Photo of Deborah  Komarnisky

Deborah Komarnisky

PhD Candidate (Legal Studies)


I joined the Ph.D. program in Legal Studies with a concentration in Political Economy in the fall of 2019. I focus on consumers and consumption, brand culture, food security, retail and food governance, and discourse analysis. My research specifically focuses on the unique social time we live in, where the price of food has become a crisis, with citizens unable to afford basic groceries. This crisis displays itself through a polylogue discussion between retailers, citizens, and various levels of government within the current context of high inflation and post-Covid-19 life in Canada. The talk, discussion, and chat comprising discourses provide insight into how actors understand and make sense of the crisis, their impact, and how society and governments respond. Research into events and discursive spaces provides insight into how information is shared and how it reflects the norms and values of the participating actors. I seek to map and analyze talk, chat, and discussions about the food pricing crisis by considering who is talking, the content, and the effects. As a central research question, I ask, how is this crisis in food governance articulated in the discourses of the food pricing crisis? This crisis brings into focus the systemic inequalities and food insecurity experienced by Canadians and the need for a regulated food pricing system. How citizens, retailers and governments talk about the crisis reveals how Canadian society is confronting social inequality.

Research Interests

  • Consumers, Consumption and Brand Culture.
  • Food Insecurity.
  • Governance, Self-Governance and Identity.
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Counterfeiting.
  • Popular Culture and Cultural Theory.
  • Critical Legal Theory and Crisis Theory.
  • Social Constructionism and Discourse Analysis


Dr. Sheryl Hamilton


M.A., Law & Legal Studies
Carleton University

B.A. (High Honours) in Law and Legal Studies
Carleton University

Diploma in Regulatory Law Administration
Algonquin College, Ottawa, Ontario

B.A. (Honours) in Mass Communication
Carleton University

Scholarships & Awards

2023 to 2024 – Ontario Graduate Scholarship ($15,000)

2021 to 2022 – Ontario Graduate Scholarship ($15,000)

2020 to 2021 – Ontario Graduate Scholarship ($15,000)


Komarnisky, Deborah, Book Review “A Review of DeBrabander, Firmin 2020. Life After Privacy: Reclaiming Democracy in a Surveillance Society.” Surveillance & Society, 19:1 (2021).

Komarnisky, Deborah, Book Review “A Review of Molitorisz, Sacha 2020. Net Privacy: How we can be Free in an Age of Surveillance”, Surveillance & Society, 18:4 (2020).

Komarnisky, Deborah; Book Review, “Crime Prevention, Migration Control and Surveillance Practices: Welfare Bureaucracy as Mobility Deterrent”, AmeriQuests 15.1 (2020).

Komarnisky, Deborah; Book Review “False Positive: Private Profit in Canadas Medical Laboratories” from Alternative Routes, A Journal of Critical Social Research; Vol 25 (2014) at p. 310.

Teaching Assistant

LAWS 2908 – Approaches in Legal Studies (Legal Research Methods) – Fall/Winter 2022/2023, Fall/Winter 2021/2022, Fall/Winter 2020/2021, Fall/Winter 2019/2020

Kinàmàgawin Indigenous Learning Certificate, April 2023, Centre for Indigenous Support and Community Engagement, Carleton University.

Course Design Fundamentals, March 2022, Teaching and Learning Services, Carleton University.

Certificate in Teaching Assistant Skills, April 2021, Education Development Centre, Carleton University.

Courses Taught

LAWS 3205 (Consumer Law) – Fall 2018, 2017 and 2016.

LAWS 3202 (Intellectual Property) – Fall 2015.

Selected Conference Presentations

“The Historical Influences Leading to the Development of Loyalty Reward Programs in Canada”, (Re)Thinking History: Underhill Graduate Student Colloquium – Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, March 18, 2022, Ottawa, ON 2022.

“Mapping the Consumer Consumption Club: An Institutional Ethnography of Retail Spaces” presented at the Emerging Perspectives: FPA Graduate Student Conference – Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, March 8 – 9 2022, Ottawa, ON 2022.

“Data Mining within Reward-centric Capitalism: A Discussion of Data Analysis, Governance and Loyalty Reward Cards” presented at the Workshop on the Impact of New Technologies on Public and Private Powers: National and Supernational Perspectives, University of Milan, CERIDAP and Carleton University, November 12, 2021, Ottawa, ON 2021.

“The Reward-Centric Consumer: Governing Consumer Identity, Agency, and Brand Loyalty in the Retail Market” presented at the Graduate Law and Legal Students Conference, Carleton University, May 13, 2021, Ottawa, ON. 2021.

“The Reward-Centric Consumer: Transforming Consumer Identity, Agency, and Brand Loyalty in the Retail Market” presented at Transitioning, Communications Students Graduate Caucus Conference, Carleton University, March 22-23, Ottawa, ON. 2021.

“(Un)Masking Reward-Centric Capitalism: A Discussion on Loyalty Reward Cards, Consumers, and Brand Loyalty in the Retail Market” presented at (Un)Masking, Institute of Political Economy Graduate Students Conference, Carleton University, February 25-26, Ottawa, ON. 2021.

“Let’s Make a Deal: A Case Study on Privacy, Surveillance and Consumer Loyalty Reward Points Cards in Canada” presented at Emerging Perspectives, Faculty of Public Affairs Graduate Student Conference, Carleton University, March 2-3, Ottawa, ON. 2020.

“George Orwell’s 1984 – A Case Study in the (De) Construction of the Discourse of Social Surveillance” presented at Beyond Boundaries, Communications Students Graduate Caucus Conference, Carleton University, February 27-28, Ottawa, ON. 2020.