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

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Shanzhai-ed Didi and the “New Chinatown”: WeChat-based ride-hailing among Chinese international students in Metro Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-12
Abstract: 

This thesis examines the role WeChat plays in the life experience of Chinese international students in Metro Vancouver, Canada, focusing on the use and development of ride-hailing platforms from July to November 2018. By following WeChat-based underground ride-hailing using multi-sited ethnography (Marcus, 1995) and interviewing students working as drivers and using these services, this thesis conceptualize WeChat as an assemblage (Slack, 2012) that combines infrastructures, networks, ideas and spaces, rather than another imported social media application hindering their acculturation. This thesis examines students’ economic and social practices in replicating a digitally-connected “Chinese” lifestyle in Canada through “shanzhai-ed” platforms on WeChat, which are shaped and restricted by local media discourses and regulations, including BC’s long-existing yellow peril discourse (Deer, 2006). Examining ride-hailing as part of the assemblage, this thesis showcases the entanglement of these students’ lives with technologies, social networks, labour and spaces in the local negative discursive and regulatory environment.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Kirsten McAllister
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Do the images of Chinese films mirroring imperialism? Take the Chinese film Wolf Warrior II as an example

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-30
Abstract: 

The "Going Global" strategy of Chinese culture aims to allow foreign countries to understand Chinese culture better and convey the voice of peace through cultural forms such as movies. Wolf Warrior 2, a Chinese film, has a very high box office in China. It may be inconsistent with the way China hopes to portray itself on the global stage. This article uses the Chinese commercial film Wolf Warrior 2, released in 2017 and re-screened in 2020, as a research case to evaluate whether it reflects imperialist power. Through case analysis and text analysis of movie content, this article considers the mapping of Wolf Warrior 2 to imperialist power from the protagonist's image, lines, and movie images and reveals the causes of this phenomenon from the economic, political, and cultural aspects.

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

MMORPG avatars: Representations of escapism in Chinese society based on semiotics of culture

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-27
Abstract: 

The development of Internet technology and globalization have boosted the game industry, and among which Massive Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGs) provide a space where players could create their own avatar at will, and generate their physical and psychological involvement to participate in the virtual experience of the game context. Through cases with semiotics analysis and cultural phenomenon, the correlation between in-game avatar and escapism in Chinese context would be examined on how do in-game avatars connect with escapism in China. This highly resilient virtual social space provides a malleable field far from reality, for the transition from culture to nature, from reality to illusion, and from self to digital self. By analyzing the correlation and rooted reasons between in-game avatar in MMORPGs and escapism in Chinese social context, this project will contribute to the re-understanding of the symbolic meaning of in-game avatars and realistic meaning in Chinese society.

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

The press coverage of celebrity endorsements in political campaign

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-22
Abstract: 

The press is regarded as a political instrument all over the world, and the media are an integral part of the political life in most democratic societies, serving for most people as their major and only link with the government and providing them with the information they need to make political decisions, based on their political dispositions. The mass media in every society can determine status and legitimacy of political leaders and issues, referred to as status conferral function of the media. The mass media can also lead in setting the political agenda for the audience by deciding what political topics the people talk about. This research essentially provides a quantitative content analysis on the nature of news coverage by three newspapers on celebrity political endorsement during political campaigns and the case of Ghanaian's election 2020 is employed as a case study.

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

From criticism to imitation: Rethinking Tuwei culture in the Chinese cultural order

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-26
Abstract: 

The cultural order dominated by China’s mainstream society has long criticized the popular Tuwei culture on the Internet and its rural background. However, in recent years, mainstream media and official discourse have participated in Tuwei hashtag discussions and even borrowed its cultural form. This paper uses the popular "Cao County" hashtag video produced in May 2021 as a case to evaluate the narrative characteristics of Tuwei culture. Through critical discourse analysis and research on the discussions and comments of netizens and the media on this hashtag, this paper assesses the formation and dissemination of different ideological perspectives on this culture and uncovers the reasons behind Tuwei culture’s growing acceptance by mainstream Chinese popular culture.

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

The creative city conceptualization and the UCCN

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-31
Abstract: 

The creative city concept is one that has been applied and transferred across many urban centres’ cultural policy. In its adaptation by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), a recognized global institution, the concept attains another level of status as a transnational mobile policy, influencing the shaping of cultural governance in its participating Member Cities. This paper explores the UCCN’s interpretation of the creative city concept by analyzing the ‘UCCN Call for Applications 2021: Application Form’, in order to discuss how neoliberalism, both embodied by the concept and processes of neoliberal governance shaping the organization, have implications within the city. It is found that the ‘Creative Fields’ proposed by the UCCN, holding the embedded values of entrepreneurial governance, do not make for sustainable urban cultural policy. In turn, entrepreneurial governance (embodying neoliberal values), adopted by global institutions has the ability to reproduce power dynamics and hierarchies existing as a result of market structures. This translates in policy implementations within the city, the narratives that the Network proposes obscuring these dynamics.

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.

The cultural politics of the NBA and China: Understanding the Daryl Morey incident

Date created: 
2021-08-21
Abstract: 

This research explores the Daryl Morey incident as a case of international communication. On October 4, 2019, the general manager of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, posted a seven-word tweet saying “Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong” that showed support for the violent protests in Hong Kong. This led to a major fallout in the NBA’s relationship with China. This paper analyzes this case as an index to the larger picture of US-China relationship. Firstly, I evaluate the development of the NBA in China with the efforts made by Yao Ming from cultural, political, and economical perspectives. Secondly, I examine the details of the Daryl Morey incident to reveal the influence of this incident in China and the factors influencing the NBA’s campaign in China. Lastly, I develop insights from the Daryl Morey incident at both macro and micro levels to evaluate the influence of this incident on US-China relationship. In conducting this research, I will play particular attention to the impact of social media in shaping the incident and considers the future of NBA’s sport diplomacy in China.

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

Noise cancelling headphones & the neoliberal subject

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-09-27
Abstract: 

Active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones grant an individual the ability to define and create personal sonic borders in real time. While this promise offers individuals a form of sonic escapism, I suggest that the technology is cloaked in neoliberal cultural values which promote individualized thinking, capital interest attained through increased focus, control of both the consumer and their sonic environment, and a Euro-centric perception of rationality and knowledge formation (J. H. Clarke et al., 2007; Gane, 2008; Houghton, 2019; Lazzarato, 2009). The technology dissolves opportunities for embodied sonic connection to land, community, and nonhuman agents which are strengthened through attentive and unmediated listening practices (Classen, 1999; Feld, 2012; Gross, 2014; Robinson, 2020; Simpson, 2011). Through a case study of Bose’s 700 NC and Apple’s Airpods Pro noise-cancelling headphones, this thesis works to uncover the ways in which the technology reproduces neoliberal ideologies utilizing CDA (Amoussue & Allagbe, 2018; Fairclough, 2001; Van Dijk, 2003) to consider how both companies advertise their noise-cancelling headphones and prioritize the neoliberal subject. Additionally, a collection of soundwalks are performed to compare the promises offered by the marketing campaigns through autoethnographic research (Behrendt, 2018; Sterne, 2003; Westerkamp, 2006). To juxtapose these neoliberal values and to offer moments for decolonial perspectives, this thesis addresses Indigenous, specifically Anishinaabe, literature on listening and sonic dimensions to consider the ways in which unmediated listening may offer moments of embodied knowledge which emerge from and through critical self-reflexivity, an awareness of an individual’s listening positionality, and a perspective on spatial intersubjectivity.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Milena Droumeva
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The state’s roles in the development of cultural industries: Korean cultural industry policies from 1993 to 2021

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-20
Abstract: 

This research examines the Korean state’s position in the development of its cultural industries. In contrast to doctrines of neoliberal globalization that demand that the state minimize its presence in industrial development and emphasize the market’s management of cultural products, the state maintains its position in the cultural industries as their products are effective tools for the state to govern the population and exert influence overseas. Despite pressures from major market players, many states have reconfigured their roles and positions in cultural industries as major stakeholders. Based on interviews with policymakers and cultural workers and analysis of policy documents, this study finds that the Korean state has been an important stakeholder in developing the cultural industries. In collaboration with the nation’s leading conglomerates, it played significant roles in developing cultural businesses. Depending on each administration’s political inclination and economic conditions, it has employed both neoliberal measures and state-interventionist methods to make cultural businesses competitive in the global market—from establishing a mega-size public organization that provided direct supports for every stage of cultural production to entrusting market players to manage the state’s budget for supporting cultural businesses. This reflects the legacies of the Korean developmental state in which the state mobilizes and allocates resources to develop the economy. The Korean state continues utilizing cultural products and their global popularity to accomplish its political and economic missions, from strengthening its soft power to increasing the number of exports. The state’s emphasis on the utility of cultural products provoked criticism of the approach as hyper-instrumentalist from many cultural workers, who saw such policies as characteristic of short-termism practices and as ‘window dressing’ for political and bureaucratic clout. Such an instrumentalist approach saw the government suppress creators in industries if they criticized its political agenda. The findings of this study also explore how the state continues its involvement in the cultural industries alongside the drivers of private capital and global market forces. By collaborating, managing, and even suppressing cultural production and goods, the state persists in its participation in the management of cultural industries.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Dal Yong Jin
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Fuel and faith: A spiritual geography of fossil fuels in Western Canada

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-04-16
Abstract: 

With the acceleration of climate change, Canada's commitment to action on carbon emissions faces several vital contradictions. These tensions have economic, social, and communicative dimensions. This research seeks to investigate some of these manifestations by looking at how energy is understood and articulated through the lens of faith. Unique to the Canadian cultural/petrol landscape is that the physical geography of extraction and transport often overlaps with the cultural and spiritual geographies of protestant Christian faith. To date, few scholars have tackled this subject through this specific lens. While some scholars and Christian leaders have begun to address the overlapping relations of climate change, fossil fuels, and belief (Marshall, 2020; Dochuk, 2019; Jenkins, Berry, & Kreider, 2018; Hayhoe, 2018; Ghosh, 2017; Taylor, Van Wieren, & Zaleha, 2016; Franics, 2015; McDuff, 2012; Wilkinson, 2012; Peterson, 2010; Yergin, 2008), this has yet to be explored significantly within Canadian communications and energy scholarship. With the third largest proven oil reserves in the world, much of it located and transported through Western Canada’s Christian and Evangelical heartlands, (rural Alberta and the BC Fraser Valley and Okanagan), this research has much to add to a growing conversation around fossil fuels. In particular, it offers novel perspectives on the varied negotiations of labour, care, and identity that surround energy production, consumption, and transition. To do this, the thesis conducts a review of Canadian English language mainstream legacy media coverage of faith-based fossil fuel news stories, from 2016-2018, a period of significant public and discursive contestation over pipelines in Canada. This analysis is then paired with a series of one-on-one interviews and focus group conversations with faith leaders and believers in communities primarily along the Trans Mountain Pipeline route. These conversations explore how lived experiences of faith are constituted by, and also challenge, dominant narratives in Canada’s legacy media. Of particular focus is the way in which high carbon living is reflected in national news discourses of economy, wellbeing, and nation. Importantly, this is not intended to be a work of theology, but rather an examination of the way that particular religious identities and subjectivities mediate understandings of climate change and fossil fuels.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Shane Gunster
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.