Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland (2013)

Title: Collaborative Governance in Rural Regions: An Examination in Newfoundland and Ireland.

Supervisory Committee: Dr. Kelly Vodden (Environmental Policy Institute, Memorial University), Prof. David Douglas (School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph), Dr. Brendan O’Keeffe (Geography, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick), and Dr. Keith Storey (Geography, Memorial University)

Examining Committee: Dr. Ratana Chuenpagdee (Geography and Canada Research Chair in Natural Resource Sustainability and Community Development, Memorial University), Dr. Doug House (Sociology, Memorial University), and Dr. Michael Woods (Geography, Aberystwyth University)

Abstract: Throughout Canada, rural communities are seeking new forms of governance to address challenges and opportunities associated with changing social, economic, and environmental dynamics. Rural communities are deliberately seeking localized means of decision making and planning by identifying various strategies to address these ever-changing dynamics. A leading Canadian rural researcher suggested ‘new governance’ is the revolution that no one noticed. The purpose of the research is to increase the understanding of the influence of people, relationships, and geography on rural regional governance models. The four main questions to be investigated are:

    • Is the collaborative governance framework, proposed by Ansell and Gash (2007), appropriate for understanding rural regional governance?
    • How do individuals, community-based organizations, and other key stakeholders influence the rural regional governance process or processes?
    • How do spatial dimensions (regional boundaries) and place-based relationships influence the formation and operation of rural regional governance models?
    • What is the relationship between historical/legacy government(s) and rural regional governance models?

BU-Logo-color-horizMaster of Rural Development, Brandon University (2005)

Title: Choosing to Create Their Own Future: Co-operatives, Community Economic Development and the Future of Rural Manitoba

Abstract: Rural residents, communities and governments of all levels are promoting community economic development (CED) as a vehicle for achieving sustainability. Although there are various types of community-based organizations, some academics describe co-operatives as an alternative mechanism that can serve as an agent of CED. Co-operatives are community-oriented, democratic, flexible, participatory and, as such, well suited to community development. Further, co-operatives assist in the provision of needed services and employment, and the enhancement of community or social cohesion.

This research undertook an exploratory study designed to provide a better understanding of the role of co-operatives as agents of CED. Through the use of both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, the study examined the knowledge and perceptions of community residents who were involved in co-operative activities and representatives of co-operative organizations in rural Manitoba. The similarities between the underlying principles of co-operatives and CED suggest that co-operatives could act as agents of community development and sustainability. This conceptual affinity was documented through telephone surveys with representatives of co-operative organizations (n=31) and key informant interviews (n=26). Co-operatives offer the potential to address community needs in the 21st century, and the results of this research are important for understanding how co-operatives can assist communities in becoming sustainable, revitalized places in the new rural economy.

Supervisory Committee: Dr. Ken Bessant (Rural Development, Brandon University), Dr. Robert C. Annis (Rural Development Institute, Brandon University), and Dr. Erasmus Monu (Sociology, Brandon University).

Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Department of Geography, Brandon University (2003)

Thesis Title: Non-Material Cultural Diffusion via the Internet in Taipei, Taiwan

Abstract: The development and the mass commercialization of the Internet in the early 1990s has brought reflection upon aspects of diffusion studies.  Unlike traditional forms of mass media (e.g. television, radio, etc.), the Internet is an unscheduled and interactive point to multi-point venue of communication.  Diffusion via the Internet allows for non-material cultural phenomena to be diffused over great distances.  One of the goals of this study was to re-examine four influential diffusion models, all of which were developed prior to the mass commercialization of the Internet.  The concept of world cities was utilized to aid in re-examining these models.  The connections the city of Taipei has to the global network are important in examining the diffusion of non-material cultural phenomena.

An in-person survey was administered to 137 youths in downtown Taipei, Taiwan who frequent public Internet cafés, in order to uncover trends in Internet use and adoption of Western culture.  The study concludes that the Internet may play an important role in the diffusion of non-material culture, and that two of the diffusion models developed in the early 1960s are capable of modelling this diffusion.

Supervisory Committee: Dr. Derrek Eberts (Geography, Brandon University) and John C. Everitt (Geography, Brandon University).