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

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In good conscience: fast food, greenwashing and advertising

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-09-15
Abstract: 

This thesis addresses a new style of green promotion in the fast food industry by critically analysing one advertisement from each of A&W’s “Better Beef”, McDonald’s’ “Your Questions”, and Chipotle’s “Back to the Start” campaigns. Three main questions are explored: whether these campaigns help incite high quality environmental change or merely perpetuate the unsustainable status quo; whether each company is taking real responsibility for change or continuing to push responsibility onto consumers; and whether these advertisements are providing opportunities for consumers to feel fulfilled or only providing short term gratification. Using greenwashing, public relations, and advertising theories to aid analysis, this thesis argues that green themes in fast food advertising should not be taken at face value as they hinder environmental change in the fast food industry. This thesis concludes that green fast food ads continue cycles of consumption, harming possibilities for future change in production and consumption practices.

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

Undertale: Violence in Context

Date created: 
2017-08-17
Abstract: 

The following capstone paper analyses the communication of non-violence and killing in the digital computer game Undertale (TobyFox, 2015). I discuss the implications this has for how we speak and think about violence and (virtual) pacifism in games and game spaces. I conclude that we need to consider a more nuanced approach to discussing violence in digital games. I further argue that Undertale, and related Indie games, bridge the (artificial) gap between serious games and entertainment games. The line that exists academically and economically between these two sectors ultimately contributes to an extreme understanding of games on either side that limits our understanding of what games are and what they can do that is ultimately harmful to both sides. I therefore encourage a reconsideration of these two game genres.

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

Race and real estate: How data informed public debate on BC's Foreign Buyer Tax

Abstract: 

This capstone references works and theories surrounding the 2016 debate over causal factors of Vancouver’s inflated real estate market. Where and how this discussion has been informed by data will be examined through a case study supported by an analysis of mainstream media headlines. This case study will lead to an examination of data as concept, a tool for making disorder “legible” (Scott, 1998), after which Checkland’s model of dare and capere is referenced to further break down the interpretive nature of data. Both theories are discussed when I revisit Bill 28’s Property Transfer Tax (PTT) form amendment alongside a few observations about the use of data in policy narratives.

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

Ritwik Kumar Ghatak: Subaltern Auteur of Bengali Cinema

Date created: 
2017-07-31
Abstract: 

In 1947, as the British colonial rulers left, the local leaders chose to have the entire South-Asian subcontinent partitioned into two countries basing on a sectarian ground: India and Pakistan. Pakistan was born into two slices apart from each other by sixteen hundred kilometers of Indian territory to home the Muslims of the area and human history experienced the largest exodus ever. The border between the then East Pakistan and India remains the "most porous border" till today (Ghosh, 2016). This border divided the people of Bengali ethnicity into two in the name of religion; riots broke out, trauma lingered. Usually, such significant historical events get wide coverage in film and literature. But, that did not happen to Bengal as the people of both the countries chose national/religious identity over ethnic identity. The uprooted and migrated people who were looking for 'home' in exile become the subalterns who could not speak out their trauma. Gayatri Charkarvorty Spivak suggests in her 1988 piece titled "Can the Subaltern Speak?" that subaltern-ness is a position without identity (University of California Television [UCTV], 2008). And even they managed to speak, they were often overlooked and silenced. Ritwik Kumar Ghatak, being a refugee himself, wanted to communicate his trauma and identity crisis caused by the Partition'47 through his films; all his films failed to reach the audience of his time. After decades of his demise, his films remain as indictment of a time the people of Bengal wanted to overlook. This paper attempts to read Ghatak as a subaltern filmmaker who tried to pen down what his people i.e. the refugees wanted to speak out, by providing a close reading of his Partition trilogy, Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), Komal Gandhar (1961) and Subarnarekha (1962).

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

Who is telling the “truth”? Wikipedia articles on Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement as a Case Study of Alternative Knowledge Production

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-29
Abstract: 

Wikipedia is considered as a challenge to established forms of scientific knowledge production, which has been dominated by the West for centuries, for shaking its superiority over other forms of knowledge to determine what is the reality. Through a comparative discourse analysis of Wikipedia articles on Umbrella Movement in Chinese and English as well as editors’ discussions on the “Talk Page”, this research demonstrates how this event has been presented differently in global and local contexts. By examining this particular case study, the author presents the difficulty of “translating” local knowledge to global. The marginalization of local editors on English page and the dominance of activist opinion on Chinese page make local knowledge production become the reproduction of western epistemology, which is far from creating an alternative to the knowledge hegemony.

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

Gendered Images in Oral History Documentary: A Case Study of Wode Kangzhan

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-17
Abstract: 

This essay explores the discourse construction of gender images in oral history documentaries through a case study of an influential Chinese oral history documentary series called Wode Kangzhan (My War of Resistance). It first outlines the rise of oral history studies and in recent years and its benefits. Besides, it introduces the influence and importance of Wode Kangzhan. Then, the article examines the overall gendered images in the documentary through data analysis and employs discourse analysis to reveal the documentary's gendered discourse through selected story lines. It finds out that Wode Kangzhan has a gendered discourse disciplined by gender hegemony.

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

Cultural Identity and Cultural Capital: An Exploration of Chinese-Canadian Immigrant Families’ Reading Practices and Chinese Literature

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-24
Abstract: 

This paper explores Chinese immigrants’ reading practices of Chinese literature and relies on the concepts of cultural identity and cultural capital to consider how families in Vancouver read Chinese literature. This case study consists of interviews that I conducted with fourteen participants from twelve Chinese immigrant families in Vancouver, B.C, Canada in 2017. This research shows that within immigrant families, active readers of Chinese literature tend to be mainly immigrants who emigrated as adult and youth. And their reading practices indicates how Chinese immigrants deal with their Chinese cultural identities and the cultural capital that Chinese literature carries in the context of immigration.

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

Venezuela’s media war: Coexistence and confrontation in the struggles of the Bolivarian Revolution

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-08-18
Abstract: 

In the midst of economic crisis and violent anti-government protests, the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, convoked a Constituent Assembly in May 2017. The initiative aims to transform the State and craft a new Constitution without consulting the Venezuelan people. The response of the population has intensified the division between government and opposition, generating unexpected turns that make it difficult for media to provide a proper and accurate coverage of events. This paper uses critical discourse analysis of newspaper’s articles and Twitter trending topics to suggest that these media platforms have constructed a dichotomy. This dichotomy addresses the Constituent Assembly as a victory for the Bolivarian Revolution, but a misfortune for the opposition. It also denotes the use linguistic means to validate the political ideology of the media platforms analyzed. I argue that this construction keeps fragmenting media spheres in Venezuela, perverting their role and fostering confrontation and inequality within both groups. A thorough study of the complexities of Venezuela’s political realm and an inter-political approach to transforming the legal framework are proposed to foster freedom of expression over the defense of political ideologies in media.

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

Nation Branding and Public Diplomacy in Argentina. Capitalist Insertion or Survival Strategies?

Date created: 
2017-08-03
Abstract: 

In the present global interdependent system, the relationship among Nation-States has intensified. In pursuit of capitalist insertion and to bolster their position in the national arena, governments have been implementing Nation Branding and Public Diplomacy strategies to attract investments, tourism and qualified labor. But under the inherent inequalities of the capitalist system, are underdeveloped countries truly jockeying for strategic positions or are they enacting strategies to ensure their own survival? This thesis combines Complex Interdependence Theory and Soft Power with Core-Periphery Theory to explain the nation branding and public diplomacy strategies of peripheral states. Argentina is the Nation-State selected to illustrate the struggles of a developing country facing the autonomy vs dependence choice and the implementation of international insertion strategies depending on the narrative different governments are aiming to portray. The period selected for analysis covers the last 4 administrations that followed the profound 2001 economic, political and social crisis in Argentina encompassing the administrations of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner and Mauricio Macri.

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

Editorial caricature representations of female political leaders in Jamaica: The case of Portia Simpson Miller

Date created: 
2017-08-30
Abstract: 

Women’s political participation has been the cause of much discussion globally. The points of contention and the intensity of these discussions vary across borders. However, issues of sexuality, the iron-fist woman versus the nurturing woman, the need for women to adapt to the machismo of the political system and leadership capabilities of females remain constant themes. In Jamaica these discussions were heightened in 2006 with the ascension of Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller. Mainstream media vividly captured the gender discourse of the society through its editorial caricatures. This research paper will describe and analyse editorial caricature representations of female political leaders in Jamaica with particular focus on Portia Simpson Miller. The caricatures to be discussed will span 2006 to 2016. During this time Mrs Simpson Miller served as Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2016 when her party lost the general election. The literature review will cover perspectives on gender and sexism, women in leadership and media representation, which are explored in the context of the representation of women in politics in Jamaica.

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.