James Tansey

Associate Professor

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


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.

Sustainable Seafood in an Era of Overfishing (2015)

People derive benefits from the seafood trade including food security, work and profits. As trade increases worldwide, the impacts of seafood production increase and are known to include overfishing and labour abuses in distant source areas, including the developing countries that provide most of the world’s seafood. Over the past decade, as demand for sustainably certified wild-caught seafood has begun to increase, seafood buyers, sellers and NGOs have taken voluntary measures to encourage sustainable seafood production, but without knowledge of the effects. What kinds of effects result from voluntary industry measures for sustainable seafood? Do the effects improve the social and environmental impacts of seafood production? Drawing from quality assurance methods and sustainability theory, seven voluntary measures taken in the private sector between 2008 and 2014 were evaluated for their effects against ten qualitative attributes said by sustainable seafood scholars to be necessary conditions for stewardship of common pool natural resources. Results indicate that the seven measures led to new forms of industry self-regulation that help to control some input variables of overfishing and to some increased compliance across supply chains. New empirical information was produced by the measures to determine where change is needed to solve conflicts and to reduce risks where they occur in seafood production. Some measures made access to resources more secure for business. Others provide diagnostic tools to reduce risks for overfishing, illegal fishing and forced and trafficked labour in seafood supply chains. Overall the measures helped the private sector to see and understand what is happening in source fisheries and to agree on ways to fix unsustainable practices.

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Master's Student Supervision

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

Values, culture, social capital, change: the case of the car coop (2011)

This is a study of the oppositional social forces at play within and around the hybrid commercial social enterprise. The literature reveals these tension points regularly in the history of the social enterprise movement as a whole, and within individual organizations within the movement. Typically, these tension points, quasi-paradoxes, or oppositional co-existences are cultural and values-based in nature, stemming largely from a core egalitarian-utilitarian synthesis that is emerging globally in many forms, including via social enterprise. Consequently, the theoretical frameworks used to explore these questions are also socio-cultural, economic, and values-based. In the early years of the coop, the social entrepreneur is the key mediating force between the entrepreneurial, market-building demands of a new business, and the egalitarian institutional cultural predisposition that led to its creation. Later in the institutional history the social entrepreneur’s prolonged success at market development catalyzes a wider stakeholder debate and cultural crisis regarding the future of the institution under conditions of rapid and persistent growth. The organization’s members, arguably the most important stakeholder, are explored last - as a separate unit of analysis, but through a similar values-culture tension lens. It is found that the organization's members hold a complex, often paradoxical mix of utilitarian and egalitarian values, and that both are important to the organization's value proposition. The study is a qualitative inductive ethnography undertaken in the format of a single paradigmatic case study.

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