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

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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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
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): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ahmed Al-Rawi
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.

The discursive style and reactionary politics of the Manosphere

Date created: 
2019-06-13
Abstract: 

This study aims to unpack the styles of discourse adopted and implemented by the Manosphere, an online community of self described Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) and “Red Pillers”. Through a Critical Discourse Analysis of Manosphere texts, the research explores how issues of gender and race inform the culture and politics of the community. It identifies common linguistic markers that distinguish the Manosphere from the historical Men's Rights Movement and liken it instead, to the the Alt-Right movement. For example, devices like metaphor, hyperbole and dog whistles operate in the discourse as modes for negotiating meaning making and accelerating the dissemination of extreme right discourse in mainstream political spaces. I argue that this process in part explains why particularly since 2016 and the election of Donald Trump in the United States, political sentiment has become more open to the iterations of misogyny and racism emblematic of the Manosphere. I reference and reflect upon the renewed push towards gender normative thinking and how it intersects with ultranationalism in Manosphere discourse. Finally, I explore how best to categorize the Manosphere—as an ideology, a political formation or something else entirely.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Stuart Poyntz
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Industrial imaginaries: Local voices on Carrier Corp., Tesla Motors, and unevenly developing capitalism

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-02-27
Abstract: 

This historically-conscious dissertation examines two main case studies representing different positions in the capitalist process of uneven development. Inspired by Gramscian theory, it captures the common-sense beliefs expressed through various communication channels when cities face either job losses or a new corporate opportunity. Among the key questions are: Who do those affected by layoffs think is to blame? And what criticisms, if any, surface in local media when public money is used to attract jobs? The first case study centers on an imperiled Carrier plant in Indianapolis, IN, which during the 2016 campaign season became the site of a national conversation on offshoring and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Management announced that 2,100 jobs would ship to Mexico, while a related factory in Huntington, IN, also faced closure. The second case study examines Tesla and Panasonic’s Gigafactory 1 outside of Reno and Sparks, NV, since its siting in 2014. A $1.25 billion tax-abatement deal with Nevada made their project possible. The primary methods I use are media discourse analyses and interviews with workers and city councilmembers in four cities. Among the findings are several explanations circulated for Carrier’s decision that often differed given their source; these included shareholder interest, NAFTA, undue taxation, greed, and ineffectual workers and unions. I analyze these through lenses of common-sense ideology and journalistic practices, and I argue that the criticism mostly addresses symptoms of capitalism only. For solutions, Indianan officials mostly pushed for attracting new businesses and upskilling the workforce, which are neoliberal presumptions. Those in marginal positions typically pushed for organizing, voting for Donald Trump, or boycotting Carrier, which I unpack ideologically and materially. In the Tesla case, I argue that a media spectacle surrounding Elon Musk and his brand helped sell the Gigafactory as a boon to all Nevadans despite a small group of elites benefiting. Criticism of the deal in local media was largely limited to bourgeois procedure and legislative tinkering. Capitalist image, spectacle, and the lack of material follow-through link the case studies. Additionally, I show how officials view their cities and how they hope to move them forward.

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

A new reality is better than a new movie! Committed documentary and class struggle at the end of the American New Left

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-02-27
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the political conjuncture surrounding the U.S. New Communist Movement’s break with the New Left of the 1960s, tracing the coordinates of this ideological shift through the lens of committed documentary. I argue that a materialist analysis of committed documentary necessitates understanding the form according to an aesthetics of political use-value. By attending to the question of documentary’s political utility, I demonstrate how films were used as cultural tools for conducting hegemonic struggles over certain political issues. Focusing on the contested dialectical relation between class and race, I trace period debates over the political status of the black proletariat through readings of four documentaries: Columbia Revolt (1968), Black Panther (1968), Finally Got the News (1970), and Wildcat at Mead (1972). Through these analyses, I argue for the centrality of political organization to any useful theory and practice of cultural commitment as a form of revolutionary politics.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Zoë Druick
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Nigerians perception of products made-in-China: a catalyst effect of the standard of living

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-27
Abstract: 

This study discusses Nigerian perceptions of Chinese-made products by examining whether the country of origin (COO) impacts their consumption choices of these products. It argues that low-income level and the fall in the standard of living of the average Nigerian influences their perception and subsequently contributes to the increased purchase of products made in China. An extensive survey was conducted to explore various facets of this decision-making process and how it is affected by the multi-dimensional way in which China is perceived. It also reviews Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-system theory, which addresses core-peripheral relations in order to understand the international dynamics underlying production and consumption of Chinese-made products in Nigeria.

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