Communication - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Community Gardens in Vancouver: An exploration of communication, food sovereignty, and activism

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-04
Abstract: 

This research project used Claire Nettle’s analysis of community gardening, using social movement theory to assess whether Vancouver community gardens may be places of activism, in particular in raising understanding of and sympathy with the food sovereignty movement. Organizers of five community gardens were interviewed about their garden’s communication practices. The findings were to be similar to some of what Nettle found in her research. Community gardens are mixed spaces where some practices can be called activist, and others not. All of the gardens struggle with the issues that many volunteer-based organizations face. All of the gardens were seen by participants as public spaces which can not be isolated from the larger community, whether it is the neighbours or various visitors. This suggests that community gardens in Vancouver can be places where people practice acts that would support the food sovereignty movement in Canada.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

The Formation of Global Sports Fandom in China: Capitalism, Masculinities and World Order

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-23
Abstract: 

In the wake of the globalization of capitalism, cultural domination of the West has been legitimated on a global scale through transnational corporation (Schiller,1991). This essay argues that global sports fandom in China, which was facilitated by the global expansion of the Western sports industry, works as a mechanism of ideology, as it helps to reproduce Western masculinity in China through Chinese fans’ transnational identity towards Western sports brands. Following this, this essay uses global sports fandom in China as a microcosm to examine the myth of economic superpower and cultural vulnerability in post-reform China, which reflects on China’s complex role in shaping the contemporary world order.By using three-dimensional discourse analysis(Fairclough,1992), this essay locates the formation of global sports fandom in China in the context of the globalization of capitalism, in which the interweaving of the global expansion of Western sports industry and market economy reform in China collectively facilitated this cultural phenomenon. Following this, this essay uses the English Premier League fandom on Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo as a case study to explore how global sports fandom formed in the Chinese indigenous context through the strategy of cosmopolitanism and the deployment of fans’ emerging class consciousness in post-reform China. In addition, discourse analysis also examines how Western masculinity becomes hegemonic on a global scale through creating a sense of fraternity in global sports fandom.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Adel Iskandar
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Constructed Hegemonic Femininity in the Realm of China’s E-commerce: A Case Study of Singles’ Day Sale

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-18
Abstract: 

This extended essay explores the construction of hegemonic femininity in the realm of Chinese e-commerce through a case study of the biggest online shopping festival in the world, the Singles’ Day Sale. It first outlines the post-2008 global political economic contexts that have given rise to the explosion of e-commerce as a platform for the promotion of domestic consumption in China. Then, it uses the methodology of multimodal discourse analysis to reveal how the images used to promote the Singles Day Sale construct consumption as a defining feature of hegemonic femininity in contemporary China. Finally, it examines the possible implications of this process for the status of Chinese women. The conclusion critiques how the collusion between patriarchy and capitalism has provided Chinese women with the sugar-coasted bullet of consumerism and unveils how this privileging of the consumption role of Chinese women conceals their productive role in society.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Yuezhi Li
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

A Canadian Press Perspective on China’s Rise: An Analysis of Globe and Mail Editorials, 2001-2015

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-15
Abstract: 

The world has seen China’s remarkable economic growth, its increasing military power and rising global influence since the end of the 1970s. Based on this background, this study is interested in Western media representations of China’s rise in the 21st century. The specific focus is how China’s rise is portrayed in one of the Canada’s national newspapers, the Globe and Mail, from 2001 to 2015. This study used a mixed-methods approach: a quantitative content analysis of 243 Globe and Mail editorials and a critical discourse analysis of approximately 20 percent of the data set. The findings revealed that China’s image presented in the Globe and Mail is paradoxical. The portrayals of China as an “important economic partner” and an “authoritarian communist country” coexisted in the newspaper’s editorials, with more emphasis on critiquing its role as an “authoritarian communist country”. This study argues that this divisive perspective of China is due to the newspaper’s Western-based understandings of liberal democratic capitalism. It assumes that the combination of market freedom and democratic political freedom is inevitable, and the pair is universal and appealing for every modern society. However, China’s triumphant combination of market economics and the one-party state challenges their assumptions and forces the Western media to reconsider the relationship between market economics and liberal democracy. This study argues that liberal democratic capitalism is not universal and that liberal democracy should be taken in context.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Yuezhi Zhao
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

The Image of China in a BBC Documentary and Chinese Audiences' Reception of it: The Case of The Chinese Are Coming

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-17
Abstract: 

China’s economic rise has led to competing images of the nation-state in the world’s media. Chinese audiences, for their part, are increasingly concerned with how the foreign media represent China. Against this background and taking into consideration the well-known reputation of BBC documentary film as one of the most authoritative Western media genres, this paper examines the 2011 BBC documentary film The Chinese Are Coming’s portrayal of China and its reception by selected graduate students at the Communication University of China and commentators at three online Chinese forums. The first part uses content analysis to break down the film into segments and examines its content in terms of seven subject areas and a series of key events, with a particular focus on the different tones of their treatment. It discovers that while a majority of the content is presented in a neutral tone, the film does contain one-sided representations of China’s global economic activities and thus contributes to the construction of a negative image of China. The reception analysis is equally mixed. Some audience members believe that The Chinese Are Coming is a media product that stigmatizes China on purpose. However, along with a minority of student interviewees and online commentators, I argue that the Chinese audience should take this film as an opportunity to reflect upon their government’s global strategies and foreign policies.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Yuezhi Zhao
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Cultivating Global Citizens: Global Citizenship Education in a Moment of Neoliberal Globalization

Abstract: 

Global Citizenship is a popular ideology that underpins education initiatives in formal, informal, and non-formal settings around the world. Based on concepts such as empathy, sustainability, social responsibility, and cross-cultural understanding, global citizenship education (GCED) is widely criticized for failing to offer a critical pedagogical framework that encourages the examination of political and economic global power structures. This paper identifies the relationship between GCED initiatives and anxiety regarding neoliberal globalization. Based on a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of GCED, including the examination of UNESCO’s Education 2030 Agenda and Framework for Action, this paper suggests that a there is a critical political economy deficit not only in practices of GCED, but also in the foundational policy’s behind such initiatives.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Stuart Poyntz
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus: The political power of a small infectious agent

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-04
Abstract: 

This paper has the purpose of analyzing the ISA virus scientific issue in British Columbia with a focus on the last three days of the Cohen Commission of inquiry. I use Science, Technology and Society as a main theoretical framework to approach the issue and Postcolonial and Political Economy framework to address the controversy in a critical way that underlines the social and political implications of ISA. The method used to conduct the research is a case study supported with document analysis. The research showed the possibility of a highly politicized scientific field and the possibility of government and industry influence in the decision- making regarding the presence of the virus in BC. The failure to find a real solution for the controversy can be associated with the impossibility of science to be the only institutionalized knowledge producer in regards to resource management. It is recommended a more significant collaboration with First Nations and an inclusion of their knowledge production as scientifically valid.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Frédérik Lesage
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

The Role of Social Media during the Brazilian Protests of 2013

Date created: 
2016-08-22
Abstract: 

In 2013, Brazil witnessed a turning point in the recent history of politics through the largest social movements since the military dictatorship. The purpose of this paper is to identify the role that social media played during this time. To this end, a review of frame theory and gatekeeping theory will be made and, using the definitions for these theories, analyze the messages and frames being done by O Globo, one of the most read newspapers in Brazil, and Twitter. This paper will explain the development of the protest, identifying the relationship between mass media and politics in Brazil in order to establish the connection between the government and the newspaper. The Vinegar Protests used of ‘alternative media’ to contradict the mainstream media’s framing in order to communicate the message created by a strong and unified public sphere. This research will show how a leaderless movement, unsupported by the mainstream media, used the social media to contradict the messages of the mainstream media in favor of the protest.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Adel Iskandar
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

Copyright Reform: Taking Pirate Party and Green Party as Examples

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-04
Abstract: 

Copyright law affects every single person in this world. With the development of computer technique, the dominant copyright system, which formed for print age is now out of date. Copyright reform is urgently needed. This article attempts to provide a political and economic background of current copyright law in terms of its international development. Using Marxist political economy theory to analyze specific movements in the development of copyright law this argument highlights the importance of the evolving relationship between authors and publishers as a key aspect of the social injustices of the current system. This background provides the context to compare the copyright reform polices of the Pirate Party and the Green Party and question whether existing efforts are enough for copyright reform and whether copyright reform will succeed.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Juan Pablo Alperin
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

A Political Economy Analysis of the Chinese Delivery Worker's Daily Communication Practice

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-15
Abstract: 

This extended essay explores the interaction between delivery workers’ political-economic status and their daily communication practice. The daily communication practice means the mobile phone and social media usage since the mobile phone and Internet are the media they use most often.The delivery workers are marginalized in political status since they have rural household registration while their income is closer to the income of urban white-collar workers. Moreover, the delivery industry needs more policies and laws to regulate the industry since it is an emerging industry. It exploits the vulnerable position of, and creates opportunities for, delivery workers to struggle for better citizenship rights and income.Their status excludes them from public discussion and they use private social media such as QQ and Wechat more than the public social media such as Weibo . However, the mobile phone and social media have the potential to impact on their political-economic status and struggle for better life.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.