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

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The Terrorists are Coming! The Terrorists are Coming! (or are they?): A Critical Discourse Analysis of The Anti-Terrorism Act, Bill C-51 in Canadian Newspapers

Date created: 
2015-08-07
Abstract: 

This paper argues that the Canadian mainstream print news media helps to legitimate the increase in security measures, government agency powers, and new legislation in Canada through the dissemination of a discourse of terrorism, as well as through legitimation of the types of questions being asked about terrorism, and Canada’s response to it. To reflect on how the mainstream print news media are using the discourse of terrorism news articles from The Globe and Mail and the National Post about Bill C-51 were analyzed using critical discourse analysis. The analysis shows that there are inherent assumptions present within the discourse of terrorism related to race, nationality and causation. How terrorism is conceptualized and spoken about needs to be changed. The role of the Canadian military in provoking violence against the state, the hegemony of counter-terrorism responses and the discourse of terrorism, and the existence of counter-terrorism measures need to be critically analyzed for the future.

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

From Militant to Military: The Ambivalent Politics of Liberal Feminism in the American War on Terror

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-07
Abstract: 

The widespread use of feminist, human rights, and international development discourse for justifying military intervention is part of a long and storied tradition of imperial feminism – a tradition which is deeply embedded into the normative Western ideologies of neoliberalism and modernization. However, the narrative of feminism that has been appropriated by the US military in order to justify the war on terror is that of liberal feminism; it is a discourse of feminism that privileges a white, middle-class, Western audience. In other words, it is blind to the historically disproportionate experience of oppression faced by women of colour. On a global scale, liberal feminism undermines the agency of women’s movements in the global south by assuming the universality – as well as the superiority – of Western human rights discourse. This paper will examine how the liberal feminist discourse became a dominant narrative in the war on terror. It will also analyze the implications of that dominance – both global and local.

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

How Social Media Users Negotiate Self-Censorship in the Online Public Sphere

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-08-21
Abstract: 

Research about the public sphere and social media often focus on what is being posted, rather than examining what is being omitted or why. The aim of this research is to explore this gap by providing ethnographic, qualitative research on how social media users negotiate self-censorship while engaging in the online public sphere.

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

Coastal Church: Community through Connectivity

Date created: 
2015-09-18
Abstract: 

The thesis presents an ethnographic survey of the mediatization of religion at Coastal Church, a non-denominational Christian institution located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Coastal seamlessly integrates digital media into its approach to worship, scripture dissemination as well as the proselytization of new members. Study findings suggest that digital media integration at Coastal allow for more interpersonal connections among worshippers as well as the fostering of deeper in-group solidarity in the Coastal community. Digital media integration further allows for heightened levels of hierarchical control and efficiency in message transmission by Coastal’s pastoral team to its congregation. However, results also indicate that a reliance on digital media by Coastal may foster a learned distraction among worshippers, producing an arguably shallower relationship with religious materials and values. On balance the thesis argues that mediatization of religion at Coastal is reflective of a longstanding trend in Christian religious observance to evolve in a technologically integrated manner so as to not lose relevance, an aspect of the religion hearkening back to its earliest days.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary McCarron
Jan Marontate
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

"O Canada": Recognizing Gay Pornography as a Part of Canadian Culture

Date created: 
2015-08-07
Abstract: 

In 2014, the CRTC warned three adult channels to conform to Canadian content regulations. The general response by op-ed writers and bloggers surrounding this issue was one of trivialization. These writers believed and argued the CRTC was wasting its time, as well as taxpayers’ money, enforcing Canadian content regulations in pornography — a product thought to have no redeeming social or cultural value. However, this capstone takes a different stance on the issue, arguing pornography and its industry as a product and business like any other with cultural and economic implications in Canada and the rest of the world that must be taken seriously. This paper argues that Canadian-produced gay pornography not only fits the Canadian government’s definition of a cultural product, but also the CRTC’s criteria for a Canadian product. In the end, this capstone argues gay pornography as a part of Canadian culture worth studying and critiquing like any other mediated text.

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

The Bombing of Air India Flight 182: Demanding Justice, Public Inquiries, and Acts of Citizenship

Author: 
Date created: 
2015-07-30
Abstract: 

On June 23, 1985 Air India Flight 182 exploded over the Irish Sea, killing all 329 people onboard the aircraft The attack was planned and executed on Canadian soil, and the majority of passengers were Canadian citizens. Canadian authorities failed to effectively investigate the bombing, and provide families of the victims with adequate support for the traumatic losses they underwent (Air India Inquiry Report, 2010). This is despite families’ repeatedly demanding the Canadian government for information, services, and a thorough criminal investigation into the bombings. Many families claimed the government treated them like “second-rate” citizens and questioned whether systemic racism was a factor in how the criminal investigation was handled (for example see Public Hearings, 2006, p.47). Like other racialised Canadians in the 1980s, families of Air India Flight 182 victims mobilized to demand justice. Arguing that the bombings were a “Canadian issue” they pressured the government to call a public inquiry. In 2005, the Canadian government announced the Official Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182, which was mandated to examine the failures of the criminal investigation and to provide recommendations to prevent future acts of terrorism in Canada. In 2006, the Air India Inquiry began with public hearings where victims’ families gave testimonies that were meant to help understand the “human element” of the tragedy. Families’ testimonies were transcribed into fourteen volumes with over 1,000 pages that detailed their grief, the impact of the bombing on their lives, the negligent treatment by the Canadian government, and their political struggles for recognition over twenty years. This thesis examines families’ testimonies and triangulates their statements with media reports and excerpts from the federal Hansard debates to (a) reconstruct the steps they took to demand justice, and (b) examine the way they used discourses of citizenship to demonstrate how their government failed them. Using families’ testimonies as evidence, this thesis challenges conventional definitions of multicultural citizenship, arguing that discourses of citizenship need to consider the agency of subjects and the challenges they face when they demand justice. This thesis draws on the concept of “acts of citizenship” (Isin, 2009; 2012) to show that citizenship needs to be understood through the actions subjects take in their pursuit of justice. In Communication Studies, this thesis offers a new approach to examining public inquiries (Salter, 2007) and the construction of identity in relation to racialization (Hall, 1990; Jiwani, 2006) by drawing on the scholarship of Bannerji (2000), Dhamoon (2009), Isin (2012), Miki (2004) and Nyers (2004) who argue that current models of citizenship are rooted in relations of exclusion.

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

"Memory is a River": Imbert Orchard and the Sound of Time and Place

Date created: 
2015-04-14
Abstract: 

This thesis is an examination of the radio production techniques and media theories of Canadian Imbert Orchard (1909-1991). Throughout his career at the CBC and a brief period as lecturer at Simon Fraser University, he championed notions such as ‘aural history’ and ‘document in sound’ over oral history and documentary. His system of ‘levels of remove’ intentionally employed acoustic impressions of time and place as a means of representing different historical perspectives within the radio format. Through a comparison with radio documentaries produced by his contemporaries, Glenn Gould (CBC) and the World Soundscape Project (CBC and SFU), the thesis makes apparent a theme of preservationist values with progressive techniques on CBC Radio. By analyzing archived materials and production techniques, the thesis aims to situate Orchard alongside these well-documented historical figures of Canadian sound studies in order to emphasize the importance of his concept of aural history.

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

Reading, Writing and Resistance: Feminist and Neoliberal Subjects in the Canadian Academy

Date created: 
2015-05-07
Abstract: 

Feminism has a short but important history within the Canadian academy, one whose future is put at risk by the increasing corporatization of the university. The goal of this thesis is to investigate the production of female subjectivities in the university by exploring emergent modes of feminist resistance within and against the neoliberalization of the Canadian academy. Against this backdrop, and through analysis of three case studies drawn from the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, my thesis examines and theorizes three pairs of contrasting female subjectivities within the neoliberal academy: the professionalized female academic versus the feminist academic; the entrepreneurial female student versus the indebted student; and the self-securitized woman versus the autonomous woman. Through the investigation of the resistant subjectivities in each of these couplets, I argue that it is integral for feminist movements on campus to combine a critique of patriarchy with a critique of the neoliberal university.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Enda Brophy
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Sub-elites as fiduciary gatekeepers of global elites: A fiscal anthropology of the Cayman Islands and offshore financial industry

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-11-25
Abstract: 

The Cayman Islands facilitate some of the largest international financial flows. Despite international pressures, they continue to service international
networks of corporations and wealthy elites unperturbed. Few ethnographic studies of offshore financial centers exist because of the private nature of their professionals who uphold strict codes of confidentiality. This thesis describes the sub-elite professional operators of the Cayman Islands and explains the Island’s transition from a modest maritime
economy to one of the most powerful finance-based economies in the world. In
exchange for material success, the Cayman Islands has sequestered its indigenous populations’ identity in favour of a stronger, prestigious and more unified identity as an international offshore financial center. Through ethnography, I delineate how sub-elites have carefully orchestrated the Islands’ development to their interests and manipulated its political economy, in part by de-legitimizing Caymanian political assertions, therefore silencing their voices, undermining their citizenship, and de-legitimizing their claim to their Island’s own self-governance.

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

Corporate Social Responsibility in the Canadian Mining Sector: Ethics, Rhetoric, and the Economy

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015-04-10
Abstract: 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been promoted by the Government of Canada and Canadian mining companies as an appropriate model of self-regulation, accountability, and communication with the public since the launch of Canada’s 2009 CSR strategy for Canadian companies engaged in the international extractive sector. This thesis contextualizes CSR in the recent history of Canadian mining activity nationally and internationally, considering broad shifts in government communication and approaches to regulation. It applies a rhetorical analysis to CSR discourse, suggesting that Aristotle's categories of epideictic (celebratory) and deliberative rhetoric demonstrate how the strategic CSR communication of mining firms and government limits genuine debate and replaces it with a discourse prioritizing CSR's economic benefit over human rights, indigenous land rights, and labour and environmental concerns.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.