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

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Screen sultans: The Neo-Ottomanist rebranding of Turkey through television dramas - AND - Opportunities and barriers to achieve digital inclusion for people with disabilities: A comparative analysis

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

Essay 1: This essay focuses on Turkey’s Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (Justice and Development Party - AKP) government’s strategic use of neo-Ottomanist nation-branding efforts as a soft power tool through the production and broadcasting of its transnational Turkish soap operas. This study examines these national rebranding efforts by analyzing a particular exemplar program entitled Hakan: The Protector (Hakan: Muhafiz). Hakan is the first Turkish Netflix series that is designed to appeal global transnational audiences, including viewers in neighbouring Middle Eastern countries, nations formerly occupied by the Ottoman Empire, and the West. This paper attempts to showcase how, through the examination of the story of Hakan, Ottoman historical revival and Islamic traditions are invoked in a modern Turkish television production that depicts contemporary society and mimics socio-political changes currently taking place in the country under the rule of the AKP. Essay 2: Questions related to use of technologies delve deeply into discourses and experiences surrounding disability and technology and highlight the ways in which default modes of engagement and access are not accessible for users with all abilities. This study involves a comparative analysis of diverse scholarly works on the digital inclusion for people with disabilities by highlighting the potential to connect across disciplines as queer, feminist and digital media studies to acknowledge forms of difference related to disabilities also as a basis for gender, race, and class inequalities embedded into the design and organizational practices. The right to access ICTs invokes civil and human rights issues such as freedom of expression, freedom to information, political participation, civic engagement and inclusive education. Therefore, access is at the core of the legal definition of the public space and, to a great extent, online communication does meet accessibility requirements for many disabled people. In the realm of digital public sphere, digital inclusion and accessibility are essential to enable an inclusive participation for all.

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

Arresting a Chinese Tech Princess: discourses in the Canadian national news media

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-15
Abstract: 

By arresting Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, Canada lit the fuse for an international incident that has had serious consequences for the nation and its allies. Meng’s arrest is therefore a valuable case study to identify whose voices have the most power over messaging in the Canadian national news media. Using a critical discourse analysis of news quotations, this study identifies three main discourses circulating in news about Meng’s arrest and provides insight into how those discourses are linked to powerful individuals and interest groups at five levels of analysis. This study finds that the national news media positions Meng’s arrest as part of a larger geo-political struggle between East and West. An analysis of quotation patterns and citation routines show that Chinese government quotes are positioned less objectively than quotes from either the US or Canadian government suggesting a bias toward “Western” elite sources, especially governments and experts.

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

Diasporic Asian cinema and cultural expression: A case of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival

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

In the era of globalization, the diasporas often face the tension migrants experience between multiple cultures. As an immigrant country, Canada is one of the countries with the largest population of Asian immigrants. However, the long-standing negative image of Asians still exists. They are still not viewed as legitimate participants in the country’s cultural and political fields. As a powerful representation of culture, films vividly express views about the phenomenon of the global diaspora. And film festivals work as platform to showcase. With an inherent ethnic focus, Asian film festivals are concerned with the intersection between Asian diaspora and Asian cinema, creating a physical space for sharing of experience through cinema, and providing an ideological space that informs and creates conducive dialogue concerning cultural expression and transnational issues. This paper will take the Vancouver Asian Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada, as a case study to explore the Asian diaspora’s cultural expression through cinema and discuss its significance in postcolonial discourses.

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.

Consumption downgrading in Chinese media: A fraud or a hideous truth

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

In 2018, according to the data from Weibo, one of the most popular terms in China has been ‘consumption downgrading.’ The discussion online about 'consumption downgrading' gradually changed into a national panicking because the Chinese relate it with such as economic slowdown, rising living cost and house price, widening gap between rich and poor, and anxiety of China-U.S. trade war. My research explores how this term became a trend, and how the meaning behind it changed through time in the first part. In the second part, the article analyses the economic definition and mechanism of structural changes in consumption to see whether the ‘consumption downgrading' phenomenon in the media is real. In the third part, the article examines the deeper factors that caused the national panicking led by the discussion of ‘consumption downgrading.' In the last part, the article summaries the government's role in channeling public opinion and regulating the market.

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.

Media bias in the U.S.’ Big Three TV networks

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-20
Abstract: 

The discussion of media bias has a long history in the field of media studies, but the subjective essence of bias makes it hard to define as well as challenging to measure. The model that statistically analyzes the relationship between how the presidential job approval rating changes and the likelihood of that being aired used in this paper can enable us to overcome the problems in previous studies. Applying the model to the U.S.’ big three TV networks’ evening news programs, we find that two of them have apparent biases on the whole. Especially NBC presents a clear preference for negative news about Obama and positive news about Trump. Considering the power these networks possess on shaping public opinion, the discussion of media bias remains essential.

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.

Miracle-marketing: The reformulation of power and social relations in Pentecostal Christianity in Nigeria

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

As Western neoliberal capitalism de-territorializes spaces and folds the peripheries into itself, what emerges is not global homogeneity. Instead, we are witnessing contesting narratives of truth, dynamic and shifting subjectivities. Prevalent in the Nigeria is the rapid spread of Pentecostalism. Its untaxed churches worth hundreds of millions of dollars form an unregulated yet influential economy. Church is big business, but it is also political. The rise of the mega-pastor has seen a growing influence of religious leaders on the socio-political and economic space. Given the salience of these religious leaders and their increasing usage of media technologies, I turn to the discourse within televised miracle sessions to unpack and deconstruct how social and power relations are constructed and enacted; and to glean a more nuanced understanding of the discourses and subjectivities that are legitimated and those that are discredited in the process.

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

Talking to machines: The political ascendance of the English language in computer programming

Date created: 
2019-08-29
Abstract: 

This essay explores possible reasons why English has become the "default" natural language from which programming commands are borrowed. Programming languages like C, C++, Java and Python use English keywords exclusively. The essay explores the social factors that underlie this phenomenon and how traditional power hierarchies are perpetuated. The essay is a critical response to the emancipatory rhetoric that ushered in the creation and popularization of the digital computer. It uses the story of ALGOL project to illustrate how technical goals are shaped by social factors which inevitably reify inequality into technological artefacts. ALGOL, an attempt to create a standardized machine independent universal programming language, while answering a significant amount of technical questions, did not bridge the natural language gap. By way of historical exploration, I argue this result is an expression of American globalization of the computing industry.

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.

Reporting the cross-strait relationship: A comparative analysis of news coverage of the CCP’s 19th Congress by two Taiwan TV stations - AND - Taiwanese consciousness: The evolution of a sociopolitical construction

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-15
Abstract: 

Essay 1: Due to unresolved cross-strait tension between China and Taiwan, Taiwanese media paid special attention to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s 19th Congress regarding China’s cross-strait policy towards Taiwan. By comparing the news of Sanli-E Television (SET) and Chungtian Incorporation (CTI), this paper studies how and why these two TV stations reported CCP's 19th Congress differently, aiming to connect their different perspectives with the political economy of each station. This paper uses two metaphors to demonstrate CTI and SET’s different reporting stances: the former aims to reinforce a strong image of China, whereas the latter attempts to further articulate the idea of Taiwan being a separate entity from China. These two media's different coverages resulted from the different interests, it is shown that Chinese capital’s influence on Taiwanese media has increased. Accordingly, this paper argues that China's policy would surely transform Taiwanese media's political position gradually. Essay 2: The intertwined relationship between Taiwan and China has long impacted on Taiwanese society and led to a critical debate around the political identity of Taiwanese people for nearly forty years, and the issue has remained unresolved. By using integrative literature review as the methodology, this paper divides modern Taiwan history from Japanese colonialization period to present Taiwan into five time periods, and studies Taiwanese political consciousness through a social constructionist viewpoint to explore the social context and various factors that provoked the development of Taiwanese subjective identity and the different characteristics involved in each stage. In conclusion, this paper argues the influence of political circumstances informs the constant evolution of a socially-constructed Taiwanese political consciousness against the backdrop of a pervasive Chinese national and cultural hegemony. This research should help contextualize and historicize the existing debates around Taiwanese and Chinese identities and consciousness in the contemporary sociopolitical moment both on the island and beyond.

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

No safe harbor: Radical feminism, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, and the digression of sex work in the United States

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-27
Abstract: 

In April of 2018, the U.S. Government passed a new internet law- Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which many have argued has contributed to a surge in online censorship around sex work and supposedly, sex trafficking. While FOSTA/SESTA has been celebrated as a win for anti-trafficking activists, sex workers are already experiencing a loss of community, income, and resources, as well as an increase in violence. Using a third-wave feminist lens, this paper follows the eight-year campaign leading to FOSTA/SESTA’s inception and argues that this law is the most recent example of the U.S. Government’s conflation of sex work and sex trafficking, as well as an appropriation of radical feminist rhetoric as a means of reducing sex workers’ visibility. This paper provides an analysis of FOSTA/SESTA and argues that it is a largely flawed, regressive ‘solution’ to sex-trafficking that will only serve to push the industry even further underground, and in doing so, increases risk for those working as sex workers.

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.

“In the end, they are looking for community, for belonging”: An analysis of the role of Metro Vancouver metropolitan and community-based newspapers in the resettlement of Syrian refugees

Date created: 
2019-07-26
Abstract: 

This thesis explores the news media discourses surrounding the resettlement and integration of Syrian refugees in Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley communities in British Columbia, Canada. Using a combination of content and critical discourse analyses, it examines newspaper articles in major metropolitan and local community newspapers published from September 1, 2015 to October 31, 2017. Media frames and news values were used in the analysis, and several key findings were uncovered that provided regionally specific insight on the newspapers’ treatment of the issue of resettlement. Through the lens of Orientalism, this thesis argues that Syrian refugees are still portrayed as a “dangerous Other” in major metropolitan newspapers, as they tend to replicate negative national news discourses. In contrast, the community newspaper coverage of Syrian refugees is more positive and geared towards helping the refugees successfully integrate in these communities. Thus, while this thesis critically analyzes the news discourses in these community newspapers, it also concludes that these newspapers have a positive role in the resettlement initiative through their dissemination of positive discourses about the new arrivals.

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