritional deficiencies and the difficulties of researching public eating habits. He will also talk about the critical theoretical models that help make sense of the power relations between corporate interests and the pursuit of individual health.

His teaching and research are framed by critical theory. His two recent books, Agon Culture: Competition, Conflict and the Problem of Domination and Security (2012), and Life and Death: Governmentality and Biopower in the Post 9/11 Era (2013), deal with conflict and social control.

Lesley Jacobs
Lesley Jacobs

In his presentation, Jacobs discusses findings from a January 2014 national survey conducted by York’s Institute for Social Research in partnership with the Toronto Star on what Canadians think about the growing income inequality in Canada, its causes, and what should be done about it. The survey involved telephone interviews with 1,800 Canadians. His presentation situates this research within a broader set of survey research conducted internationally over the past year about the growing income inequality in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

Jacobs’ many books include, Pursuing Equal Opportunities (2004), Rights and Deprivation (2012), Balancing Competing Human Rights in a Diverse Society (2012), and Linking Global Trade and Human Rights (2014).

Miriam Smith
Miriam Smith

Smith’s presentation, “The Human Rights Maturity Model: Benchmarking Rights in the Canadian Workplace”, focuses on her current research on the relationship between human rights and neoliberalism and, specifically, on the recent evolution of Canadian human rights policies at the federal level. She uses the example of the Human Rights Maturity Model that was developed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to explore the shift to a culture of auditing and benchmarking of workplace rights.

Smith is the editor of Group Politics and Social Movements in Canada (forthcoming 2014) and author of Political Institutions and Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United States and Canada (2008).

In “Politics of Post-Race and Post-Secular Discourses in Socially Diverse Societies”, Juric examines the neoliberal influences in post-race and post-secular discourses. In particular, she asks what happens to social diversity and cultural identity in post-race and post-secular discourses.

Juric’s teaching and research focuses on social diversity and law, with a particular interest in exploring how political subjectivity and citizenship is informed and/or problematized by religious, cultural and racial or ethnic identity.

This round table discussion is free and open to the public. All are welcome to attend.