Mount Allison researcher examining community violence receives SSHRC funding for studies
Sociology professor Dr. Ardath Whynacht is working with communities across North America to examine community-based transformative justice and the 'emotional labour' of violence prevention
SACKVILLE, NB — Dr. Ardath Whynacht, sociology professor at Mount Allison University, has been awarded a research grant through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant program. The news came as part of a national SSHRC announcement made on Nov. 15.
Whynacht’s project, titled Insurgent Love: Transformative Justice Networks & Visions of Emotional Justice, looks at community responses to violence outside the criminal justice system, including family and partner violence and violence against marginalized groups.
“We have entire communities who don’t feel safe in the criminal justice system,” says Whynacht. “In response to this, community groups have begun to organize and put other measures in place to reduce interpersonal violence and transform the conditions that create vulnerability and victimization. Communities are responding to the failures of the system in interesting and transformative ways.”
Working with groups in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Oakland, CA over a two-year period, Whynacht will collect stories of members of community-based transformative justice projects, and explore how communities respond to sexual abuse, family violence and assault outside of, or in addition to, the structures provided by policing and the criminal justice system.
“For this kind of study, building relationships is key,” says Whynacht, who has worked within Federal prisons for almost a decade. “Learning directly from the individuals and communities affected is essential."
Along with her research looking at community-based transformative justice, Whynacht’s research areas include sociology of health, prisons, trauma, violence and emotions. She is interested in how social institutions impact how we 'feel' and how this affects the organization of power in our society.
“Ardath’s work covers difficult but essential topics in community safety and transformative justice projects,” says Dr. Jeff Ollerhead, Mount Allison provost and vice-president, academic and research. “I wish to congratulate her on this recent national funding and look forward to seeing the results of her work.”
Whynacht will be working with her collaborators to turn her interviews into a series of podcasts featuring interviews with well-known activists, advocates, and survivors of violent crime.