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

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Decolonizing Identity: From Indian girl to Skwxwú7mesh Matriarch

Date created: 
2018-01-16
Abstract: 

Over the last twenty years, Indigenous scholars have articulated approaches to decolonization and cultural resurgence while making recommendations for strengthening Indigenous cultural sovereignty. This MA project groups the proposals of twelve Indigenous scholars into eight themes and responds with a call to increase accessibility to Indigenous knowledge for Indigenous Peoples. The argument is written as an autoethnographic paper which traces my emancipatory research journey from a colonized, constructed Indian girl to a decolonizing, reconstructed Skwxwú7mesh matriarch. The research-creation component is a creative publication, called Playing Postcolonial: a decolonizing activity book for the woke and the weary, which applies Squamish matriarchal approaches and epistemologies to the gamification of decolonization. The featured activity is a Sínulhkay (double-headed serpent) and Ladders board game, which redesigns a classic game into a rhetorical tool for deconstructing normalized contemporary enactments of supremacy while simultaneously promoting chénchenstway—the Squamish verb meaning to uphold one another.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Senior supervisor: 
Kirsten McAllister
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
((Communication) Project) M.A.

Television Journalism, Market-orientation, and Media Democratization in Bangladesh

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-15
Abstract: 

This dissertation critically examines the emergence of a neoliberal market-oriented media system in Bangladesh and its impact on news production in both television channels and broadcast policymaking. The dissertation dissects the ownership structure and politics of licensing private television channels by successive governments between 1995 and 2017. It surveys the trends in the commercialization of television news to assess the symbolic and economic influence of advertising on journalism. It argues that the politically concentrated ownership of television and the practices of market-oriented television journalism in Bangladesh are symbiotically embedded with the political and social transformation of the nation-state, a postcolonial quest for nation-building, as well as an asymmetrical integration with the processes of neoliberal globalization. The analysis draws insights from critical and transcultural approaches to political economy of communication. Based on a mixture of multisite case studies, in-depth interviews, and documentary research methods, the study reveals multiple areas of journalistic struggles and democratic deficits in the television industry. It shows that with the rapid growth of private television channels and online media, state-administered television in Bangladesh is faced with a higher pressure of political instrumentalization and advertising dependency. The study demonstrates that although news production in private television channels appears to be less hierarchical, the ideology of market-orientation serves as an unwritten in-house self-censorship policy. It is evident that there is a mutual relationship between the ownership of television channels and ways in which news are produced and commodified within an urban-centric, exploitative and gendered division of labor. The study further reveals that the process of broadcast policymaking in Bangladesh, despite its inclusion of multiple stakeholders, is dominated by the same forces in a politico-commercial nexus which also owns and leads the private television industry. The study concludes that policy reform alone can achieve very little in the context of a postcolonial-turned- neoliberal nation-state like Bangladesh, as the problems are deeply rooted in political practices and social relations in which public participation in policymaking is either made structurally impossible or rendered invisible to the masses. To make the media system more democratic and inclusive, policy-reform must be aligned with a broader and more progressive socio-political movement for social change.

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

Assessing Participation in Women's Development Projects in Afghanistan

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-13
Abstract: 

This thesis assesses the concept of participation as it was manifested by different parties in international aid projects targeting women’s empowerment in Afghanistan from the perspectives of 10 Afghan development professionals who worked in the aid projects from 2009 to 2016, as well as from analysis of a number of project evaluations and my personal experience. The research is based on the premise that because the Afghan professionals had a local background and linguistic skills, they would have had a deeper understanding of the basic needs of Afghan women than most expatriate staff. The research found that the project designs were not based on customized research and needs assessment specific to the timing and objectives of the projects, that the project beneficiaries, even sometimes local staff, were not involved in planning and decision making, that the plans made were mostly not implemented, that the quality of implemented projects was unsatisfactory, and, finally, that the lack of sustainability measures and coordination with government and stakeholders raised concerns about the longevity of the projects.

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

Contingent Belonging: Second-Generation Latino Canadian Negotiations of Place, Identity, and Nation

Date created: 
2016-10-07
Abstract: 

In an increasingly transnational world where multicultural policies and dual citizenships are facilitated through international conventions, this dissertation provides insight into the identities of the children of the Latino diaspora in Canada and explores how the second-generation (Canadians born in Canada with at least one immigrant parent) expresses a complex sense of belonging not just to Canada but also to their parent’s homeland. I argue that their sense of belonging has been misunderstood by academics and Canadian policy makers. Described as being an ‘in-between’ generation, a series of policy reports published by the Policy Research Initiative of Canada claims they are both a potential risk and potential resource for the state, and thus need to be managed. I argue this fails to recognize how members of the second generation themselves articulate a complex sense of belonging and identity that is negotiated on their own terms. There has been little written about Latina/os in Canada and even less that focuses on the second-generation. Though scholarly fields in the United States like that of Chicano Studies examine questions of diasporic identity in multi-generational Latina/o communities they focus on a uniquely American population. Drawing on my own diasporic heritage I collected data through four months of autoethnographic (Spry, 2001) and sensory ethnographic fieldwork in Montevideo, Uruguay where my parents grew up and also the site of many annual childhood trips to visit my parents’ family. My research involved ethnographic participant observation, interviews and site visits to the Museum of Memory (MuME). The second phase involved interviews of 15 second-generation Latino Canadians ranging in age from 20-35 from four Canadian cities. Like myself this group I was born and raised after the introduction of multicultural policy and the incorporation of multiculturalism into the conceptualization of Canada (Kobayashi, 2008). As an ethnography that encompassed both arriving in Uruguay and returning to Canada, I also observed the practices of “negotiating” my Latino/Canadian identity in each site. Thus the third phase, involved the development of a cooking practice (Counihan, 2010; Antoniou, 2004) which in response to the disorienting period of returning to Canada where I nostalgically longed for Montevideo. A key component of the study involved developing a voice in academic writing for the sensorial, affective and emotional experience (see: Million, 2013) I found that second-generation subjects like myself experience with their/our sense of belonging and not belonging in the diasporic homeland that is mediated through kinship structures, cultural practices and everyday objects. I define this experience as ‘contingent belonging’ a concept that recognizes how the identities of the second generation are unstable and dynamic, constantly in a process of being constituted and reconstituted with different meanings in a constantly shifting landscape.

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

Democratic Education, Experiential Education and Exploring the Agency of Students: Educational Principles, Practices, and Philosophies in the Promotion and Achievement of Active and Engaged Students - AND- Media Education History, Currency, and Future in

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-12-13
Abstract: 

Essay one: This extended essay draws on theories mainly from John Dewey and Paulo Friere to show how their philosophies are valuable to education, and in particular media education. The prominence and similarities between the work of John Dewey and Paulo Freire merit consideration and analysis as both thinkers offer significant contribution to the modern conception of non-traditional education. Both thinkers felt the roles of experience and democracy were essential as both must exist for liberation-based development to occur and democratic education to be made possible. Understanding Dewey and Freire is critical as they draw attention to both pedagogy and content, particularly with how they relate to the democratic ideal. As media literacy has become essential in the education of young students, the research presented in this essay helps devise a framework for a media literacy curriculum influenced by the thinking of Dewey and Freire.Essay two: This extended essay discusses the history of media education in British Columbia by shedding light on key developments and by mentioning the obstacles encountered in the advancement of media education. Two university level educators, and an advocacy group member from a non-profit organization are interviewed to investigate the relevance of media education and the direction in which it is headed. The primary research found that basic media education should start at the elementary level in students’ lives, and should continue at the secondary level to assist in the positive development of students. Discussion of pornography in the classroom, and more broadly, visual media literacy as part of a diverse society, were deemed important by interviewees and research findings for consideration as future media education topics. The research revealed in the essay found that youth should have safe environments where they can discuss pornography, and visual media literacy should also be promoted for social justice as part of a diverse society.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Laba
Gary McCarron
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essays) M.A.

In good conscience: fast food, greenwashing and advertising

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-15
Abstract: 

This thesis addresses a new style of green promotion in the fast food industry by critically analysing one advertisement from each of A&W’s “Better Beef”, McDonald’s’ “Your Questions”, and Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” campaigns. Three main questions are explored: whether these campaigns help incite high quality environmental change or merely perpetuate the unsustainable status quo; whether each company is taking real responsibility for change or continuing to push responsibility onto consumers; and whether these advertisements are providing opportunities for consumers to feel fulfilled or only providing short term gratification. Using greenwashing, public relations, and advertising theories to aid analysis, this thesis argues that green themes in fast food advertising should not be taken at face value as they hinder environmental change in the fast food industry. This thesis concludes that green fast food ads continue cycles of consumption, harming possibilities for future change in production and consumption practices.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Martin Laba
Rick Gruneau
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Undertale: Violence in Context

Date created: 
2017-08-17
Abstract: 

The following capstone paper analyses the communication of non-violence and killing in the digital computer game Undertale (TobyFox, 2015). I discuss the implications this has for how we speak and think about violence and (virtual) pacifism in games and game spaces. I conclude that we need to consider a more nuanced approach to discussing violence in digital games. I further argue that Undertale, and related Indie games, bridge the (artificial) gap between serious games and entertainment games. The line that exists academically and economically between these two sectors ultimately contributes to an extreme understanding of games on either side that limits our understanding of what games are and what they can do that is ultimately harmful to both sides. I therefore encourage a reconsideration of these two game genres.

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

Race and real estate: How data informed public debate on BC's Foreign Buyer Tax

Abstract: 

This capstone references works and theories surrounding the 2016 debate over causal factors of Vancouver’s inflated real estate market. Where and how this discussion has been informed by data will be examined through a case study supported by an analysis of mainstream media headlines. This case study will lead to an examination of data as concept, a tool for making disorder “legible” (Scott, 1998), after which Checkland’s model of dare and capere is referenced to further break down the interpretive nature of data. Both theories are discussed when I revisit Bill 28’s Property Transfer Tax (PTT) form amendment alongside a few observations about the use of data in policy narratives.

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.

Ritwik Kumar Ghatak: Subaltern Auteur of Bengali Cinema

Date created: 
2017-07-31
Abstract: 

In 1947, as the British colonial rulers left, the local leaders chose to have the entire South-Asian subcontinent partitioned into two countries basing on a sectarian ground: India and Pakistan. Pakistan was born into two slices apart from each other by sixteen hundred kilometers of Indian territory to home the Muslims of the area and human history experienced the largest exodus ever. The border between the then East Pakistan and India remains the "most porous border" till today (Ghosh, 2016). This border divided the people of Bengali ethnicity into two in the name of religion; riots broke out, trauma lingered. Usually, such significant historical events get wide coverage in film and literature. But, that did not happen to Bengal as the people of both the countries chose national/religious identity over ethnic identity. The uprooted and migrated people who were looking for 'home' in exile become the subalterns who could not speak out their trauma. Gayatri Charkarvorty Spivak suggests in her 1988 piece titled "Can the Subaltern Speak?" that subaltern-ness is a position without identity (University of California Television [UCTV], 2008). And even they managed to speak, they were often overlooked and silenced. Ritwik Kumar Ghatak, being a refugee himself, wanted to communicate his trauma and identity crisis caused by the Partition'47 through his films; all his films failed to reach the audience of his time. After decades of his demise, his films remain as indictment of a time the people of Bengal wanted to overlook. This paper attempts to read Ghatak as a subaltern filmmaker who tried to pen down what his people i.e. the refugees wanted to speak out, by providing a close reading of his Partition trilogy, Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), Komal Gandhar (1961) and Subarnarekha (1962).

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

Who is telling the “truth”? Wikipedia articles on Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement as a Case Study of Alternative Knowledge Production

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-29
Abstract: 

Wikipedia is considered as a challenge to established forms of scientific knowledge production, which has been dominated by the West for centuries, for shaking its superiority over other forms of knowledge to determine what is the reality. Through a comparative discourse analysis of Wikipedia articles on Umbrella Movement in Chinese and English as well as editors’ discussions on the “Talk Page”, this research demonstrates how this event has been presented differently in global and local contexts. By examining this particular case study, the author presents the difficulty of “translating” local knowledge to global. The marginalization of local editors on English page and the dominance of activist opinion on Chinese page make local knowledge production become the reproduction of western epistemology, which is far from creating an alternative to the knowledge hegemony.

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