Beyond Protection: Responding to the Problem of Trafficking in Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada through the Lens of Paul Ricœur’s Ethics of Human Capability and Mutual Recognition

Title: Beyond Protection: Responding to the Problem of Trafficking in Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada through the Lens of Paul Ricœur’s Ethics of Human Capability and Mutual Recognition
Authors: Smith, Sheila M.
Date: 2016-11-01
Abstract: Twenty years after Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples produced their landmark report, which named mutual recognition as the first principle required for a new relationship, Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission echoed the call for Aboriginal peoples and settler-Canadians alike to live mutuality. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal scholars throughout a wide range of fields, such as feminist theologies, postcolonial biblical studies, and political science, represent those who grapple with an intelligible articulation of mutuality as a lived social praxis. While mutuality is not a new concept, living it is a challenge, and a gap remains in the literature that provides a good theory about how mutual recognition is actually lived. My thesis is that Paul Ricœur’s ethical thought makes a contribution that helps respond to the call for mutual recognition as a fundamental element for better Indigenous - Settler relations in Canada. In particular, he offers to settler-Canadians a helpful approach to bridge the problem between adherence to mutuality in principle and a demonstrated a failure to live it with Aboriginal peoples. One area that provides evidence of such failure is a protectionist model as the basis for addressing the disproportional occurrence of trafficking in Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. The first aim of my thesis is to help settler-Canadians to distinguish between protection and mutuality as models for social action, and to differentiate their role in each. A second aim is to better understand mutuality and to ask how it offers a better alternative. A third aim is to respond to the question, “How is mutuality a lived praxis?” The point of addressing these three aims is to assist settler-Canadians in their own comprehension of mutuality. Further, this thesis helps to develop a view of mutual recognition between Aboriginal peoples and settler Canadians, and to identify a theological contribution. Finally, my hope is to indicate how mutual recognition in Canada might serve to assist practical social action to help end the problem of trafficking in Aboriginal women and girls. These goals will be explored first by defining in the Introduction the concepts of settler colonialism, Indigenous – Settler relations, and protection. In the first Chapter, the global reality of human trafficking, Canada’s implication in it, and a gap in Canada’s domestic response concerning Aboriginal women and girls will be exposed. The following chapter will discuss the question of protection as a form of power-over and suggest mutuality as an alternative to protection when addressing social injustice. Subsequent chapters will develop Paul Ricœur’s understanding of mutual recognition. Ricœur’s mediated self, as the basis for understanding mutual recognition, will open readers to a trajectory that leads to festive recognition. Festivity is the theological contribution Ricœur makes to understanding and living mutual recognition in its fullness. The view of mutual recognition examined in this thesis is evaluated in the concluding chapter, where a concrete initiative for human trafficking prevention is examined.
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses