Louisa Wray

Human to Robot Relationships

This dissertation explores the concept that romantic human-to-human relationships will be replaced with human to robot relationships in the future. The range of relationships covered will vary from friendship to lovers. I will also be examining the influence Sci-Fi has on the human perception of the issue of robot lovers, as well as how Sci-Fi can be used to show the possible futuristic outcomes involving robots. I will also be exploring sexual fetishes directly connected to sexual relationships with robots.

Tom Whayman

Social Media and the Public Sphere

This dissertation will examine social media in regards to Habermas’ public sphere in an attempt to determine to what extent social media, and more specifically YouTube, can operate as a working public sphere in accordance with Habermas’ theory. The many aspects of the public sphere such as access, quality of conversation and autonomy will be assessed and applied to YouTube in an attempt to understand how it may or may not be able to form such a space. Racism will be used, not only as an example of an important societal issue and focus of deliberation and discussion between citizens, but also as a measure of the levels of rationality and reason-based discourse and discussion that can take place on YouTube in accordance with the idea of a working public sphere. In order to determine the potential YouTube holds in creating a working example of Habermas’ concept, the most interactive part of YouTube – the comments section will be subject to a content analysis and individual comments pertaining to Habermas’ theory and will used to highlight the possible strengths or weaknesses that YouTube holds in creating a public sphere.

Mari Wakili

Media goes Nuclear; The Orientalist construction of Iran in The New York Times

This research project engages with Edward Said’s study of Orientalism to investigate the dichotomy of “us vs. them”, West vs. East and Occident vs. the Orient of Iran in relation to United States media, in particular in the New York Times. This study is primarily focused on how Iran is represented as the Orient in the framing and agenda of newspaper articles.

For this thesis, six articles have been chosen for analysis to research how the manner of Orientalism is applied in The New York Times. Whilst, examining the six articles four main themes were recognized, which included; Language of threat, Islam as the alien Other, The voice of authority and finally- Isolating the Quarantine.

The study of Critical Discourse Analysis, in regards to social action, was used to discover how Orientalism was operationalized. The identity of Iran as the “Other” and America’s identity of itself, in particular, was shaped through the concept of “Orientalism”.

Orientalism was achieved due to the Occident’s suppression of the Orients voice. The Orientalist perception of Iran as ‘irrational’/ ‘inferior’/ ‘threat’ was legitimized through the voice of authority. The texts analysed, engaged with Stuart Hall’s theory; where language of “difference” was used to reinforce the formation of the discourse of Iran vs. “West”. The articles reinforce the absence of rationality and civil society in Iran, furthermore underpinning Said’s agreement about “Western superiority” and “Oriental inferiority”.

Kim Sy

From Violent Video Games to Mental Health Illnesses: A Critical Discourse Analysis behind the Media’s Treatment of Sandy Hook

The dissertation aims is to establish how two British news outlets has wrongly accused violent video games and mental health illnesses as being the killer’s motivator behind The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012). A two-part methodology, critical discourse analysis and surveys were used to contradict these existing discourses of scapegoating. From analysing six online news articles between 2012 -2014, from the perspectives of the Daily Mail and The Telegraph, it demonstrated through Foucault’s critical theory of language and power, that hidden messages were used to describe and propagate audience’s perception on how violent video games and mental health illnesses were causal factor behind the massacre. From the findings, it concluded that violent video games, which has been the primary scapegoat for a very long time, became a dying topic in recent media and how audience’s perceptions has opposed with the media’s views. Psychological research has proven no correlations between violent video games, as well as mental health illnesses being influential factor to the mass school shooting. However, this incident was kept alive through the strategies of scapegoating, as it was considered as newsworthy, after reports showing the transitions from victimising violent video games in 2012 to mental health illnesses in 2014.