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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unlocking the Secrets of Domestic Political Hegemony : Political Space and Economic Liberalization in Taiwan and South Korea, 1987-2000

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2000-08
Abstract: 

This thesis argues that, under certain conditions, economic liberalization can strengthen the political position of conservative coalitions in transitional democracies. A large body of literature on the effect of market-opening reforms and democratization posits that economic liberalization, by generating social change, creates new opportunities for political reform. This viewpoint, while not unchallenged, appears to be predominant within academic circles. Through an empirical analysis of two case studies, Taiwan and South Korea, this study contributes a new perspective to the debate over the political effect of economic liberalization. The analysis of these two countries focuses especially on the impact of market-opening reform on the electoral-ideological area of political life, an area (termed "political space" by this thesis) to which most existing literature seems to attach only secondary importance (as it focuses primarily on institutional dynamics).

Taiwan began its democratization process in 1987 with the lifting of martial law, while the first measures to liberalize the island's economy were implemented in the 1980s. However, as economic and institutional reform progressed throughout the 1990s, conservative political elements (represented mainly by the Kuomintang) have managed to maintain their dominance over Taiwan's political space. A similar development can be observed in South Korea, where in spite of growing economic de-regulation and the financial crash of 1997 (through which additional neo-liberal reforms have been imposed on South Korea's economy) conservative politicians and parties appear to have retained their dominance over this country's political space. As in Taiwan, the liberalization of political institutions and the economy since 1987 (when authoritarian tule in South Korea ended) have not brought about the triumph of pro-reform political forces. This thesis concludes by outlining some theoretical lessons extracted from the case studies that might translate into useful generalizations on the political effect of economic liberalization.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tsuyoshi Kawasaki
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Battle of the Sexes? How the riding-level gender context shapes toxic campaigning

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-04-14
Abstract: 

The 2019 Canadian Federal Election saw no shortage of toxic and attack-style campaign communications. Much of this took place on Twitter, which has grown in popularity amongst both candidates and the public since 2015. Examining the tweets of every candidate in the election from the LPC, CPC, NDP, GPC, and PPC, this study seeks to understand which candidates are most likely to send out toxic tweets. I find that within parties, women are almost always more likely than men to send out toxic tweets. Most importantly, I find that the representation of women within ridings is key to understanding candidate toxicity online. On the one hand, women are more likely to be toxic than men in ridings dominated by men while on the other hand, the opposite is true for men: they are more likely to send out a toxic tweet than women in ridings where women constitute the majority.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Steven Weldon
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Political Science
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.A.