Political Science - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Establishing an effective investment ecosystem in Vancouver's cleantech cluster

File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-08-03
Supervisor(s): 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

Cleantech clusters are geographic concentrations of specialized companies in different sectors such as hydrogen and fuel cells. Vancouver’s investment ecosystem, reflecting the interaction of stakeholders for related economic activities, must attract more financing to hydrogen fuel cell startups in the cluster. This problem jeopardizes the development and commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell technologies in Vancouver’s ecosystem. I find that Vancouver's investment ecosystem offers credit supply, loan guarantees and grants to startups at Series A and B, early investments to grow startups. I conducted thirty-six interviews with stakeholders in Silicon Valley, Cambridge, Singapore, Tel-Aviv and Vancouver to compare the policy tools adopted to financially support startups. After analysing these ecosystems, I find that Vancouver lacks tax incentives and co-investment that could be adopted to financially assist startups. A combination of tax incentives, co-investments, loan guarantees, credit supply and grants policy tools can help Vancouver establish a more successful investment ecosystem.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Dynamic advocacy: Legal mobilization and the pursuit of sociolegal change in Canada

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-08-25
Supervisor(s): 
Clare McGovern
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

This project examines the strategic form and function of legal mobilization. The scholarship on this topic is extensive, yet it falls short of explaining how and why mobilization continues after the enactment of activist won law reform. This project remedies this by exploring the strategic determinants of post-reform sexual assault advocacy in Canada. Be it through consent workshops, online modules or informationally targeted materials, Canadian feminists have increasingly used educational strategies. Questioning how and why these strategies are used, I advance a theoretical account of activists’ opportunities and ambitions. Focusing on factors external to the activist group itself, this project proposes a theory of contemporary legal mobilization that credits the use of educational advocacy to the common pursuit of leadership amongst internally differentiated groups. The dynamics that unfold amongst activists, therefore, ground my study of legal advocacy strategy in the aftermath of legal reform.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Tones, topics, and frames: The role of gender and race in the media coverage of political candidates

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2021-04-20
Supervisor(s): 
Eline de Rooij
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

Studies on political candidates’ media portrayals have generally focused on whether portrayals are gendered or racialized. I examine whether portrayals differ according to candidates’ gender and race in 2019 Canadian federal election coverage. I use text analysis methods to analyze the tone of reporting and topics discussed in 3687 articles from major Canadian news sources. I also manually code a subsample of 100 articles to examine the framing of candidates. While I find no evidence of differences in tone, coverage of male candidates who are IBPOC is more likely to discuss “minority”/race-related topics. I also find that media more often frame candidates who are IBPOC in light of their race, associating them with voters’ race or “minority” policy issues, and women candidates in light of their gender. This framing reinforces whiteness and maleness as neutral/“normal”, othering underrepresented groups. Awareness of these biases helps us become better media consumers and creators.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

The latent factors of money laundering risk: A cross-national study

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-12-15
Supervisor(s): 
Anil Hira
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

I present a new perspective on ‘money laundering,’ understanding it from a risk perspective using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). I initially discuss the models studied so far in the money laundering and anti-money laundering literature, pointing out their shortcomings. I then set up my CFA model to identify the hidden factors of money laundering risk using observed variables across 203 countries. I compare my model with a competing data configuration proposed by the Basel Institute on Governance. I present a comprehensive application of CFA to understand how to combat money laundering risk and touch on the role of structural equation modelling in anti-money laundering policy-making. Using this method, I illustrate the hidden dimensions of money laundering risk. My findings will be useful for anti-money laundering policy experts around the world.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Deliberation and Negotiations: An Examination of South Africa’s Political Talk at the End of the Apartheid Era

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-11-04
Supervisor(s): 
Genevieve Fuji Johnson
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

Can a model of deliberative democracy be successful in situations of high conflict? To develop a response, I take a hard case, defined by violent conflict and divisiveness: South Africa at the end of the apartheid era. Using a mixed inductive-deductive approach to examining twelve primary documents, the emerging evidence shows that deliberation was not realized. Political talk was centred around a negotiating framework, and while the documents analyzed showed elements of inclusion, equality, and empowerment – important aspects of the deliberative model – they were at best partially-fulfilled deliberative conditions. But this did not mean a failure of deliberation. Even in a negotiating framework, these partial conditions were able to emerge due to the catalyst of fear, defined as a fear of violence shared by participants. This catalyst acted as a motivator for action, propelling parties to enter discussions committed, if only verbally, to more deliberative aspects.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

“All the dislikes are PewDiePie’s haters and enemies”: The case of PewDiePie’s YouTube community as a space for right-wing populist discourse

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-08-20
Supervisor(s): 
Mark Pickup
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

YouTube, a web platform with more than 2 billion individual monthly users, is a media powerhouse. However, despite various YouTube content creators garnering attention for their connection to rising global right-wing populism and hate groups— including viral creator PewDiePie, a Swedish gamer— the platform’s ability for political discourse has been little studied. Thus, this paper, aided by theory on ‘anti-publics’, contemporary right-wing populism, and social identity, begins to unravel the complexities of political discourse in this particular online community. Through the analysis of sixty-thousand comments from six of PewDiePie’s most popular videos, this project affirms that YouTube in this context does not prescribe to the majority of elements of a Habermasian public sphere as in the original definition. However, PewDiePie’s community does present aspects of an anti-public sphere through the iteration of right-wing populist narratives and an emphasis on the creation of strong social identities.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Is Donald Trump a trendsetter for Canadians? The effect of Trump and national identity on support for immigration

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-08-18
Supervisor(s): 
Mark Pickup
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

Recent Canadian research highlights a tension. President Trump may be responsible for a potential weakening of the social norms surrounding Canadian identity. Trump’s effect, however, is mitigated when Canadian identity is salient. Given that research shows that Canadians have routinely defined themselves as welcoming of immigrants and multicultural, why Trump has this influence, and the further impact of either Trump himself or Canadian identity on reported support for immigration during the Trump presidency are both largely unknown. The influence of Canadian identity may due to its role as a social identity, and its dominant association with social norms where Canadians welcome immigrants and support multiculturalism. Trump’s influence may be a result of the fact that Canadians see the President as a trendsetter. Existing research and media reports suggest good reasons for Canadians to see Trump as a trendsetter and a source of normative change. Canadians – who increasingly favour less immigrants – see President Trump, who has routinely violated liberal democratic norms on immigration and race; and political elites serve as important sources of information for citizens. For Canadians, either source of normative information – Canadian identity or President Trump – may also be conditioned by personal political attitudes. Using a survey experiment and a national online convenience sample from Qualtrics, this study shows that anglophone Canadians appear to view the President as a trendsetter, but this is not conditioned by prior attitudes towards immigration. Anglophone Canadians also vastly underestimate that their fellow citizens believe Canadian identity is defined as welcoming of immigrants and supportive of multiculturalism. Using a scenario that encourages online discussion with manufactured Facebook comments, priming Canadian identity which reinforces pro-immigrant attitudes increases the supportiveness of a respondent’s comment towards immigrants when given a news article headline about immigration, compared to those who do not receive Facebook comments. Priming respondents with comments that utilize President Trump’s anti-immigrant language, however, does not lead to a change in the reported support towards immigrants, nor are the effects of either intervention conditional on prior attitudes towards immigration. The results have bearing on the understanding of Trump’s influence in Canada, and on the role and conception of Canadian identity for anglophone Canadians.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Frames of the intervention in the 2016 US presidential election: Aiming the backlash?

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-08-19
Supervisor(s): 
Mark Pickup
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

How do the differing frames built up around the foreign intervention in the 2016 United States presidential election shape the public backlash, or lack thereof, against the intervenor? Examining opinion pieces from an array of influential media outlets through a lens of problem identification and blame direction, this project identifies four recent broad frames of the 2016 intervention. Blame is pointed either inwards at domestic actors or outwards at Russia, and the problem identified is either the intervention against Clinton or the suspicion of Trump afterwards. A survey experiment exposing respondents to vignettes based on these frames, however, shows no effects on stances towards the intervenor, Russia. These findings, while difficult to interpret, suggest that the significance of frames of electoral interventions may lie elsewhere.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Input-Output Factors and its Effects on Support for and Satisfaction with Democracy

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-07-31
Supervisor(s): 
Steven Weldon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

In recent times, citizen support for democracy and its liberal principles appears to have stagnated and is possibly in decline. This research sets out to investigate the causes of citizens’ support for and satisfaction with democracy. Drawing on the literature on democratic deficits and using data from the United States and Germany, two competing arguments are investigated. The first argument is that support for and satisfaction with democracy stem from feelings of being represented by the government - the input side of the political system. The opposing view is that support for and satisfaction with democracy stems from government performance - the output side. In general, the results reveal that both factors are important but are largely conditioned by the kind of electoral system being operated in the country

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project

Chinese economic statecraft in Central and Eastern Europe: Examining security salience and positive sanctions

Author: 
File(s): 
Date created: 
2020-08-18
Supervisor(s): 
Alex Moens
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.
Abstract: 

China’s economic relations with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) rapidly expanded following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. However, Western European leaders worried that China’s engagement in the region was a ploy to exercise influence through economic statecraft. Of particular concern were several instances where CEE states vetoed or altered joint-EU statements to expunge them of criticism directed at China. However, it remains an open question whether China can use economic statecraft to achieve its strategic goals in CEE, particularly when Chinese demands directly contradict those of the United States. This paper seeks to answer this question using a realist framework by examining the effect of security salience on the effectiveness of Chinese economic statecraft. Through the lens of two case-studies, I argue that China’s positive sanctions in CEE will be most effective in a context of low security salience and least effective in a context of high security salience.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project