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    Unpacking the Food of Food Assistance.
    (Wheaton College. (Norton, Mass.), 2022-05-16) MacLaughlin, Delia Aileen
    Food assistance is one form of aid that people in poverty can use to lighten the load of financial stress and ensure that they can maintain a nutritious, sustaining diet. Food pantries are a common final distribution site of food assistance where people experiencing food insecurity can receive free food. Previous research has begun to determine how the preferences of food pantry clients can better inform how pantries are structured and what food is stocked in them. This previous work has highlighted the ways that pantry clients are constrained in their ability to choose what to eat because of a need to visit a pantry. However, there is a gap in knowledge of how food assistance as an institutionalized system plays a role in shaping what food even makes its way to pantry shelves. Using in-depth interviews with 14 employees of food pantries and the main food bank in Columbus, Ohio, this study maps a new understanding of the nuanced path that food takes from production to donation. In doing so, we are able to see the influence of neoliberal ideology that promotes poverty governance and stigmatization of poverty that even fundamentally shapes what food is donated to food assistance and how pantries that distribute it are modeled. In applying the influence of neoliberalism on the food assistance system, a new concept of food governance is developed. Analysis reveals ways in which it can be combated on a local level to move food assistance to be more representative of elements of food sovereignty and food justice.
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    More than just friends : understanding the role of casual sex in lgbtq+ identity formation.
    (Wheaton College. (Norton, Mass.), 2021-05-16) Hankes, Rose
    The objective of this study is to illuminate how college students who self-identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community partake in casual sex or hookups as a tool for identity formation during their coming-out process. This research challenges the assumption of casual sex as a tool of gender-based violence, instead pushing for a more positive understanding of casual sex as a space for learning about oneself and negotiating boundaries. Furthermore, this research aims to destigmatize queer sex and expand our understanding past harm reduction, instead working towards understanding how to best support queer students during their time in college so that they are comfortable in their identity and sexually literate upon graduation.
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    Doing, Redoing, and Undoing Masculinity in Environmentalism
    (2021-05-16) Robinson, Lola
    Conventional and traditional visions of masculinity idealise and glorify, violence, aggression, and destruction while undermining more caring traits such as altruism, empathy, and compassion. These gender scripts inform men’s perception of themselves, others, and the world around them as they seek to adhere to and fit in with the surrounding culture. These notions of masculinity are subject to extensive academic and media attention, while comparatively less attention is paid to the men who challenge or reject these harmful traits. Traditionally masculine values stand in tension to environmentalism, prioritising money, power, and profitability above care and respect for nature. Previous research suggests that traditional ideas of masculinity can be a deterrent to pro-environmental behaviours due to a perceived link between ‘green behaviours’ and femininity. But as of yet, there is a dearth of empirical research on those men who overcome such barriers to engage with environmentalism. This study therefore draws on in-depth interviews with 14 pro-environmental men from across America, Britain and Canada, to understand their experiences navigating the gendered terrain of environmentalism. This research complicates our understanding of performativity within environmentalism, as the men in this study show both complicity and resistance to hegemonic gender structures within the scope of their environmentalism.
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    "Sing gently as one": the effect of technology on experiences of belonging in virtual communities.
    (Wheaton College. (Norton, Mass.), 2021-05-16) Hirst, Jillian K.
    The social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for virtual communities. Deemed “superspreaders”, choral singers have turned to virtual music making and have created subsequent virtual choir communities. In a music community, such as a choir or orchestra, participants may experience belongingness through music making. But can a sense of belonging be felt when this musical community and the act of making music occurs completely virtually? Prior research has addressed experiences of belonging within virtual communities, but experience of belonging within virtual music communities demands further research. This study explores how technology affects choir participants’ experiences of belonging within a virtual choir community, specifically composer Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 6 – Sing Gently, which is composed of approximately 17,000 participants from 129 countries. To determine the degree of belongingness in Virtual Choir 6, choral singers who have participated in both in-person and virtual choirs were surveyed in order to compare their experiences in the two settings. The results showed that respondents were able to experience belonging in both in-person and virtual choirs through virtual ritualistic participation, as well as interactions facilitated through social media. These results extend applications of Collins’(2004) Interaction Ritual Chain Theory and Small’s (1998) concept of Musicking to the virtual context, and have positive practical implications for virtual music making and arts-based community engagement beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
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    Residential segregation and educational equity in the suburbs of Detroit
    (Wheaton College. (Norton, Mass.), 2020-05-10) Lawler, Margaret
    Segregation and educational equity are still large issues in America, specifically in the suburbs of Detroit. Choices and structures combine to create residential segregation which in turn creates educational segregation and educational inequity. Many studies have shown how the history of redlining and racist real estate practices have created de facto segregation in the north, however, there is less research on how choices have intertwined with these practices to further segregation. This study looks at two neighboring suburbs of Detroit that are heavily segregated. “Greenville” is a middle to upper-class white suburb that is 89% White. In contrast, neighboring “Fairview” is a middle class black suburb that is 70% black. Through analysis of in-depth interviews with residents of these two suburbs, this study discovers how individual acts of prejudice work together to maintain the structures of residential segregation in the suburbs of Detroit. Additionally, this residential segregation perpetuated educational segregation and inequity between these two towns.