Thesis Abstracts – Class XIX

Please check thesis abstracts for four Class XIX, graduated in June 2022.

bertone-daniela_photo_new-3Daniela Bertone

Green Victims: The Petroquímica Bermúdez Case and the Social Movement in

The right to a healthy environment must be legally protected, like freedom or the right to live or freedom. However, it is impossible to have a universal definition for every society understands the term environment in a particular way, so what could be an environmental harm for some countries, could be identify differently for another. As a result, there is not a single definition of green crimes. The term usually refers to illegal activities harming the environment while profits individuals or corporations from exploiting, damaging, trading or theft of natural resources. The individuals, groups or communities affected by environmental harm are the green victims. They could have a critical role in the litigation process to identify the harm; however, the courts remain reluctant to consider them. To fostering green victims’ participation in the criminal cases, environmental social movements worldwide called for effective judicial actions.

The thesis argues that incorporating social movements’ perspectives about green victims could improve the criminal response according to social expectations about environmental justice. Under a green criminology theoretical framework and qualitative methodology, this thesis aims to assess the impact of social movements in a pollution event caused by hazardous waste of the petrochemical plant named Petroquímica Bermúdez (PB) in the industrial cord of Capitán Bermúdez, an Argentinian small town. The local courts ruled twice, the first to dismiss the case and the second to override that decision and reopen the investigation. The reasonings are based on diverse conceptions about green victims. The research question is, how social movements have helped the prosecutors reframe green victims in the PB case? The research analyzes the impact of social movements advocating for environmental justice in the PB case, particularly the NGOs Taller Ecologista and Semillas de Futuro.

The research indicates while green victims did not participate in the first ruling, grassroots organizations working in Capitán Bermúdez helped the prosecutor identify green victims more compressively in the second case, and the information they publish has provided the prosecution with a renewed vision of green victimization. Every piece of that information has also enhanced residents’ self-awareness of being a green victim, facilitating a collective demand for justice. The thesis reassesses the need to expand the research into the victims’ perspectives to facilitate effective judicial responses, while recommends avoiding amendments to the hazardous waste law by embracing an approach more sensitive to victims, immediately improving their access to justice.


編集)HASNAIN, FARRAH_photo_newFarrah Hasnain

Divided Affinities: Cultural Identities of Brazilian Sansei in Japanese and Brazilian Schools

The aim of this study is to analyze the extent of the students’ preparedness for integrating into Japanese society and their Brazilian Nikkei community during enrollment and post-graduation, and the correlation between Brazilian/Japanese school attendance and affinity and sense of belonging for the Brazilian Nikkei communities and Japanese communities. 20 total Nikkei residents were interviewed in Shizuoka, Aichi, and Gunma.

The history of migration between Japan and Brazil can be traced back to the early 1900s. As the influx of Brazilian Nikkei migrants occurred in the 1980s during the Bubble Era, Brazilian schools also began to pop up around these ethnic enclaves in the 1990s, with approximately 40 accredited schools operating today. This also dives into certain themes, such as the development of multicultural identities in children and young adults, social acculturation for ethnic minorities, and the definition of “Nikkei” (people of Japanese descent who have resided outside of Japan, often used interchangeably with referring to anyone of mixed Japanese heritage in Japan), “Nisei” (second-generation, descendants of first-generation Issei), and “Sansei” (descendants of Nisei).

This research provides new insights into the formation of multicultural identities, as well as the correlation between Brazilian Nikkei/Japanese school enrollment and multicultural coexistence in Japan. Moreover, the analysis that is presented in this study conveys valuable insights for future research that explore the various interactions among different communities. By comparing the social experiences of those who attended Brazilian schools and Japanese schools, there is a deeper understanding of what it means to be “Japanese”, and how this demographic in particular perceive themselves independently as collective members of the Brazilian Nikkei community at large.

Overall, the Sansei participants felt that their enrollment in Brazilian schools positively influenced their affinity towards their mixed heritage to a huge extent, while enrollment in Japanese schools is associated with higher financial security. They also preferred to distinguish themselves as members of a collective “Nikkei” community, rather than measuring how “Brazilian” or “Japanese” they are.


VOJNO, NATALIJA_photo_newNatalija Vojno

Braiding knowledge systems as environmental peacebuilding:
Exploring the co-application of Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews within Great Lakes water governance

Environmental peacebuilding has evolved since Conca and Dabelko’s seminal work on peacemaking to now include preventative interventions as well as those that occur post-conflict. In recent years, both practitioners and academics have identified several gaps considering the focus on interstate conflicts as well as the need to recognize the leadership of women, Indigenous, and youth peacebuilding actors.  In parallel, water governance researchers are increasingly drawing attention to the political ontologies that validate or invalidate ways of knowing. However, the process of integrating worldviews in the sustainability sciences risks instrumentalizing belief systems in a way that perpetuates underlying power and political asymmetries.  

Using a phenomenological understanding of peace, and thereby positioning the study from the assumption that dialogic empathy is valuable, the thesis explored the barriers to the equitable co-application and co-production of knowledge within the context of the water governance in the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence watershed.

A mixed-methods, dual-phase exploratory approach asked the following questions:

  1. What are the barriers to braiding Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge systems for the purpose of great lakes water governance as understood by non-Indigenous people engaged in water governance in Ontario?
  2. How can analytical dimensions of environmental peacebuilding and critical water governance be reconciled for the purpose of operationalizing positive peace between nations in the Great Lakes?
  3. How can conceptual frameworks support the incorporation of a plurality of ontologies for equitable environmental policymaking in the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence watershed?

Recognizing that worldviews shape the completeness of watershed management strategies, a new model is proposed for understanding the dimensions by which multiple ontologies – and their related epistemological, axiological, and phenomenological manifestations – can be conceived as co-existing in a pluralistic and dynamic relationship.


WELLESLEY-COLE, OLIVIA_photo_newOlivia Wellesley-Cole

‘Why am I displaced?’ Perceptions of drivers of violent ethno-religious conflicts in Rakhine State, Myanmar

This thesis looks at the situation of recent violent conflicts which have resulted in significant displacements of the communities involved. The conflicts are often characterised as ‘ethno-religious’ conflicts by those external to the conflict; however, it is not clear how those affected by the conflict perceive the reasons. The thesis uses a range of qualitative techniques to find out from those who have been displaced or otherwise affected by the violence what they see as the drivers of the conflict.

The significance of this research relates to how the international community can best help vulnerable people in crisis, when foreigners are dispatched to other countries to deliver humanitarian and peacebuilding services. Those who mandate the deployment of such staff can range from the United Nations Security Council through development donor governments to humanitarian organisations, so the relevance spectrum of this question is broad.

It differs from other research in that the main methodology involved conversing with persons displaced by conflict, to assess their views perceptions on why the conflict happened and what the key drivers were. A literature review supplemented the interviews.

The case study is Rakhine State, Myanmar, where various United Nations agencies had been providing services at different times. The violence investigated includes long-standing structural violence in North Rakhine State; intercommunal violence in 2012 that led to significant physical aggression between the Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists including house torching and fatal attacks and more than 140,000 primarily Rohingya Muslims made homeless in internally displaced persons (IDPs) and forced into relief camps; and ‘clearance operations’ by the Myanmar Army in 2016/7 which caused a mass exodus of more than 750,000 Rohingya Muslims as refugees to Bangladesh.

While there were clear ethnic as well as religious differences between the two main conflicting groups, these differences were not identified as the main causes of the violence. There was, however, ongoing conflict about whether certain groups were eligible for citizenship in Myanmar based on the primordial theory of ethnicity and the history of the groups’ existence in the country. In addition, underlying discrimination, lack of education, instigation from outsiders and deliberate disinformation campaigns by government forces (including use of social media) were additional factors raised.

Furthermore, some of the interviewees expounded unexpected approaches to reconciliation.