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

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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.

The role of public art in the communicative practices on university campuses in North America - A case study of public art controversies at an Canadian university

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-08-10
Abstract: 

Through the investigation of the organizational structures behind the decision-making process of university collections of public art as well as the controversies on campus in North American universities, this extended essay presents a case study of SFU Art Gallery and public art to examine how university art galleries and museums communicate their identities and values through their public art collection and play the role as modern national educational institutions to communicate values and ideologies through communicative practices.

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

Risk communication in Chile: A study of 2014 Valparaiso wildfire

Date created: 
2016-04-20
Abstract: 

Global warming and the consequent increase in natural disasters have influenced global risk prevention worldwide. Although scientific progress has improved the prediction of risks scenarios, there are examples indicating there is a gap between scientific knowledge and the ways communities perceive risks. In this context, this empirical research aims to understand the communication gaps and social aspects that could explain the disconnection between the scientific world and communities at risk. This research analyses an interface fire that occurred in Valparaiso, Chile, in 2014, which has been the worst wildfire in the city’s history. From a critical rhetoric of risk communication approach, this exploration concludes that in Valparaiso, top-down communication practices took place and communities at risk played an isolated and marginalized role, illustrating the predominance of a crisis management approach and a top-down information flow. This case highlights the critical role played by intermediaries, as key supports in the process and as central players able to fill communication gaps.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Peter Anderson
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Luck and Liberty: The Political Economy of Life Chances

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-12-19
Abstract: 

In the wake of growing unrest about economic disparities between the “one per cent” and other classes in western societies, I argue that an assessment of life chances in contemporary capitalist liberal democracies has assumed a renewed urgency. There are many other factors outside of a person’s socioeconomic position that can influence life chances, such as place of birth, education and income, in addition to intersections with race, gender, or ethnicity, so that the lived experience of class often has a distinctively multidimensional character. Still, the focus in this dissertation is directed at higher levels of abstraction dealing with the political economy of life chances as a feature of life in western capitalist liberal democracies—societies often promoted as the freest and the most equitable in the world. To address these issues, I develop a conceptual test to demonstrate how unfair contemporary capitalist societies happen to be. I do this because too often debates about unfairness and inequality become squabbles about the accuracy of data and the suitability of econometric models but miss the point about ethics and exploitation; all of which distracts from reform. Developing this test has necessitated a movement through discussions of luck egalitarianism in the moral philosophies of liberalism and Marxism to demonstrate that much of what a person seeks to claim as their own is radically contingent. Irrespective of whether economic inequalities are caused by the genetic lottery of natural talents, the social lottery of opportunities to develop talents, or the market lottery where a person’s attributes become talents because they just happen to be in demand, are inherently unjust. Further, examining the role of market economies and institutional design in allocating life chances and rewards cannot be separated from a conception of what human flourishing happens to be and how it can likely be achieved. To support the aforementioned analysis of inequality, I distinguish between two kinds of luck: hard luck and institutional luck. I take hard luck to be items that are contingent and accidental as determined via ontological naturalism and qualified modal realism. By institutional luck I mean entrenched structured allocations of life chances as determined by social forces. While there is a tendency to confuse hard luck with institutional luck, I argue that what often appears simply as hard luck has an institutional anchorage that to some degree can be amenable to human intervention. Thus any adequate discussion of luck necessarily commits one to consider politics.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gruneau, Rick
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

After displacement: Excavating memories of migrant sex workers and becoming entangled with the water trade in Yokohama

Author: 
Date created: 
2016-10-03
Abstract: 

In January 2005, a raid organized by the Prefectural Police in Yokohama, Japan, evicted independent sex trade businesses run by migrant women, predominantly from other regions of Asia in the marginalized district of Koganecho. The police and a group of local residents promoted the eradication of baishun [prostitution], using slogans about making the neighbourhood “safe” and “secure” and free of illegal foreigners and HIV carriers. Based on the ethnographic fieldwork I conducted over nine months, this dissertation explores question, what happens after transnational migrant sex workers are displaced from the city? in two ways. Organized into two parts, this dissertation first aims to critique the processes through which the lives of displaced migrants get further erased in the “memoryscapes” (Yoneyama 1999, Riano-Alcala 2006, McAllister 2010, 2011) of the city at both material and discursive levels. I analyze the built environment, official historical discourses in museum exhibitions and municipal policies, and local grassroots cultural productions in the forms of photography, films and film festivals. After analyzing the dominant memoryscapes of Yokohama, my dissertation brings to light the site of displacement where I encountered people of two water trade communities, one primarily Japanese and the other primarily Thai that emerged or survived in the aftermath of the police raid. Here I highlight the processes where I was “entangled” (Ingold 2008) with the local social relations and “confronted” by people in the field (Fabian 2001, p.25), having my research rejected or questioned in unexpected ways. Those moments forced me to be reflexive and turned my gaze from memories and experiences of others to my own as a site of critical scrutiny and ethnographic practice. In Part II, I attempt to share an embodied sense of what happens after displacement at an everyday interaction level, which I tentatively call an alternative memoryscape of the city. While the two parts respond to my research question differently, they share a common epistemological premise that the knowledge I present in my dissertation emerged through my “body as a site of knowing” (Pink 2015), as I engaged with the social, sensory, imaginary and material place of my research.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kirsten McAllister
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.