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

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Intellectual property controversies in China’s emerging influencer economy

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-10-28
Abstract: 

Previously, it can be said that mass media systems were dominated by one-way communication flows (Bennet & Manheim, 2006). This created a clear demarcation between media producers and media consumers whom were also the primary target for established media campaigns (Jhally, 2000). However in recent years, emerging media platforms have generated new opportunities for social groupings and cultural modes in the process of transforming the traditional communications landscape (Srnicek, 2015). This new dynamic has challenged previously established regulations as embodied in the dynamic between fashion intellectual property (IP) and the commercialization of the “social media influencer” figure, as a new breed of online entrepreneurs and digital consumers have emerged in the Internet economy. While this is evident in many areas of the world today these processes play themselves out in a unique way in China. In the Chinese context, according to data regarding sales of women’s apparel on Taobao during the Single’s Day Shopping Carnival in 2018, four of the top ten highest selling stores were not run by traditional companies but instead were run by social media influencers (ASKCI, 2017). The nature of this impact can be explained by looking at one such influencer, renowned online celebrity Cherie who has contracted 30 online celebrities in her company Chen Fan, and delivered sales exceeding 150 million yuan in just 5 minutes and 50 seconds (ASKCI, 2017). Within 24 hours she was able to bring in 350 million yuan (ASKCI, 2017). As the influencer economy continues to expand in China so have questions concerning the nature of this new economy. For example, some social media influencers have used the same graphics or the recipes of world-famous companies, such as CPB or Loreal, when making their own products which are then available for purchase in their respective online shops. These behaviors have generated significant controversy in the Chinese online markets, from increasingly savvy consumers and local regulators, and even received global attention, from international IP regulators and media. Based on my case study and online observations, there is a contradiction between the presence of IP infringements in China’s emerging influencer economy and the state’s enforcement of IP law. It can be argued that facing this contradiction is a crucial step for China to rethink its shifting position in the global capitalist system.

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

Women’s Oral History and Survivors’ Testimonies of India’s Partition: A Feminist Analysis

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-16
Abstract: 

This thesis applies the principles of feminist and postcolonial methodology to analytically compare two types of oral history projects on women survivors from India’s 1947 Partition: grassroots feminist projects conducted by Indian feminists and activists Bhasin and Menon and Butalia; and the “1947 Partition Archive”, a depoliticized, open access digital repository of oral testimonies housed by the Stanford University Library. In analytically comparing the projects, the objective is two-fold: to recognize the potential of oral history as a feminist methodology that identifies participants as co-producers of knowledge where only by including them as active agents in the analysis, can new forms of feminist and anti-colonial knowledge emerge; and to argue that in order to ethically generate and share oral accounts in the digital age, where the danger of commodification can override the potential for democratization, there is a need to revisit questions of agency, empowerment and reflexive practices, ideals that are at the core of recent anti-colonial feminist research.

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

'They call it progress, we call it destruction': Memory and the construction of the W.A.C Bennett Dam

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-11-06
Abstract: 

This thesis discusses the W.A.C Bennett Dam Visitor Centre and how memory is presented and re-presented in visual form through exhibition and film. In this thesis, I offer the W.A.C Bennett Dam as a case study. Prior to 2015, the Visitor Centre presented a ‘high modernist’ story of ‘progress’ when describing the construction of the W.A.C Bennett Dam. This thesis explores the expansion of this narrative through collaborative efforts between designers, filmmakers, BC Hydro and First Nations communities. It places emphasis on the creation of the film ‘Kwadacha by the River’ (2017) as a focal point of the expression of memory, comparing and contrasting this with the former featured film at the facility – ‘Canyon of Destiny’ (1968).

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

Stocksy United: A case study of co-operation in the cultural industries

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-01-24
Abstract: 

This thesis examines Stocksy United, a stock photography platform co-operative, as a case study of worker resistance and self-organization in the cultural industries. Drawing on interviews with 12 Stocksy United members, it explores the meanings the co-operative’s artists assign to their work in order to better understand the possibilities of co-operation for a cultural workforce. I argue that Stocksy United represents a significant example of how the co-operative model offers an alternative for precarious workers in the cultural industries, affording them community, autonomy, and fairness on the job. However, it is also a model that illustrates the ambivalences of co-operatives, including a tendency for the degeneration of the co-operative ethic, tensions around participation and gender, and the reproduction of capitalist logics. It concludes by arguing that co-operatives are a valuable yet insufficient answer to the challenges faced by precarious cultural workers.

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

Chinese Rural Feminism: How Social Media Reshape Feminism in China

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-17
Abstract: 

With the development of social media in China, Chinese feminism is facing great challenges. On the one hand, social media provides a platform for feminists to discuss female issues, which has aroused wide public concern. On the other hand, the emerge of the discourse of Chinese rural feminism has put Chinese feminism under attack. As an Internet discourse, Chinese rural feminism has spread into people's daily life. Chinese rural feminism has destroyed the reputation of feminists even set back the progress of Chinese feminism because of its excessive remarks. This paper will provide a critique of Chinese rural feminism by studying the meaning and causes of its emergence. In order to better study the discourse of Chinese rural feminism, this research will use a case study of Mimeng, one of Chinese social media, to find out the meaning of the Chinese rural feminism. After text analyzing of Mimeng's article, this article will explore the cultural and social reasons behind the discourse of Chinese rural feminism, as well as figure out how social media plays a role in it.

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

Subcultures of coping: The idiosyncratic trends of Koi and Sang exhibited by Chinese Millennials"

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-01
Abstract: 

In recent years, a phenomenon has emerged and has soon become quite popular in China, which is the frequent appearance of “Sang” and “Koi” in Chinese online social media posts. The widespread use of the two terms online has drawn attention from the academic field, the media, as well as society at large. Many scholars, media producers, and even the public see the emergence of the Koi and Sang phenomenon as the establishment of new subcultures in China. Moreover, the majority of participants of the online social media platforms, where Koi and Sang are most commonly seen, are Chinese Millennials. As such, many have argued that the emergence of such online cultures unveils suppressed truths concerning the challenges faced by young adults in China and symbolizes pivotal issues that plague the greater Chinese society.

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.

Para-social interactions in Chinese audio melodramas

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-31
Abstract: 

Audio melodramas of boy’s love have become a media phenomenon in China and have formed online communities on social media. This paper examined how these communities’ members interact in the listening process and trans-media extensions. This paper employed the concept of para-social interaction (PSI) to disentangle the novelty of PSI in the social media context. Nine thousand on-screen comments, three hundred comments, and a hundred posts from an audio melodrama The Untamed’s community on Sina Weibo were gathered and analyzed. The findings contribute to the theory of PSI and provide information about the question of whether our social relationship is becoming more or less authentic under the considerable influence of media expansion.

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.

Yellow Dollars, White Masks: Hollywood and the performance of progressive texts

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-29
Abstract: 

Crazy Rich Asians offers an outlet for Asian American political energy. The success of the film has been subsidized by communicative capitalism and the draw or duties of a manufactured community. My theoretical critique of CRA looks at the production, subsidization, and consumption of this film within the context of representation in the US for Asian Americans. The term Yellow Dollars describes the neoliberal view of our financial worth and its reduction of our diverse identities and experiences down to a generalized racial grouping. If representation comes at this expense, we must question the benefits of this system of recognition. By allowing capital and consumerism to become the strongest part of our action framework, how we see ourselves, define our interests and approach the world, we restrict ourselves to behaving “appropriately” within the system if capitalist recognition and our terms of recognition become more entangled with an exploitative system of global capitalism.

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.

Insulting Islam: Understanding anti-religious discourse online in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

Date created: 
2019-08-29
Abstract: 

There are a few taboos that the majority of Egyptians who grew up before and during the 2011 revolution learned to avoid in their discussions. These are politics, religion and sex! But on the 25th of January 2011 a revolution started and disrupted all political and social norms in the country. This research examines how a specific online group used offensive discourse to change the master narrative that defies religion in Egypt.

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

Challenging discourses of disabled sexual deviance: An historic overview and critical analysis - AND - Toward disabled perspectives of sexual expression: A multi-media analysis

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-16
Abstract: 

Essay 1: “Challenging Discourses of Disabled Sexual Deviance: An Historic Overview and Critical Analysis” seeks to establish how the discourse of disabled sexual deviance has been maintained through the historical oppression of people with disability. It analyses how disabled sexual deviance is upheld by rampant sexual exclusion and compromised sexual citizenship. Essay 2: “Toward Disabled Perspectives of Sexual Expression: A Multi-Media Analysis” evaluates the representations of sexuality and disability in dramatic, documentary, and science-fiction film, and in live performance. It pays particularly close attention to the ways in which deviant representations of disabled sexual expression can begin to be deconstructed by adopting perspectives of disabled sexual diversity and inexactness within them.

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