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Communication Studies - Student Works

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    No one is an island: the misdirection of the individual climate impact narrative
    (2023) Hutchinson, Heather; Colville, Elyse; Pratch, Grace; Mazo, Lucille
    This paper seeks to examine, through secondary, mixed methods research, the ability of the individual to affect positive change regarding the climate crisis through their specific choices. By reading myriad scholarly, scientific, and journalistic sources, we found that though positive changes can be made on a smaller government scale, individuals’ ability to reduce environmental harm through their own choices and habits is minimal. Further, corporations and others in positions of power engage in both long- and short-term efforts to actively sabotage efforts of groups working to make societal changes or bring attention to the issues of the climate crisis. The researchers suggest that ecological communications should change direction from scolding the individual to emphasizing systemic change. It is recommended that further study be conducted of cohesion in activist organizations and collectives and the effects of education in rhetoric.
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    Nostalgic to my childhood, symbolic to your culture: discussing the intercultural adaptation of culturally bound fairy tales
    (2022) Bergum, Jaime
    This essay explores fairy tales as culturally bound stories that serve as the means of preserving and passing on cultural values and collective identity. Under the guise of cultural preservation and teaching, fairy tales communicate cultural values, therefore keeping cultures ideologically stagnant; however, when appropriated fairy tales, the fairy tales cannot be fully appreciated for their cultural and ideological value. By first establishing fairy tales as communication symbols that inform cultural tradition and ideology, fairy tales are discussed for their role in moral education for children and in shaping children’s perceptions of culture. German fairy tales from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the Brothers Grimm are examined for their association with the construction of German culture and the rise of German nationalism. Finally, fairy tales are discussed for their role in American culture, though as appropriated texts, are tokens of entertainment rather than culture.
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    Spelling errors and social media outrage: on the Conservative Party of Canada’s error-ridden pamphlet
    (2022) Sweet, T. Andi
    After Elections Canada announced the 2021 Canadian Federal Election in August of the same year, the political parties implemented their campaign strategies. Amongst social media and doorknocking campaigns, one document released by the Conservative Party of Canada attracted attention online due to excessive spelling errors. To better understand whether this mailer was an error or intentional, this paper explores the CPC’s larger social media campaign and the strategic patterns used historically by their marketing company to provide more context to why something as simple as spelling errors can be a piece of effective campaigning. By understanding the firehose of outrage-inducing content implemented by the CPC in the 2021 election, this paper concludes that the spelling errors were part of an intentional plan to build outrage and stoke further divide between Canada’s increasingly polarized political parties.
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    Teaching every body: a critical analysis of school programming on body image
    (2022) Giacobbo, Angela
    Body dissatisfaction in children grows into harmful practices as they age. Schools provide education and programming to promote body satisfaction and positive body image in adolescents, but these teachings can be improved. This paper analyzes educational stakeholders’ services on body image through a critical lens while suggesting solutions to improve lessons, courses, and programming. Through braiding internal lessons with external programs, schools can fight against the potential risks of negative body image on adolescents. The literature review highlights the need for early education on body image and the importance of caregiver intervention. A critical review of the teacher and student dynamic introduces the opportunity that teachers as caregivers have to promote positive body image. Next, this paper discusses external intervention programs and the effectiveness of gender-specific programming while remaining critical of a lack of male-focused programs. This paper then discusses how teachers have more opportunities to hold open discussions for students to learn and share. Lastly, this paper describes how physical education classes can be modified to promote feelings of attractiveness and positivity while correcting misconceptions regarding exercising and gender. These changes to school programming will promote positive body image in students and open up classroom conversations.
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    Mapping the police-media institutional relationship
    (2022) McKay, Brett
    The relationship between police and media has been and remains one of the most significant for both institutions. The modern police and modern newspaper developed contemporaneously, each influencing the form, function, and popular appeal of the other. Theories of media and power, however, often address the police as part of larger power structures and ignore the unique police-media institutional relationship. This research paper establishes essential characteristics of the police-media relationship and identifies frequent sites of interaction between them, with a focus on crime reporting. Media effects, dominant ideology, and institutional approaches are then assessed as interpretive frameworks, concluding that institutional theory provides the strongest theoretical model for analyzing internal and interorganizational behaviours. The professional norms and practices that compose police and media institutional logics are defined, and their historical origins and evolutions are investigated. These long-established logics continue to direct how police and media construct and respond to crime, and consequently how crime is perceived by the public and treated by legal authorities. Because the habits of crime reporting shape policing practices, altering routine media coverage of crime and police issues may help address systemic problems in policing.
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    I’m just a rhetorical dirtbag, baby
    (2022) Hutchinson, Heather
    Rhetoric has acquired a bad reputation in the modern age. Many hear the word in contemporary news and discourse and ideologically wince. It has gone from a neutral term to one that connotes deception and ill-intent. Rhetoric has also unfairly become synonymous with the Right-wing. In the following piece, I will argue that not only must rhetoric be stripped of its pejorative connotations, but that the spice and flair the Right unapologetically utilize must be wielded by the Left, with ethical moderations, of course. This piece will show how, by abandoning the pointless and outdated notions of impartiality and decorum, the Left can be more effective communicators and finally be on a level playing field with the Right. This paper was written as part of a course on Modern and Classical Rhetoric.
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    Space, time, stillness, and work-life balance
    (2022) Kitchen, Breanna
    Contemporary society is faced with the constancy of capitalism and the burden of always needing to feel and appear productive. However, this state of mind can be harmful to an individual’s well-being, and it is crucial to find strategies to manage the chaos. This visual research project discusses how humans move through space and time, and the implications capitalism has on that movement. It begins with a literature review that discusses previous studies and ideas about stillness and work-life balance. Next, the visual research consists of six images that portray moments throughout the day of a university student where it is possible to find stillness. Lastly, conclusions are made, and the importance of accomplishing work-life balance and stillness within contemporary society is presented as a crucial part of enjoyable existence.
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    Small gifts
    (2021) Saroya, Japkaran
    This poem touches on a perfect moment where the world stands still and you take everything in. This precious moment is one that is taken for granted and one that we don't recognize or even care for in the moment and watch as it passes us by. It also touches on the loss of a loved one and letting go and the bliss that comes with it.
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    The white lie of persuasive communication
    (2021) Bergum, Jaime
    The following is a personal manifesto of the state of 21st-century rhetoric. Rhetoric is so intrinsically bound into all aspects of life and all communication environments that it appears inevitable to communicate by using some form of rhetoric. Though, the ethical nature of rhetoric comes into question when we consider the ways rhetoric might be used for good and for evil. This article explores the ethical state of rhetoric today — what it should or shouldn't be, where rhetoric went right and where rhetoric may have gone wrong, and if the current rhetorical state is our reality, our dream, or our nightmare. First, by establishing rhetoric as a persuasive communication strategy that can be easily learned and both innocently and connivingly used, this article then explores if or how rhetoric can be used in "right" and/or "wrong" ways, and what this means for the present and future state of rhetoric.
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    Closing the social distance: mitigating gender inequality in organizations using complexity theory in response to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic
    (2021) McMullen, Lauren; Schultz, Kennedy
    The following paper is centered around the potential for organizational change in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper argues that the disruption of “business as usual” during the COVID-19 pandemic provides opportunities to both highlight gendered organizational practices during remote work and explore how organizational actors might contribute to a more equitable restructuring of gendered communication practices once employees return to in-person work. First, the paper contextualizes the COVID-19 pandemic at the time of writing. Next, the literature review examines the notion of organizations as inherently gendered, the history of organizational change from Lewinian Planned Change to models of non-linear change, and bureaucratic organizational structures using a feminist lens. The discussion section then argues that complexity theories offer significant opportunities for improvement due to the destabilization of current workplace practices. This argument is followed up by examples of how organizations can successfully engage complexity theories to reduce gender inequality in the post-pandemic world. The paper concludes that by emphasizing consensus and autonomy, improvements to network communication and the merging of public and private spheres should be the first steps towards the ultimate goal of reducing gender inequality through the deconstruction of bureaucracies.
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    Unhealthy communication: health care communication between majority and minority cultural groups
    (2020) Puplampu, Adiki
    Effective communication is important in almost every aspect of life. Within the medical setting, effective communication is paramount because the consequences of miscommunication can be deadly. In health care contexts interpersonal communication is not only affected by the nature of the interaction but also the power differentials between the people participating. The purpose of this paper is to examine how health care communication is affected by power dynamics. Specifically, it will look at the communication between majority-culture doctors and minority patients in order to advance the following argument: the asymmetrical power relationship between doctors and patients is exacerbated when doctors are from majority cultural backgrounds and patients are from minority cultural backgrounds, this is problematic because communication within a medical context is important for patient satisfaction, recall of information, and outcomes. Following the introduction, the literature review explores some of the trends in medical communication literature; these trends include discussions in the literature about the variables and behaviours that affect doctor-patient communication and the critical approach of research done on intercultural medical communication. The section after the literature review establishes that power gaps exist between doctors and patients as well as majority and minority cultural groups. The following paragraphs discuss the negative effects these power differentials have on the intercultural communication between patients and doctors when it comes to patient satisfaction, information recall, and outcomes, before coming to the conclusion that without clear expressions of their communicative differences the communication between these two groups will be compromised.
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    Who are you, YouTube? The invisible corporate individuals of YouTube and its extremely visible creators
    (2020) Small, Emma Joanne
    This paper seeks to understand the invisibility of the corporate individuals working for YouTube and how the extremely visible creator community responds to them as a singular corporate person. The paper proposes that to achieve greater visibility and thereby accountability, YouTube should create an organizational chart for its stakeholders, rely less on algorithms, and establish stable individual identities and a consistent professed corporate persona.
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    Sorry, I should have checked the culture first: an exploration into the use of cultural context related to social orientations in interpersonal apologies
    (2020) Kenny, Samantha Christine
    Humans make mistakes, and as a result, apologies are an inescapable aspect of intercultural communication. This paper suggests that cultural pragmatics are the foundation for an effective apology. Through a content analysis of sources, the key contextual factors that impact an apology are individualism-collectivism orientations, rooted in the social values of different cultures. Some of the key findings proposed that these different orientations are exemplified in Japanese and American cultures, as they tend to focus on either the group or the individual in an apologetic situation. Apologies are not cross-culturally universal, but based on the pragmatics of cultural orientations, especially individualism-collectivism, they can be predicted. To examine this in the paper, apologies are defined in the context of universality, and Japan/the US are identified as cultures that present strong social contexts, requiring cultural context to create an apology. Then, the literature review establishes the importance of these socially based expectations through linguistics, social purpose, and saving face. The discussion section then argues that these concerns are more important than situational cues, that an individualistic orientation is less complicated to predict in regard to apologies, and that these pragmatic preparations prevent the escalation of the act being apologized for. In the conclusion, it is pointed out that even with these contextual clues, apologies are not entirely predictable, but these tools can help mitigate cultural misgivings.
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    Flattening the curve: the role of communications in Canada's response to COVID-19
    (2020) Power, Victoria; Krebes, Amanda
    This paper explores Canada’s communications approach to the population during the global pandemic of COVID-19. Canada’s perceptive risk communication plan consists of quick response, transparency, and credible figures as representatives of information that are deemed the current principles of success (as of April 2020). The literature review inaugurates the necessary definitions for the topic and provides detailed information about the action Canada has taken in the 2020 pandemic, while the discussion evaluates and debates Canada’s communicative strengths while acknowledging areas for improvement. Following the tactics explored, comparisons are made against the United States’ pandemic response along with a review of practices to avoid in risk communication, such as blame. Finally, transformative dialogue theory is analyzed as a potential answer to the successful interactions between the Canadian government, authoritative figures, and the public.
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    Separating religion from cult: an analysis of cult-like organizations
    (2020) Wheeler, Alisha
    This paper explores the term "cult" and all of the connotations that are attached to it. This paper aims to separate the term cult from religious and spiritual assumptions while positing that the term is an umbrella term for various organizations, with cult-like traits, many of which operate in the corporate environment.
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    Author functions in Lars Kepler’s The Hypnotist: an analysis
    (2020) Merkley, Taylor
    This paper examines Foucault's notion of the author function as it pertains to Lars Kepler's bestselling 2011 crime thriller, The Hypnotist. Lars Kepler is the pseudonym of a Swedish husband-wife writing duo, making him the perfect subject for analysis centering on illusory notion of the author. This paper will answer these questions: Who is the true author of The Hypnotist? What factors influence the author function of this bestelling novel? And what can The Hypnotist phenomenon tell us about the relationships between authors and their readers? This paper will demonstrate that no literary works may be ascribed to an individual person, and that authors hold no privileged knowledge of the works they produce, because authors cease to be authors the moment pen is lifted from page.
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    Spelling errors and social media outrage: on the Conservative Party of Canada’s error-ridden pamphlet
    (2021) Sweet, T. Andi; Wurfel, Marlene
    The age of social media permanently changed the way voters engage with elections. At the centre of this change, a Conservative Party of Canada mailer riddled with errors became the focus of a debate: were the errors the result of an ineffectual copyeditor, or were they something else? In looking at the 2021 Election as a whole, it becomes clear that spelling errors in the doorknocker were not only intentional but part of a larger strategy built to stew outrage and further stoke divide between Canada’s political parties.
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    Analyzing LGBTQ2S+ jokes in 30 Rock and Schitt’s Creek: a qualitative comparison study in sitcom humour
    (2020) Colwell, Mya; Wurfel, Marlene
    As LGBTQ2S+ representation increases in the media, it is important to discover if these increased narratives are also becoming more positive. Utilizing a combination of Critical Discourse and Textual Analysis, this study analyzes LGBTQ2S+ sitcom humour in 30 Rock and Schitt’s Creek to understand what patterns are found in the jokes and how findings compare. After examining connotations drawn from word choice, the presence of power dynamics, body language, and tone, findings indicated that 30 Rock contained an alarming number of negative LGBTQ2S+ jokes, with jokes fitting into three categories: using the term “lesbian” to denote frumpy appearance, using LGBTQ2S+ jokes to create a power imbalance, and erasing identity with LGBTQ2S+ negative jokes. In opposition to this, Schitt’s Creek demonstrated positive representation of LGBTQ2S+ characters and few LGBTQ2S+ specific jokes. LGBTQ2S+ stereotypes were sometimes inverted for humour, but no negative jokes occurred.
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    My (racism) apology: a case study of YouTubers’ apology videos for racist acts
    (2020) Wolsey, Claire; Wurfel, Marlene
    YouTube’s popular content creators, known as YouTubers, use their platform as a vital communication and crisis management tool. When YouTubers need to manage their public image, they frequently use their platform to post public apologies in the form of what is colloquially known as an ”apology video.” Frequently, these apologies are for racially-based offences, such as racial slurs, race-based jokes, racist actions towards others, or blackface. This case study analyzes the language used by six YouTubers in eight apology videos for racist transgressions. It uses textual and rhetorical analysis to compare and contrast the structure and themes of these apology videos, analyzing the apology strategies used, and critical discourse analysis to place the initial racist actions and subsequent apologies in a wider social and racial context. Research paper submitted to BCSC 203: Introduction to Research Methods.
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    #Fibromyalgia: a qualitative analysis of how males and females share their stories on Instagram
    (2020) Sakotic, Ela; Wurfel, Marlene
    Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic illness that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite some people referring to FM as a woman’s disease, men also suffer from the illness. This study asks how males and females use Instagram to communicate about their illness and discusses how themes differ throughout their narratives. A qualitative research approach was taken to conduct a narrative analysis and look at images for their connotative meaning. This study indicates that females share their narratives on Instagram at a higher frequency than males. Thematic analyses suggest that both males and females use Instagram to share pain narratives and lend one another support. While most of the themes were the same, the findings indicate that females are more likely than males to share their struggles with the Instagram community.