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

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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.

Cultivating Resistance? Urban Sustainability, Neoliberalism, and Community Gardens

Date created: 
2015-03-25
Abstract: 

In the past two decades sustainability has emerged as an important agenda in urban planning, with increasing international interest in urban compactness, smart growth, and healthy and sustainable communities. Drawing upon policies and practices implemented in major North American cities, particularly Vancouver, this thesis explores the various ends to which urban sustainability is being appropriated in practice. In particular, this study identifies an economistic and entrepreneurial ethos underlying municipal policy-making which reinforces a narrow, neo-liberal form of sustainability. It then explores the application of this ethos to community gardens, identifying a significant tension between grassroots practices of community gardening (which tend to pull sustainability in a more radical direction which fosters principles of social and environmental justice) and a developer/municipal government led appropriation of such practices (which are often built around maximizing profit and the privatization of urban space). This contextual exploration of sustainability policies, practices and politics adds to our understanding of neo-liberal urban responses to social and ecological crises, and the civic strategies that resist them.

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

Communication and interprofessional collaborative practice: collective sensemaking work

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-12-08
Abstract: 

Communication is often listed as a key ingredient for effective interprofessional collaborative practice (ICP) in health care, and is frequently conceptualized as information transmission. Without denying this important function, I propose to problematize communication as constitutive, social action. This allows us to understand ICP as a process of collective sensemaking that emerges in and through communicative action. Taking seriously the term practice in ICP, this ethnography adopts a practice theory lens, informed by ethnomethodology and interaction analysis, to examine and characterize a specific practice: the interprofessional patient case review in daily team rounds. This practice is seen to be collectively enacted in routines and socio-materially embedded in other practices. The study draws on observations and audio recordings of 4,000 patient case reviews from 120 daily rounds of 3 interprofessional acute care teams in a university hospital in Western Canada. Variations in practice within and across the teams prompted three interrelated and emergent analyses. First, I show the importance of introductions to case reviews as salience-framing resources that emplot the patient’s situation on the care trajectory for listening team members, thereby underscoring the essential gatekeeping role played by charge nurses. I argue an interprofessional performance has to do with heedful interrelating, discernable in interaction as displayed mindfulness of difference and an attentiveness to expressions of uncertainty. Second, I recast the question of medical dominance in terms of authorship, and consider its interactional enactment. Here, the presence of a medical representative changes the focus of sensemaking work as well as the audience for whom talk is designed. Third, I examine potential stabilizers of sensemaking practice in the context of shifting team composition. Practice is stabilized and continuity of the patient’s story maintained through the participation of multiple authors or “story porters,” both human and non-human, shedding new light on IP and multivocality. These findings inform a model of IP sensemaking in the patient case review, especially highlighting the key role of the hybrid nurse-and-notes actor and the importance of sensitivity to expressions of uncertainty. The model could be useful in teaching interprofessional practice to students and practitioners.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Gary McCarron
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Communications
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Food sovereignty as multiple resistances: the Honduran movement in global context

Date created: 
2014-09-19
Abstract: 

Food sovereignty reconciles the local and global in its creative political imaginary of the meaning of sovereignty that justifies “multiple resistances.” This research explores this reconciliation of local and global through the case study of the food sovereignty project being advanced by campesino organizations in the Aguán Valley, Honduras, as situated within the dynamic nexus of local and global discourses, movements, and material realities. I argue that food sovereignty reconceives sovereignty as multiple, fixed and relational. The food sovereignty project invokes state sovereignty as a tool of resistance against the global corporate food regime, while also pushing to open new spaces for multiple sovereignties in both form and jurisdiction. As a collective rights framework, food sovereignty movements mobilize human rights frames to address immediate needs while continuing a long-term struggle for communal rights rooted in “alternative” peasant ways of living and working. This case study also raises questions about the relationship between different political and agroecological expressions of food sovereignty. While local and global food sovereignty discourses and practices are largely congruent, it is important to also consider how other tensions exists within and across different movement spaces. Food sovereignty holds great creative potential but also faces considerable challenges to the realization of its emancipatory project.

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

The Sexual Workshop: A Technology and Phenomenology of Internet Porn

Author: 
Date created: 
2014-06-03
Abstract: 

This thesis is an attempt to develop a synthetic philosophical analysis that will shed light on the meanings of online pornography for contemporary masculinity, set against the background of longstanding feminist debate about the nature and role of pornography in contemporary societies, and borrowing strongly from ideas found in Heidegger's writing on technology and Dasein, as well as Marcuse's analysis of eros. I argue that the “others” of our erotic fantasies are replacing the humans we are closest to, as we ourselves are being transformed into “others” by the technologies that surround us. This view is in contrast with much of the discourse on sexuality up to the present day, a discourse that is strongly influenced by a subject-object dualistic framework strongly influenced by Freud. I suggest that often self-produced, interactive pornography, is emerging as a new kind of “incitement mechanism” in regards to human sexuality. Yet, interactive pornography is still at an early stage of development and its future is far from clear. It might potentially open up alternative, potentially liberating, modes of sexual experience, or simply reproduce existing forms of masculine oppression.

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

LFG: Looking for Global (and Local) in Online Gaming

Date created: 
2014-08-20
Abstract: 

‘Global’ and ‘Local’ are prevailing terms used to indicate the varying and often opposing characteristics of different subjects in the context of globalisation. Yet what is meant by their use is multifaceted and not discrete: ‘global’ and ‘local’ apply different according to what is being examined. To demonstrate and clarify the diversity of globals and locals, this paper investigates how three such uses apply to online computer games. Online games embody many clearly identifiable aspects of globalisation, such as the compression of space and time, the fear of alienation of communities and individuals, and the question of the role of the nation-state. These three aspects of online games will be considered in terms of ‘global’ and ‘local’.

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.