Read some of the best undergraduate dissertations of 2017.
Annabel Coleman, BA Hons Communication and Media
The Syrian revolution, starting in February 2011, sparked one of the most destructive conflicts in modern history: the Syrian fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis). Historically, the media has represented women as victims of this conflict, vulnerable against the quintessentially male force of destruction. However, growing sects of Kurdish Syrian women currently make up nearly a third of Syria’s total fighting force, indicating that women are not solely victims; they are also perpetrators of violence. This dissertation will analyse how women within the conflict are represented, whether female contribution is marginalised and their victimhood is heightened, or whether their agency and ability to be political actors and perpetrators of violence is celebrated. By examing some of the most widely disseminated gendered reports within UK newspapers of the Syrian conflict, this dissertation draws on Moser and Clark’s (2001) three categories, which typify how women are framed within the press. The first is victims; the second, actors within conflict; and the third active perpetrators of violence. Discourse analysis helps in examining the gendered framing of women’s roles within the Syrian conflict in the UK press, contributing to the wider range of literature surrounding women’s roles within Middle Eastern conflicts.
‘Consuming the Self’: A discourse analysis of the self-representation of Instagram bloggers and its relationship to consumer culture
Sophie Davies, BA Hons Communication and Media
Alongside the practices of social media, fashion bloggers have become increasingly popular on sites like Instagram. Mainly young women, bloggers post photographs of themselves, their lifestyles and their outfits, using self-branding techniques to promote themselves and their blogs in what Hearn (2010) calls an “online reputation economy” that is situated within consumer culture. By conducting a discourse analysis of 10 commercially successful Instagram bloggers, this dissertation argues that bloggers construct their self-representations in a way that is entirely reflective of consumer, capitalist ideologies. Four themes are identified: (1) Postfeminist consumption and commodity fetishism, (2) Fashioning the consumer lifestyle and the consumer identity, (3) Consuming the (authentic?) self and then finally, (4) ‘Bourgeois Femininity’ and the theme of ‘aspirational consumption’. By imaging highly desirable products and lifestyles, bloggers present a discourse that celebrates female consumerism in order to ‘look’ and ‘feel’ good which together, articulates a form of femininity that draws upon postfeminist, neoliberal sensibilities around female self-branding and self-commodification that reinforces a disciplinary control onto the female body. As a result, this dissertation argues that the self-representation of Instagram bloggers is inextricably tied to consumer culture through the purchasing and fetishization of consumer goods, which re-establishes normative beauty ideals into the online sphere.
If the message is the same, why does the noise matter? A study on the impact of Welsh/English Bilingualism on the Self and Social Relationships
Sian Evans, BA Hons Broadcast Journalism
Bilingualism is a labyrinth where bilingual thinkers and speakers possess two different bilingual selves. This empirical study explores the ways in which there are ramifications in identity that are bound by language. It aims to shed light on how one’s character can differ marginally depending on which language is used, and how this differentiation in the self can impact on one’s relationships with both bilingual and monolingual audiences. This work incorporates areas of sociolinguistic principle such as practice theory, cultural frame switching, and phonological elements of language which can determine the level of comfort or distancing Welsh/English bilinguals experience in daily life from discourse. From looking into family dynamic, romance, and self-expression, it was found that multiple tensions were at play involving identity and interpersonal relationships after a series of interviews with six young Welsh bilinguals.
Talah Kaddourah, BA Hons New Media
This research attempts to address common issues experienced by foreign correspondents in the context of news production, by examining journalist’s perspectives on how these issues can ultimately impact their ethical conduct and ultimately the reportage produced. The study focuses on the topics of emotion, trauma and objectivity, in order to gain a deepened insight into journalistic perspectives such in the context of the conflict zone.
How humour sells: A psychoanalytical analysis of the Thinkbox Harvey advertising campaign asking why comedy helps sell products
Liam Kenrick, BA Hons Communication and Media
When people are asked to think about advertisements, the image they will turn to is often negative, picturing a man telling you to buy this or that or the other, an undesired disruption from the regularly scheduled programming, an infomercial. In reality most advertisements rely on presenting short narratives, each with their own themes and conventions. I have shown through a psychoanalytical analysis of the Thinkbox Harvey television advertising campaign, that when the theme of Comedy is done well it has the power to entertain and create connections to the audience. It does this best when the narrative is presented in such a way that that negative connotations that are associated with advertising, and the capitalist ideology it stems from, are both interpolated and ignored due to the positive distraction of the humour. It is here that we see comedies true power.
To what extent were the politics of national identity and populism reflected in Vote Leave’s audiovisual advertisements, and how were rhetorical appeals employed to engage with these concepts?
Charlotte Lawrence, BA Hons Communication and Media
The UK’s 2016 referendum on EU membership has proven to be the most momentous political event in recent decades, producing profound effects upon both the private and public lives of citizens across the nation. Since the ‘Leave’ result was announced, a great deal of attention has been devoted towards establishing the various factors which influenced this outcome. The politics of national identity and populism have widely been identified as playing an important role in the formation of Eurosceptic attitudes and, subsequently, shaping the referendum result. As such, a more detailed study of these concepts is required. The primary issues associated with both populism and national identity are identified as patriotism, nationalism, anti-elitism and sovereignty; therefore, Vote Leave’s advertisements are examined with a view to establishing the extent to which these particular themes were employed. The four themes are all utilised, however, findings suggest that they were not featured equally within Vote Leave’s advertisements. Appeals to anti-elitism and patriotism were employed as main themes in several advertisements, whereas, surprisingly, the issues of immigration and sovereignty were not. Therefore, a rhetorical analysis was applied to advertisements which used anti-elitism and patriotism as main themes. Using Aristotle’s three modes of persuasion – ethos, pathos and logos – as a framework, this thesis then examines the ways in which credibility, emotion and logic are employed to maximise the persuasive effect of these adverts and encourage audiences to vote Leave.
Lucy Stanney, BA Hons New Media
The UK’s online retail market is currently worth approx. £133bn, and with the evolution of this online marketplace we are beginning to see changes in its delivery systems. Next day delivery and in some cases, same day delivery (within 2 hours) is now being used by a variety of online retailers. This study questions why the marketplace has evolved to include such speed and efficiency in their delivery. It will also determine whether a relationship exists between this trend and the claims being made about the Millennial generation. Millennials are soon to become the largest living generation and the media criticises them for several reasons; one of the most prominent claims about Millennials is that they are ‘impatient’. The study will determine whether it is true that Millennials are generally impatient and whether this is linked to the rise of instant and next day delivery.