Catherine Corrigall-Brown

Prospective Graduate Students / Postdocs

This faculty member is currently not actively recruiting graduate students or Postdoctoral Fellows, but might consider co-supervision together with another faculty member.


Research Classification

Research Interests

social movements
political sociology
social movements
social psychology

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Research Methodology

participant observation
content analysis

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision

Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.

Environmental politics after disaster strikes: the cultural dynamics of public participation and mobilization (2022)

A central goal of my dissertation research is to better understand how cultural dynamics shape environmental politics and generate inequalities in decision-making processes. I draw on the 2014 Mount Polley mining disaster and subsequent water management plans to examine public participation and mobilization in Likely, British Columbia. I use 42 semi-structured interviews, 4,723 pages of documents including emails and letters associated with Mount Polley’s public liaison committee, and 208 news articles to assess the relationship between culture, inequality, and environmental politics.I begin by adopting a procedural justice framework to examine how cultural dynamics facilitate or constrain meaningful opportunities for residents to shape decision-making. I find that strategies of agenda denial (nonrecognition and symbolic placation) prevent residents from meaningfully participating in the definition of environmental problems and their proposed solutions. I develop the concept of manufactured confusion to highlight inequalities in meaning-making resources and capabilities. Manufactured confusion is a taken for granted condition that emerges from three practices: (1) a reliance on a large volume of scientific information (2) insufficient resources to interpret complex scientific data and (3) insufficient opportunities to discuss scientific data. Next, I examine how emotions shape the social relations and practices that structure environmental deliberations. I find that trauma from the disaster and experiences of procedural injustice sparked intense and durable negative emotions including anger, animosity, fear, and frustration. The presence of unmanaged negative emotions influences two related outcomes. First, negative emotions facilitate the emergence of polarization as empathy walls between stakeholders are secured instead of scaled. Second, often linked to the first, negative emotions facilitate disengagement as participants seek to avoid emotional harm. Finally, I shift to examine how cultural context and capacity prevent social movement emergence and channel residents towards quiet mobilization. I find that a cultural disavowal of contentious collective action, the presence of community corrosion, and the absence of formal mobilizing structures inhibit contentious mobilization. In its place, individual and collective forms of quiet mobilization emerge in the face of mounting environmental risks. Quiet mobilization includes civic practices such as writing op-eds, letters, launching public awareness campaigns and initiating environmental permit appeals.

View record

The role of ethnic organizations: fostering integration and making connections in Canada and beyond (2018)

Individuals have the option to maintain ties to their ancestral country while settling into Canada. These connections are called transnational practices, the activities and attachments individuals have across nation states, such as celebrating festivals or engaging in business investments based in the ancestral country. I conducted 61 interviews and engaged in 85.5 hours of participant observations in four ethnically-based organizations in Toronto to examine the factors that shape an individual’s participation in transnational practices, the meaning individuals give to their practices, and the identities that they develop. I draw attention to how organizations facilitate these practices, in part by lowering the cost to participating. Specifically, I demonstrate how organizations create the space for the development of social ties, which are critical for spreading information and building social pressure among group members. I compare political and cultural groups and find that political organizations were most explicit in connecting various types of transnational practices. As a result, individuals belonging to political organizations participated in a greater number and variety of transnational practices. I also examine the meaning individuals give to their engagement in transnational practices. I create a four-fold typology to categorize individuals’ transnational practices as rooted, multiple, wavering, or romantic connections. I show how the language spoken at events and the activities hosted by organizations shape the meanings individuals attach to their practices. Last, I examine how individuals create and develop their identities within organizations. I argue that these organizations help foster particular ways of enacting the Canadian hyphen. Individuals can come to see their Canadian and ancestral country identities as connected in different ways, what I label as core, contextual, or composite identities. This dissertation highlights the critical role that ethnic organizations can play for newcomers, established co-ethnic members, and larger society. Unpacking the role of these organizations gives insight into the complex ways that individuals integrate into Canada as a whole while maintaining connections beyond our borders and speaks to the larger issues of inclusion and integration in society.

View record


Membership Status

Member of G+PS
View explanation of statuses

Program Affiliations

Academic Unit(s)


If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Read tips on applying, reference letters, statement of interest, reaching out to prospective supervisors, interviews and more in our Application Guide!