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

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Leftover women in China: Empowering through “femvertising”?

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-08-02
Abstract: 

This capstone thesis examines the process that “femvertising”— advertising that seeks to empower women — uses such discourses to create narratives about “leftover women” in China, and the degree of authenticity for empowering “leftover women” by a “femvertising” campaign. By using multimodal discourse analysis, this thesis selects a case study to examine the commercial “Marriage Market Takeover” created by the premium skincare brand SK-II. After thorough analysis, the essay concludes that the case commercial indeed presents empowerment messages within the story content and provokes substantial social impact related to the “leftover women” discourse in China. However, the authenticity of the ad’s intent to empower this group of women to realize their individualism is far beyond what a commercial campaign even embedded in a globally owned company can do. Women’s liberation in China has a long way to go.

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

A feminist political economy of the Korean popular music industry

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-07-12
Abstract: 

Gender disparity is an emerging issue in contemporary South Korea. Despite the significant increase in gendered concerns, there has been a lack of discussion on gender inequality problems in the Korean popular music industry. For this reason, this thesis aims to investigate gender inequalities and power relations embedded in the male-dominated Korean popular music industry by analyzing the texts, images and music of Korean girl groups through the lens of a feminist political economy. In doing so, this study utilizes textual analysis in order to examine how gendered hierarchy and patriarchal power, acting as industrial practices, exploit Korean girl groups in the Korean popular music industry. The primary findings suggest that Korean girl groups are commodified as a marketable field of business; they are fetishized through the exhibition of their pressured femininity and passive uniformity, and they are reproduced as a form of sexual commodity within the gendered-hierarchical system of manufacturing Korean pop groups. In conclusion, this thesis proposes a critical perspective on a gendered mechanism of the Korean popular music industry as a site of power struggle.

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

How did Chinese news media frame the US-China trade talks? A case study of People’s Daily and China Daily

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

China has a very special media system with unique Chinese characteristics. Chinese media exhibits "Marxist Journalism," features which emphasize party principle as the primary feature. This study investigates and compares online news reports on the websites of two Chinese news media outlets People's Daily and China Daily regarding the US-China trade talks. The goal is to examine how do they frame the US-China trade talk and discuss what factors influenced their framing. The findings are connected to the theoretical discussion on Chinese media system, Marxist journalism and advocacy journalism. This study finds that both People’s Daily and China Daily advocate for the Chinese government and the Party regarding the US-China trade talks, which is deeply influenced by Marxist journalism in the context of Chinese media system. While People’s Daily focused on positive publicity, China Daily more emphasized working as a public diplomacy tool.

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

The discursive style and reactionary politics of the Manosphere

Date created: 
2019-06-13
Abstract: 

This study aims to unpack the styles of discourse adopted and implemented by the Manosphere, an online community of self described Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) and “Red Pillers”. Through a Critical Discourse Analysis of Manosphere texts, the research explores how issues of gender and race inform the culture and politics of the community. It identifies common linguistic markers that distinguish the Manosphere from the historical Men's Rights Movement and liken it instead, to the the Alt-Right movement. For example, devices like metaphor, hyperbole and dog whistles operate in the discourse as modes for negotiating meaning making and accelerating the dissemination of extreme right discourse in mainstream political spaces. I argue that this process in part explains why particularly since 2016 and the election of Donald Trump in the United States, political sentiment has become more open to the iterations of misogyny and racism emblematic of the Manosphere. I reference and reflect upon the renewed push towards gender normative thinking and how it intersects with ultranationalism in Manosphere discourse. Finally, I explore how best to categorize the Manosphere—as an ideology, a political formation or something else entirely.

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

Industrial imaginaries: Local voices on Carrier Corp., Tesla Motors, and unevenly developing capitalism

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-02-27
Abstract: 

This historically-conscious dissertation examines two main case studies representing different positions in the capitalist process of uneven development. Inspired by Gramscian theory, it captures the common-sense beliefs expressed through various communication channels when cities face either job losses or a new corporate opportunity. Among the key questions are: Who do those affected by layoffs think is to blame? And what criticisms, if any, surface in local media when public money is used to attract jobs? The first case study centers on an imperiled Carrier plant in Indianapolis, IN, which during the 2016 campaign season became the site of a national conversation on offshoring and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Management announced that 2,100 jobs would ship to Mexico, while a related factory in Huntington, IN, also faced closure. The second case study examines Tesla and Panasonic’s Gigafactory 1 outside of Reno and Sparks, NV, since its siting in 2014. A $1.25 billion tax-abatement deal with Nevada made their project possible. The primary methods I use are media discourse analyses and interviews with workers and city councilmembers in four cities. Among the findings are several explanations circulated for Carrier’s decision that often differed given their source; these included shareholder interest, NAFTA, undue taxation, greed, and ineffectual workers and unions. I analyze these through lenses of common-sense ideology and journalistic practices, and I argue that the criticism mostly addresses symptoms of capitalism only. For solutions, Indianan officials mostly pushed for attracting new businesses and upskilling the workforce, which are neoliberal presumptions. Those in marginal positions typically pushed for organizing, voting for Donald Trump, or boycotting Carrier, which I unpack ideologically and materially. In the Tesla case, I argue that a media spectacle surrounding Elon Musk and his brand helped sell the Gigafactory as a boon to all Nevadans despite a small group of elites benefiting. Criticism of the deal in local media was largely limited to bourgeois procedure and legislative tinkering. Capitalist image, spectacle, and the lack of material follow-through link the case studies. Additionally, I show how officials view their cities and how they hope to move them forward.

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

A new reality is better than a new movie! Committed documentary and class struggle at the end of the American New Left

Author: 
Date created: 
2019-02-27
Abstract: 

This thesis investigates the political conjuncture surrounding the U.S. New Communist Movement’s break with the New Left of the 1960s, tracing the coordinates of this ideological shift through the lens of committed documentary. I argue that a materialist analysis of committed documentary necessitates understanding the form according to an aesthetics of political use-value. By attending to the question of documentary’s political utility, I demonstrate how films were used as cultural tools for conducting hegemonic struggles over certain political issues. Focusing on the contested dialectical relation between class and race, I trace period debates over the political status of the black proletariat through readings of four documentaries: Columbia Revolt (1968), Black Panther (1968), Finally Got the News (1970), and Wildcat at Mead (1972). Through these analyses, I argue for the centrality of political organization to any useful theory and practice of cultural commitment as a form of revolutionary politics.

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

Nigerians perception of products made-in-China: a catalyst effect of the standard of living

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-27
Abstract: 

This study discusses Nigerian perceptions of Chinese-made products by examining whether the country of origin (COO) impacts their consumption choices of these products. It argues that low-income level and the fall in the standard of living of the average Nigerian influences their perception and subsequently contributes to the increased purchase of products made in China. An extensive survey was conducted to explore various facets of this decision-making process and how it is affected by the multi-dimensional way in which China is perceived. It also reviews Immanuel Wallerstein’s world-system theory, which addresses core-peripheral relations in order to understand the international dynamics underlying production and consumption of Chinese-made products in Nigeria.

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.

The role of media in alleviating sectarian conflict: an exploration of peace journalism in Egypt

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-22
Abstract: 

Through looking at Muslim-Christian relations in Egypt, this research delves into the dynamics that showcase media’s complicity in violence committed through denial of existing sectarian problems and the reinforcement of status-quo inequities. It explores how the model of Peace Journalism can be applied to foster more inclusion, as well as mitigate conflict.

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.

Representations of persons with disabilities in the media: A case study of Ghana’s local movie Industry (Kumawood)

Date created: 
2018-08-02
Abstract: 

From very primitive notions about persons with disabilities to a society that has become more accepting to persons with disabilities, Ghana has made some recognisable progress in this regard. Such progress includes reduced stigmatization, the establishment of Persons with Disability rights act in 2006, incorporating disability studies in mainstream university curriculum, among other initiatives. Such progress is seen in how the media, especially the news media for more responsible and progressive representations of persons with disabilities with the result that there is greater opportunity and access to all facilities and services for disabled persons. This research focuses on Kumawood, one of the most powerful and influential movie companies in Ghana. In particular, this work explores and analyses the impact and influence of representations of persons with disabilities in Kumawood productions, and the positive and negative attitudes and perceptions that might result from these representations. The aim of the research is to identify if such progress is evident in the local movie industry. The literature review covers the progress made in disability research in Ghana and focuses on how impactful media is on the notions of disability, most especially in a developing country like Ghana.

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

How the introduction of CGTN is popularizing the growing African continent through positive reporting: A Case study of China Global Television Network in Nairobi, Kenya

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-08-21
Abstract: 

Africa is full of mixed stories about desperation, lost and despair, and when young Africans offer an alternative narrative; they often are challenged to defend themselves. Most people like to think of Africa as a sum of its problems and the problem with this is it has created a single story that has created one perspective of Africa, which we have allowed to be told about us as if it is the only perspective of Africa. The problem with this is if the only stories about us are desperation, lost, diseases and despair then how can we image anything better than that? Over time, there has been an outcry and a desire for an alternative media to broadcast African stories positively, and from the African perspective. The desire to ‘own the African story’ created an opportunity for the Chinese national broadcaster CCTV to launch its brand CCTV Africa in the continent. The network was later rebranded into what is now called China Global Television Network Africa (CGTN). With its African production center based in Nairobi, Kenya, CGTN Africa aims to report Africa stories to the African audiences and the rest of the world. This case study employs qualitative analysis of Talk Africa, one of the shows aired on CGTN featuring African stories to find out how the introduction of the CGTN Africa has popularized the African continent through positive reporting. In the analysis, the framing styles used in the show, effects, content, and the reporting tones are analyzed to determine the research findings and conclusions.

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