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

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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.

From Gangnam to global: K-pop transcultural fan labour and South Korean soft power

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-04
Abstract: 

Over the past two decades, the steady global popularity of South Korean pop music, known as K-pop, has brought with it a rise in scholarly inquiry surrounding not only the reception of the music itself, but also the potential it possesses in terms of soft power for the nation state. Much of the focus has been directed towards initiatives at the level of the government, the industry, and even the recognition of audiences across the world. Adding to this field of study, this project instead proposes to investigate how global fan labour in particular plays a role in the cultural diplomacy field through its inherent connectivity. More specifically, this project aims to elucidate the ways in which K-pop fan creation exists as a transcultural labour network that re sides within the affective spaces of attachment and exchange. Through employing a conjunct political economy and fandom studies lens, this thesis argues that it is the value of affective attachment constructed and promoted by the labour of fans that not only positions the fandom as active agents of soft power alongside industry and government but allows the work to be transformative in its position as a resistive experience and expression.

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

Public trust in health authorities: Examining Twitter comments on CDC and Fauci during Covid-19

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

The purpose of the study is to examine public trust in health authorities during COVID-19 and whether individuals' trust in health authorities is influenced by inconsistent health messages. Considering the origin of public trust in the public sphere, the study focuses on the online form of the public sphere- Twitter. As many studies in health communication have implemented large-scale approaches to investigate Twitter data, this study offers a qualitative analysis by conducting a close reading of tweets that mention the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Anthony Fauci. The results of this research suggest that inconsistency in health guidance and information may potentially hinder public trust in health authorities. Specifically, inconsistency in numbers of COVID-19 metrics may significantly influence individual perceptions of the trustworthiness of health authorities. The rhetorical implications of research findings also suggest that existing partisan divides and general concerns in science may also shape how the public fails to trust during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Fannish healing and “the tentative step forward”: Musical affect and parasocial directionalities in BTS fan narratives

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-07-13
Abstract: 

Situating itself within the frameworks of musical affect and relational labour, this research examines the healing practices of BTS fans from all around the world. As the biggest Korean musical act to enter the global stage to date, BTS as a group have fostered a unique iteration of the parasocial relationship with their fans and, in doing so, redefined the structures and potentials of the fan-artist relationship. Both through their music and public image, the resulting expansion has allowed fans to create individual networks for affective healing. The purpose of this research is then to establish relational networks as a conceptualization of fannish healing as it is transformed and reappropriated into the lives of individual fans.

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

Movement matters: The power of dance within an affective public sphere

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-05
Abstract: 

As a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic, physical places were removed as an option for gathering for the arts, and thus virtual encounters have increased, and new dynamic exchanges would have emerged. The public sphere can be expanded beyond the linguistic to include non-linguistic communication within a contemporary affective public sphere. Affect and emotion can be critical resources for nurturing publics. Affective modes of discourse and non-linguistic forms of communication through dance, can support communicative exchange, which can lead to social connection, action, and experiences of belonging, all features of an affective public sphere. Affective public spheres embrace an embodied experience that includes non-linguistic forms of affective communicative exchange. Dance can be seen as a medium of engagement that nourishes an affective public sphere. Through a case study of the 2021 Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF), I seek to examine how dance can function as a modality of nonverbal communication within a mediated affective public sphere. I use a mixed methods approach, drawing on critical visual and sonic semiotic analysis and autoethnography to examine the expressive work of dance and the way it contributes to local public life. The analysis found that VIDF brought together the elements of dance movement, mise en scene and sonic features to bring together citizen - audiences into a relationship with key matters of common concern. It is in this way that dance can be understood to operate as a medium of engagement that nourishes an affective public sphere.

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.