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

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Traumatizing and healing: How media memorialize the comfort women

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-14
Abstract: 

Until recently, the story of “comfort women” was more or less suppressed as a kind of national humiliation in China; however, it has received more diverse media attention in recent years. Through the framing analysis of articles on the issue of comfort women in three different newspapers in China, this research examines similarities and differences in media treatment of the topic. While differences in media frames reflect variations in the national, provincial and metro orientations of different newspapers, overall media memorialization of the topic by the three newspapers reveals that the cultural wound is still not healed both on a national and individual level. The paper argues that Chinese media should take the responsibility of crafting new identities for comfort women, in order to help them finally gain respect.

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.

Modern Chinese national identity and transportation

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-02
Abstract: 

As an imported concept, ''nation'' is used ambiguously in Chinese context. Even in the communication strategy formulated by the government, there is always a mixing that includes ethnic groups and nation-states. This essay discusses ''nation'', ''state'', and ''nation-state'' separately yet together to figure out their relationship. Whether the nation is imaginary or an ideology, it is the people’s view of their national identity that matters. Understanding national identity is a key to complex questions of the “nation” because national identity not only exists in every member's mind within a nation, but also interacts with all kinds of social elements (eg. religion, geography). As a multidimensional concept, national identity includes languages, sentiments and symbolism in the field of education, communication and transportation. Following the demand of modern society, a series of new concepts rise in respond to the proper time and conditions. On the other hand, new-born technologies facilitate the development and spread of these notions, for instance, nation. In many nations, especially China, transportation plays a leading role in the age of reform. It is the technologies which provide the main impulse of the transportation. Meanwhile, transportation is also a universal carrier of national resolve. For instance, it is the railway system and the freeway network system that build the basis of political power and shape the structure of economic change in many countries. These elements show up in everyday life as the infrastructure or context and thus, exert a subtle but essential influence on national identity. In order to clarify the process of Chinese national evolution, then, transportation and national identity are proper entry points.

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.

Hashtag IAmGay campaign on Sina Weibo: a case study of the online activism and discourse of LGBT community in China

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-11
Abstract: 

This study aims to analyze the characteristics of the online activism and discourse of the Chinese LGBT community in hashtag IAmGay campaign through content and discourse analysis. The case of this essay, hashtag IAmGay campaign, is a representation of the digital contention of Chinese society. Online activism has changed the passive position of Chinese netizens and built multiple connections with Chinese government. Chinese LGBT online activism is cultural and social, through which Chinese LGBT community challenged the government in an indirect way. By using appealing and challenging online discourse, Chinese LGBT community is trying to forge a nascent social movement and put forward demands for policy and official attitude change. Based on the content and discourse analysis, this study concludes with the discussion that there is possibility for China to constitute an emergent subaltern public sphere for LGBT community in cyberspace under the premise of not challenging the stability of the regime.

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

Communication as Intervention: Contextualizing the alt-right discourse of ‘women as wombs’

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-13
Abstract: 

The paper serves as a foundation for a future podcast responding to alt-right online discourse surrounding the status of women. Through a virtual ethnography, alt-right discourse and narratives are examined and better understood in the context of their virtual environments, noting the ability of the online realm to facilitate the spread of information and ideologies. As a focal point of alt-right discourse, traditionalism and the pivotal role of white women as bearers of white children is examined with respect to the history of control and subordination of women and their bodies for the benefit of the state. The research illustrates how trends within alt-right narratives establish a foundation for misogynistic ideals in which racism and sexism become intertwined. The paper further outlines how the internet provides a platform for alt-right discourse to grow, but also notes the ability of the internet to serve as a platform to intervene with such discourse.

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

The news at 404: Archiving and accessing online news content

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-05-25
Abstract: 

As news outlets focus their resources on producing more digital content — in some cases ceasing print production entirely — the questions of if and how online news is archived become ever more pressing. While methods of delivering news content online have developed extensively over the past decade, strategies for preserving this content remain unclear, leaving content vulnerable to erasure. Moreover, the study of these archiving efforts remains largely at the fringe of academic research. Digital news cannot be archived in the same ways as its paper counterpart. The content is archived primarily through news media websites and news aggregation sites such as Factiva, LexisNexis, and ProQuest\'s Canadian Newsstream, who offer subscription-based access to archived digital content. This study aims to contribute to the understanding of the processes, policies, and perhaps politics, of news archiving in the digital era. This project documents the rates at which online Canadian national newspapers archive digital articles. In addition to monitoring archiving and permanent deletion trends, this project presents the variation in rates at which national news articles are archived by secondary archiving services Canadian Newsstream, Factiva, and LexisNexis. For this project, a sample of 688 online articles was collected over a constructed week from the Globe and Mail, National Post, and CBC News websites. Of the 688 total, 210 stories were from CBC, 240 were from the Globe, and 238 were from the Post. A quantitative content analysis was conducted on the sample to identify potential trends in how and why some articles are excluded from media outlets’ archives and secondary archives. At the end of a five year observation period, 584 of the original 688 articles were still available through the original sites. 55 of the original 688 stories were permanently deleted from the news sites. The study finds significant article loss by Canadian Newsstream, Factiva, and LexisNexis archives with rates of missing articles being three to five times higher for these secondary sites than the news media sites. Several factors impact the archiving rates for articles in the samples. They include: the parceling of licensed content; the use of video content on news websites; and the reliance on wire stories which are not archived at the same rate as content generated in-house. At its root, this project seeks to raise questions about long-term access to information. As the news media transitions further into the digital realm, the ability of individuals to access content becomes less certain. This potentially impacts community memory; the ability of individuals to access their history through media; and reduces the capacity of researchers to conduct news media-based historical analyses. Threats to future access to Canadian digital news media are threats to myriad forms of research that rely on news articles for historical information.

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

Variables Relevant to Citizen Participatory Engagement in Technology-Mediated Democratic Systems

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2018-10-15
Abstract: 

Without citizen participation, democracy is empty of meaning. The purpose of this mixed-mode study is to identify variables relevant to citizen participation in advanced technology-mediated democratic systems such as Canada. A particular interest is to understand the comparative relevance of technological channels of communication, used by media, citizens and other social actors, to citizen participation. The results are based on primary data from 304 responses to a comprehensive survey and 20 in-depth interviews conducted by the author. Associations between 1048 questions about seven classes of participation and five groups of predictors are analyzed. In analysis, only non-parametric ordinal methods are used. First, outstanding predictors for particular forms and classes of participation are identified. Then, theoretical implications regarding predictors relevant to most classes of participation are formulated. Big data false discovery rate criterion is used to deal with the issues of high dimensionality and to identify outstanding relevances. A strong sense of social responsibility for fairness (nationally, internationally, and in international relations), national altruism, the feeling of being oppressed, attention to rights and freedoms, and political, economic, social, and cultural issues are associated with all types of citizen participation. Independent sources, empowered by the Internet and the World Wide Web, have outstanding relevance to citizen participation. Web 2.0 and other Internet based channels, such as telecommunications applications and mobile apps, have provided additional spheres of dialogue and expression for participating citizens. In this study, hundreds of other significant associations regarding particular forms of participation are identified and reported. They have implications for many social actors including the government, educational and media organizations, producers, policy makers, political parties, unions, activists, and parents.

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

Chinese art worlds in China and abroad: Art Collectors, institutions and cultural identity

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-01-07
Abstract: 

Over the past decades, Chinese art collectors have drawn worldwide attention to their active acquisitions of artworks in both domestic and international art markets. On the one hand, the development of Chinese modern art and contemporary art has been accompanied by anxiety and uncertainty since the beginning of China’s search for modernity. On the other hand, with China’s reopening to the outside world, particularly concerning its economy, the rapid development of China’s art market and involvement in the international art market have brought China to the spotlight of the international art world. Hence, the impacts of the dynamic art market driven by Chinese art collectors in China on shaping the development of contemporary Chinese art and the perceptions of contemporary Chinese art domestically and internationally is worth exploring.

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

The Medicine Wheel and the transference of Indigenous knowledge from grandmother to granddaughter - AND - The power of words and Medicine Wheel teachings as a tool for decolonization

Date created: 
2018-11-28
Abstract: 

Essay 1: For four decades, Marjorie Mackie facilitated a Medicine Wheel workshop that she, herself developed for therapeutic purposes in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction amongst Indigenous peoples. The research for this paper was done in an interview format between Marjorie, my grandmother, and I. This paper reflects a co-creation process resulting in my grandmother passing her knowledge of the Medicine Wheel on to me. This paper demonstrates several things: 1. The relationship between my grandmother and I; 2. The responsibility I have shown as the researcher to honour my grandmother and her teachings; 3. The passing of knowledge from an elder to the next generation; 4. The Medicine Wheel teachings themselves, which serve as a moral guide to a well-lived life; and 5. My grandmother’s work with the Medicine Wheel as intellectual labour. Essay 2: It is vital to explore not only the history of words and their effects, but to also explore how an understanding of words can be used to decolonize language. This paper examines some of the ideas found within the Medicine Wheel. These ideas are not meant to be kept in the abstract, but to be applied to one’s own life in order to achieve wholeness and peace of mind, body and spirit. As an Indigenous woman working with her Grandmother in order to learn and to explore Medicine Wheel teachings, understanding the power of words and their impacts is essential because it prevents the projection of false beliefs and myths onto the teachings. My exploration of language and the Medicine Wheel is accomplished through both a westernized lens and through an Indigenous lens. I consider and use western academic discussions of discourse, structuralism and myth in combination with affirming the historical trauma associated with being Indigenous, as well as Indigenous storytelling, spirituality and community. The process of deconstructing language and myth in my own life is a journey of both frustration and healing. The discovery of the ways in which false belief systems have impacted my life and my understanding of the Medicine Wheel has left me with an acceptance of personal responsibility in knowing that I alone, choose what to allow into my consciousness and that which I choose to release. This Essay is a journey of healing and of understanding. It is a journey of self-acceptance and personal responsibility. To decolonize language is to decolonize one’s own heart and in doing so the journey continues.

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

Utopian visions of small city transformation: The challenge and potential of enacting small city cultural sustainability agendas in an age of globalization, and against the backdrop of the creative cities phenomenon.

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-12
Abstract: 

Amidst a rising tide of awareness surrounding the unsustainable futures facing cities large and small, theorists and practitioners alike are turning to culture as a way to understand and foster new possibilities surrounding sustainable development. Small cities are seen by some to cultivate, by nature of their size and the kinds of connectivity they engender, unique understandings of the value of culture. While not all small cities offer progressive understandings of cultural sustainability, many are working with these concepts in progressive and innovative ways. This dissertation seeks to unpack the phenomenon of cultural sustainability – examining its relationship with the creative cities phenomenon of the 1990’s/2000’s, and with the over-arching logics posed by the larger forces of neoliberal globalization. It looks at the ways in which cultural sustainability agendas are being implemented by governments within municipal small city contexts – the empirical portion of this study conducting case studies analysis, including documentary research, interviews and critical analysis, of the British Columbian (Canadian) small cities of Prince George, Kelowna and Kamloops. Through this research I explore a potential paradigmatic shift – from Creative Cities to Sustainable Creative Cities. I probe at the differences between these two world-views, and ask how leaders intent on activating new holistic and future-conscious forms of development might conceptualize culture’s sustainable development role. Within this journey, I recognize a unique potential within small cities, in particular, for the formation of new approaches to sustainable cultural development – acknowledging their place on the margins of dominant municipal leadership practice and their subsequent potential capacity for innovation and change. Here I uncover significant challenges, as well as ‘glimmers of hope’, as these cities struggle to actualize culture’s sustainable development potential.

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

Empire and dispossession: Coal, communication, and the labour process at the origins of capitalism in British Columbia, 1849 – 1903

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-12-10
Abstract: 

Coal mining on Vancouver Island was a conjunctural point for two complementary systems of dispossession: capitalism and colonialism. Soon after London granted the island and its minerals to the Hudson’s Bay Company in January 1849, industrial mining began to replace the previously non-capitalist organization of the coalfield. The island shifted into industrialization in part through its entanglement in Pacific markets hungry for coal. The tools and capital that returned on homeward voyages hastened mining’s development, while transoceanic maritime networks provided inflows of labour power. As energy capital developed internally, strategies to displace Indigenous organization of the land were matched by efforts to alienate miners from acting as a class in their own interests. Through analysis of archival evidence, this project demonstrates that Vancouver Island mining before 1903 proceeded through a series of compounding deprivations, generally beneficial to islanders occupying dominant economic positions. Toward unpacking this history, “Empire and Dispossession” asks three questions: how did the coal industry support the development of capitalist social relations in the Pacific, north of parallel forty-nine; how did transportation systems sustain the expansion of empires operating on the island; and what social, political, and economic relationships conditioned technical change in the mines? Taken together, the answers to these questions root the development of capitalism in active power relationships of class and race. This project’s original contributions to communication studies include a historical narrative of Western Canadian capitalism, otherwise absent in the field; the development of a transportation-focused approach to communication, rooted in the work of Karl Marx; a history of Indigenous transportation and communication labour at the origins of capitalism on Vancouver Island; and a reinterpretation and application of labour-process theory to the mutually constitutive development of coal-mining machinery, social class, and race in the island’s mines.

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