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

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Consumption downgrading in Chinese media: A fraud or a hideous truth

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-01
Abstract: 

In 2018, according to the data from Weibo, one of the most popular terms in China has been ‘consumption downgrading.’ The discussion online about 'consumption downgrading' gradually changed into a national panicking because the Chinese relate it with such as economic slowdown, rising living cost and house price, widening gap between rich and poor, and anxiety of China-U.S. trade war. My research explores how this term became a trend, and how the meaning behind it changed through time in the first part. In the second part, the article analyses the economic definition and mechanism of structural changes in consumption to see whether the ‘consumption downgrading' phenomenon in the media is real. In the third part, the article examines the deeper factors that caused the national panicking led by the discussion of ‘consumption downgrading.' In the last part, the article summaries the government's role in channeling public opinion and regulating the market.

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

Media bias in the U.S.’ Big Three TV networks

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-20
Abstract: 

The discussion of media bias has a long history in the field of media studies, but the subjective essence of bias makes it hard to define as well as challenging to measure. The model that statistically analyzes the relationship between how the presidential job approval rating changes and the likelihood of that being aired used in this paper can enable us to overcome the problems in previous studies. Applying the model to the U.S.’ big three TV networks’ evening news programs, we find that two of them have apparent biases on the whole. Especially NBC presents a clear preference for negative news about Obama and positive news about Trump. Considering the power these networks possess on shaping public opinion, the discussion of media bias remains essential.

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

Miracle-marketing: The reformulation of power and social relations in Pentecostal Christianity in Nigeria

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-16
Abstract: 

As Western neoliberal capitalism de-territorializes spaces and folds the peripheries into itself, what emerges is not global homogeneity. Instead, we are witnessing contesting narratives of truth, dynamic and shifting subjectivities. Prevalent in the Nigeria is the rapid spread of Pentecostalism. Its untaxed churches worth hundreds of millions of dollars form an unregulated yet influential economy. Church is big business, but it is also political. The rise of the mega-pastor has seen a growing influence of religious leaders on the socio-political and economic space. Given the salience of these religious leaders and their increasing usage of media technologies, I turn to the discourse within televised miracle sessions to unpack and deconstruct how social and power relations are constructed and enacted; and to glean a more nuanced understanding of the discourses and subjectivities that are legitimated and those that are discredited in the process.

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

Talking to machines: The political ascendance of the English language in computer programming

Date created: 
2019-08-29
Abstract: 

This essay explores possible reasons why English has become the "default" natural language from which programming commands are borrowed. Programming languages like C, C++, Java and Python use English keywords exclusively. The essay explores the social factors that underlie this phenomenon and how traditional power hierarchies are perpetuated. The essay is a critical response to the emancipatory rhetoric that ushered in the creation and popularization of the digital computer. It uses the story of ALGOL project to illustrate how technical goals are shaped by social factors which inevitably reify inequality into technological artefacts. ALGOL, an attempt to create a standardized machine independent universal programming language, while answering a significant amount of technical questions, did not bridge the natural language gap. By way of historical exploration, I argue this result is an expression of American globalization of the computing industry.

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.

Reporting the cross-strait relationship: A comparative analysis of news coverage of the CCP’s 19th Congress by two Taiwan TV stations - AND - Taiwanese consciousness: The evolution of a sociopolitical construction

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-15
Abstract: 

Essay 1: Due to unresolved cross-strait tension between China and Taiwan, Taiwanese media paid special attention to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s 19th Congress regarding China’s cross-strait policy towards Taiwan. By comparing the news of Sanli-E Television (SET) and Chungtian Incorporation (CTI), this paper studies how and why these two TV stations reported CCP's 19th Congress differently, aiming to connect their different perspectives with the political economy of each station. This paper uses two metaphors to demonstrate CTI and SET’s different reporting stances: the former aims to reinforce a strong image of China, whereas the latter attempts to further articulate the idea of Taiwan being a separate entity from China. These two media's different coverages resulted from the different interests, it is shown that Chinese capital’s influence on Taiwanese media has increased. Accordingly, this paper argues that China's policy would surely transform Taiwanese media's political position gradually. Essay 2: The intertwined relationship between Taiwan and China has long impacted on Taiwanese society and led to a critical debate around the political identity of Taiwanese people for nearly forty years, and the issue has remained unresolved. By using integrative literature review as the methodology, this paper divides modern Taiwan history from Japanese colonialization period to present Taiwan into five time periods, and studies Taiwanese political consciousness through a social constructionist viewpoint to explore the social context and various factors that provoked the development of Taiwanese subjective identity and the different characteristics involved in each stage. In conclusion, this paper argues the influence of political circumstances informs the constant evolution of a socially-constructed Taiwanese political consciousness against the backdrop of a pervasive Chinese national and cultural hegemony. This research should help contextualize and historicize the existing debates around Taiwanese and Chinese identities and consciousness in the contemporary sociopolitical moment both on the island and beyond.

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

No safe harbor: Radical feminism, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, and the digression of sex work in the United States

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-27
Abstract: 

In April of 2018, the U.S. Government passed a new internet law- Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which many have argued has contributed to a surge in online censorship around sex work and supposedly, sex trafficking. While FOSTA/SESTA has been celebrated as a win for anti-trafficking activists, sex workers are already experiencing a loss of community, income, and resources, as well as an increase in violence. Using a third-wave feminist lens, this paper follows the eight-year campaign leading to FOSTA/SESTA’s inception and argues that this law is the most recent example of the U.S. Government’s conflation of sex work and sex trafficking, as well as an appropriation of radical feminist rhetoric as a means of reducing sex workers’ visibility. This paper provides an analysis of FOSTA/SESTA and argues that it is a largely flawed, regressive ‘solution’ to sex-trafficking that will only serve to push the industry even further underground, and in doing so, increases risk for those working as sex workers.

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

“In the end, they are looking for community, for belonging”: An analysis of the role of Metro Vancouver metropolitan and community-based newspapers in the resettlement of Syrian refugees

Date created: 
2019-07-26
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the news media discourses surrounding the resettlement and integration of Syrian refugees in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley communities in British Columbia, Canada. Using a combination of content and critical discourse analyses, it examines newspaper articles in major metropolitan and local community newspapers published from September 1, 2015 to October 31, 2017. Media frames and news values were used in the analysis, and several key findings were uncovered that provided regionally specific insight on the newspapers’ treatment of the issue of resettlement. Through the lens of Orientalism, this thesis argues that Syrian refugees are still portrayed as a “dangerous Other” in major metropolitan newspapers, as they tend to replicate negative national news discourses. In contrast, the community newspaper coverage of Syrian refugees is more positive and geared towards helping the refugees successfully integrate in these communities. Thus, while this thesis critically analyzes the news discourses in these community newspapers, it also concludes that these newspapers have a positive role in the resettlement initiative through their dissemination of positive discourses about the new arrivals.

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

Leftover women in China: Empowering through “femvertising”?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-02
Abstract: 

This capstone thesis examines the process that “femvertising”— advertising that seeks to empower women — uses such discourses to create narratives about “leftover women” in China, and the degree of authenticity for empowering “leftover women” by a “femvertising” campaign. By using multimodal discourse analysis, this thesis selects a case study to examine the commercial “Marriage Market Takeover” created by the premium skincare brand SK-II. After thorough analysis, the essay concludes that the case commercial indeed presents empowerment messages within the story content and provokes substantial social impact related to the “leftover women” discourse in China. However, the authenticity of the ad’s intent to empower this group of women to realize their individualism is far beyond what a commercial campaign even embedded in a globally owned company can do. Women’s liberation in China has a long way to go.

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

A feminist political economy of the Korean popular music industry

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-12
Abstract: 

Gender disparity is an emerging issue in contemporary South Korea. Despite the significant increase in gendered concerns, there has been a lack of discussion on gender inequality problems in the Korean popular music industry. For this reason, this thesis aims to investigate gender inequalities and power relations embedded in the male-dominated Korean popular music industry by analyzing the texts, images and music of Korean girl groups through the lens of a feminist political economy. In doing so, this study utilizes textual analysis in order to examine how gendered hierarchy and patriarchal power, acting as industrial practices, exploit Korean girl groups in the Korean popular music industry. The primary findings suggest that Korean girl groups are commodified as a marketable field of business; they are fetishized through the exhibition of their pressured femininity and passive uniformity, and they are reproduced as a form of sexual commodity within the gendered-hierarchical system of manufacturing Korean pop groups. In conclusion, this thesis proposes a critical perspective on a gendered mechanism of the Korean popular music industry as a site of power struggle.

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

How did Chinese news media frame the US-China trade talks? A case study of People’s Daily and China Daily

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-01
Abstract: 

China has a very special media system with unique Chinese characteristics. Chinese media exhibits "Marxist Journalism," features which emphasize party principle as the primary feature. This study investigates and compares online news reports on the websites of two Chinese news media outlets People's Daily and China Daily regarding the US-China trade talks. The goal is to examine how do they frame the US-China trade talk and discuss what factors influenced their framing. The findings are connected to the theoretical discussion on Chinese media system, Marxist journalism and advocacy journalism. This study finds that both People’s Daily and China Daily advocate for the Chinese government and the Party regarding the US-China trade talks, which is deeply influenced by Marxist journalism in the context of Chinese media system. While People’s Daily focused on positive publicity, China Daily more emphasized working as a public diplomacy tool.

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