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

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Fandom, Youth and Western Pop Music in China

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

In the wake of globalization and social media, fan culture in China has undergone huge transformation. However, in the context of a socialist market economy (Fung, 2009) and state control, Chinese fan culture has shown different characteristics from elsewhere. This article attempts to provide a political and economic background that examines the development of fandom in China and investigates the relationship between young people and fan culture by looking into the practices of fan communities across western pop music.

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.

The Latest Korean TV Format Wave on Chinese Television: A Political Economy Analysis

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-21
Abstract: 

Since China’s reform and open-up, the political economic structure of Chinese media has experienced a huge transformation. Though still officially controlled by the Chinese state, Chinese media have been increasingly relying on commercial avenues. In order to reach the most lucrative consumer segment, Chinese TV producers have been striving to attract the urban middle class and create entertainment programs that cater to their latest tastes. The theories of audience commodity and digital labor are able to explain how Chinese television programs are oriented to the urban middle class, to the neglect of the voices of more marginal social groups. Although the phenomenon of buying foreign program copyrights is not new for Chinese TV producers, the latest Chinese versions of Korean reality shows, exemplified by Dad, Where are We Going, have become a special genre with high audience ratings. However, with their omnipresent inserted ads and product placements, it is also clear that that Chinese television has been commercialized one step further. In doing so, these popular programs have strengthened their class bias in a more obvious way, allowing middle class values and ideologies to become the most prominent mainstream social values. This has further diminished the space for China’s working class and farmers to express their voices. As Chinese television is further subordinated to the commercial logic, it has also intensified its role in shaping class relations in Chinese society.

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.

Transnational communication of Chinese artefacts: the top-down and bottom-up model

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

Culture in the hegemonic process at the international relations level, according to Gramsci and neo-Gramscian scholars, could play both maintenance and resistance roles regarding the neo-liberal world order. After China’s entrance to the WTO in 2001, the transnational communication of Chinese artefacts has followed a state-centered and capitalist-directed top-down model, which maintains the neo-liberal world order. Chinese artefacts and culture that stand for or are created by subaltern classes are marginalized in this process, which intensifies the uneven world order. Accordingly, to gain a more even world order, culture should play a resistance role to challenge the current one. The bottom-up model should be added to the transnational communication of Chinese artefacts. The double line, both the top-down and bottom-up, is an ideal model for this counter-hegemonic process.

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

Building the Liveable Creative City: Urban Cultural Policy and the Politics of Space in Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

With the rise of the post-industrial economy, cities worldwide have increasingly turned to cultural flagship development in an effort to attract capital and build an image of a world-class metropolis. This paper examines an instance of such development in Vancouver, Canada: the proposed relocation of the city’s major art museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG), in order to explicate the politics of cultural policymaking and urban development as they unfold in the Vancouver context. While the VAG proposal was predominantly justified as key to building a globally competitive vision of Vancouver as a liveable and creative city, this paper illustrates how this vision breaks down when confronted with the consequences of its pursuit – such as gentrification and displacement – as an urban planning strategy. This paper ultimately points to the complex and contradictory ways culture is implicated in neoliberal urbanism, arguing that culture is unevenly valorized as a central component of contemporary city building in Vancouver.

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

Film gatekeepers corp. presents… So this is China? Chinese cinema(s) distribution and circulation: between global markets, capitalist art-houses, and informal venues of resistance

Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

This paper argues that our access of Chinese films is mediated by politicized cannons, non-transparent global distribution patterns, and the commodified need of cultural audiovisual references. To observe how global distribution and circulation of Chinese cinemas materialize an exploratory case study was used to analyze those Chinese films that have been distributed in important art-houses in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Peru in recent years. The analysis shows how distribution for that part of the global south is translocal and problematically rooted in European and U.S. hegemonic media capitals. This has implications for how we think about China’s ideological projection. 本文试图论证中国的电影传播受到了三个因素的影响:政治调控力量,不透明的全球电影发行结构和文化的商品化。本文将通过研究近年来中国电影在阿根廷、墨西哥、智利和秘鲁的艺术剧院 的发行传播来分析中国电影的全球传播特点。在被研究的这些南方国家的里,中国电影的传播呈现出了跨区域 的特征,并且其传播机制根植于欧美国家所创造的媒介资本霸权之中。本文对于读者深刻了解中国的意识形态的全球传播有着一定的借鉴意义。Este documento argumenta que el acceso a los filmes chinos está mediado por cánones politizados, patrones globales no-transparentes y la necesidad comodificada de referencias culturales audiovisuales. Para observar cómo la distribución y circulación del cine(s) chino se materializa, se utilizó un estudio de caso exploratorio para analizar las películas chinas que han sido distribuidas recientemente en importantes festivales de cine en Argentina, México, Brasil, Chile y Perú. Este análisis muestra cómo la distribución hacia esos lugares del ‘sur del mundo’ es trans-local y está problemáticamente arraigado en capitales mediáticas hegemónicas en Europa y Estados Unidos. Esto tiene implicaciones sobre cómo comprendemos la proyección ideológica de China.

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.

China’s Contested Past & The World Heritage Centre: Developing Pasts & Promises

Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

This paper investigates the cultural side of China’s re-integration to the global economy, it’s admittance to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and it’s ongoing re- structuring of its economy, via its integration into the World Heritage Centre (WHC) and the ongoing re-structuring of the ideological foundations of China’s authorized heritage. Taking for granted the interwoven relationships between visions of development and the development of the past, my inquiry focuses on the WHC - with its globalizing development of an authorized “global heritage order” - and it’s relationship to China’s “opening up” to capitalist-lead development models. The paper illustrates, by using the WHC site of Pingyao as a case example, how China’s emerging national authorized approach to the past – articulated through the international WHC – displaces political alternatives found in China’s cultural archive: supplanting the communist political foundations.

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.

Diasporic Media and Transcultural Journalism: a case study of OMNI TV Chinese News in Greater Vancouver

Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

With the increasingly multicultural demography in Greater Vancouver, diasporic media have played an important role in addressing the needs and concerns of immigrants from all over the world. Diasporic media’s strong commitment to show positive recognitions to their intended ethnic community can, however, be seen as a double-edged sword. While their allegiance has, to a certain degree, fractured the “regime of objectivity” found mostly in mainstream media, it has not fully captured the diversity and transcultural interactions between and within ethnic groups. Diasporic broadcasting has accordingly consolidated ethnic enclaves and created the problem of reification. To remedy the situation and foster the transcultural communication in journalism, this paper calls for an establishment of a new regime – the regime of intersubjectivity – to replace the “regime of objectivity.” A three-dimensional model of in-group and out-group transcultural communication in journalism is thus proposed to conceptualize the new regime of intersubjectivity.

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.

The Politics of Reality Television: Struggling Over the Chinese Nation

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-08-08
Abstract: 

Reality television has in recent formed the staple diet of most entertainment channels on Chinese television. While discussions around reality television in the English-language academia is becoming richer and more varied, there remains to be a dearth of academic research and writing on Chinese reality Programming. This essay responds to this scarcity by examining the politics of Chinese reality television. By performing textual analysis on Fei Cheng Wu Rao (If You Are the One 2011), Zhong Guo Hao Wu Dao (China’s Best Dance, 2014), Baba Qu Na Er 2 (Where are We Going, Dad? 2) – three most popular reality television shows in China – this essay argues that Chinese reality television is a critical and complex cultural site where a vision of Chinese identity is articulated and made visible, as well as a place where the tensions and struggles of China’s understanding of itself and market imperatives are contested and battled over.

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

Reflections on cooperative experiences in rural Yunnan: 1942 - 2010

Date created: 
2012-07-19
Abstract: 

The thesis has a double focus: on the one hand, it deals with instances of cooperative economic development in Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County, Yunnan, China, covering three time periods between 1942 and 2010; on the other, it contextualizes these studies’ central conceptual thread – the presence or absence of participatory decision-making - through a more general consideration of the relationship between leadership and led in China. Workers’ cooperatives are by their very nature democratic institutions, based on the principles of worker self-management and ‘one man, one vote’. It is instructive to look at the reality of their practice in a Chinese context, so I examine theoretical approaches to governance relationships arising out of the Chinese experience and studies that consider strategies arising from actual situations. The thesis is quintessentially about a kind of communication mediated by the intervention of cultural, language and ethnicity differences and centering crucially on varying perceptions of ‘cooperation’, ‘cooperatives’, and ‘participation’. The studies first examine the cooperative experience of Lijiang County in the early 1940s, when Chinese Gung Ho industrial cooperatives developed nationwide and in Lijiang in response to the dislocation of the Anti-Japanese war. In Lijiang, I argue, the remarkable qualities of Peter Goullart, Lijiang Gung Ho Depot Master, helped to ensure relative success. In the 1990s, the thesis is concerned with the Simon Fraser University (SFU)/Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences (YASS) ‘Cooperative Development (Yunnan, China)’ project intended, if possible, to assist with poverty alleviation in Lijiang County through establishing a new generation of small cooperatives. A secondary emphasis through these sections of the thesis is placed on the role of Lijiang people’s memories of Gung Ho in sustaining an interest in cooperatives; collaborative research between SFU, YASS, and Lijiang partners; and the important role of strong Naxi cooperative traditions. The third study, bringing Lijiang cooperatives into a new era, is of the Yuhu Ecotourism Cooperative. I conclude that cooperatives in the three historic periods show different forms and degrees of participation, and that the relationship between leadership and led in China is one of extraordinary diversity and complexity, dynamic, interactive and multi-layered.

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

Connecting Classrooms for 21st Century Learning: A Study of Alignment, Innovation and Change in a BC School District

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-07-09
Abstract: 

Aligning information technology (IT) with an organization’s strategy has presented an enduring problem for organizations wishing to exploit the strategic potential of technology. For some time the concept of IT alignment has been closely associated with increases in organizational performance, agility and the capacity of organizations to transform and change themselves. This has motivated researchers and practitioners alike to search for increasingly effective means through which they can understand, shape and integrate information technologies to support strategic goals.The idea of alignment has been especially problematic in educational organizations and school districts that have long been struggling to effectively integrate technology into classrooms. In education, information and communication technologies have an historical legacy of being viewed as not much more than a way to reduce labour costs. This is beginning to change as administrators increasingly reflect on the failures of the past and the demands they must meet in the future.This dissertation develops an analysis of IT alignment in an educational organization by presenting an examination of the design, development and deployment of a social computing innovation called a Collaborative Learning Platform (CLP) in a greater Vancouver school district.The dissertation aims to make several contributions to theoretical and empirical work on the subject of alignment, and attempts to challenge existing conceptions and approaches to the problem. It suggests that in spite of the volumes of research on IT alignment, much of this work has failed to pay attention to the complexity of the phenomenon and has instead continued to provide prescriptive advice of limited utility. Much of this research has also lacked theoretical substance, which has made it difficult to discern any cohesive explanation about what alignment actually means or how it works.The dissertation addresses these problems in the context of an educational reform initiative in British Columbia. By using ideas from actor-network theory, structuration theory and critical sociology, this research provides a theoretically informed and empirically grounded description of IT alignment that reveals a complex and contingent process. The contributions developed in this work suggest that IT alignment is not a state, but an ongoing and iterative process involving the strategic design and deployment of what actor-network theory calls technological mediators. An mediator is a information technology that simply transports meaning between actors and coordinates their interactions. mediators have communicative significance because they work to represent and translate organizational strategies through contexts of everyday practice. In so doing, these mediators enact and simultaneously structure the activities involved in alignment. The process of alignment is essentially recursive and historical, involving the ability of actors to pragmatically incorporate these mediators into their practices.

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