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Congratulations to Dr. Annette Tezli and Dr. Jyoti Gondek

Dr. Jyoti Gondek and Dr. Annette Tezli.

Congratulations to Dr. Annette Tezli and Dr. Jyoti Gondek -  two newly minted Sociology Doctoral Graduates who ‘walked the stage’ with their PhDs this June, 2014. 


Jyoti Gondek

Biography: Jyoti Gondek has been operating her Calgary-based company, Tick Consulting, since 2002. With an academic background in urban sociology and corporate social responsibility, as well as professional experience in both the public and private sectors, Jyoti is able to offer expertise to clients in a number of areas including strategic planning, research, communications and stakeholder engagement. She has worked on a variety of projects for clients in the land development industry, and recently defended (2014) her PhD thesis dealing with the dynamics of growth in the hybrid urban-rural fringe using Rocky View County as a case study. As a member of the Calgary Planning Commission and campaign manager for City of Calgary Ward 3 Councillor Jim Stevenson, Jyoti possesses a practical understanding of the intricacies of municipal decision-making processes. Jyoti has moderated candidate debates for federal and municipal elections.


Jyoti’s Doctoral Research:

As cities expand their boundaries into surrounding territories, it has created a dilemma in how we understand the spaces on the outskirts of urban centres. Urban analysts and the general public are equally disenchanted with traditional dichotomies of urban and rural to describe these hybrid areas. Existing scholarly literature has addressed this shift through the use of concepts like suburbs, exurbs, and edge cities which represent the invasion of urban forms into rural areas. However, these concepts fail to capture the contested nature and hybridity of this territory where rural and urban confront each other through opposing values, interests and perceptions of the land.

Rocky View County, surrounding the city of Calgary in Alberta, provides a significant case study of the clash between urban and rural. Following a mixed methods research protocol, this thesis moves the literature in new directions by utilizing discourse analysis and social constructionism to reveal the range of pressures, internal conflicts and competing interests within the county. Instead of the traditional distinctions between urban and rural, the term urban-rural nexus is proposed and described as a hybrid space that must be viewed as a distinct settlement type. Hybridity is understood as the coexistence of opposing urban and rural land uses and values that create conflict among multiple constituent groups holding different social interpretations of this shared space. This thesis breaks new ground by offering an alternative analytical framework through the dimensions of conflict approach to identify and investigate the multifaceted nature of conflict in the urban-rural nexus.


Annette Tezli

Biography: I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. I completed my undergraduate work at the European University VIADRINA in Germany and graduated with my MA in Sociology from the University of Wyoming in 2004. I then returned to Berlin for a couple of years where I worked as an intern for Infratest dimap (TNS Infratest group), an institute specializing in electoral and political research. Subsequently, I interned at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin. In 2006, I relocated to Canada to pursue a PhD in Sociology at the University of Calgary, which I successfully completed in November 2013.  

Annette’s Doctoral Research:

Despite decades of research, homelessness remains a paradoxical feature of even the most affluent societies, including Canada. Existing research is predominantly quantitative in nature and focuses on the identification of individual-level factors contributing to homelessness. A growing body of research focuses on the ways in which institutional environments produce “the homeless” as knowable subjects and shape their day-to-day experiences. To ethnographically explore the social organization of service provision to homeless families at a Calgary family shelter, I conducted in-depth interviews, engaged in participant observation, and analyzed various texts, such as institutional records, pertinent policy documents, and news reports. The different data generation techniques allowed me to examine the complex social world of the shelter from multiple perspectives, taking into account shelter clients, staff, administrators, policy makers, and the intricate social, political, and economic environments in which the shelter operated.  Through my research I gained a deeper understanding of the complexities of the organization of service delivery within the shelter’s confines, which in turn shapes the day-to-day lived experiences of sheltered homeless families.