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.

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.

Arfa Shah

“The body as a cultural object”: Exploring the online construction of the female body

This project explores the construction of the female body in today’s image saturated world, identifying how the body is constructed within a set of restrictive beauty ideals. Utilising McRobbie’s reading of Bourdieu  and the concept of symbolic violence, which explores how society encourages women to look a certain way, this project scrutinises the power of language to label images surrounding discourses of body shaming and body praising, particularly focussing on the Daily Mail Online and the powerful picture sharing application, Instagram. Furthermore, this project discusses how the Mail Online utilises new media formats of social media, such as comment sections and “likes”, to  encourage readers to partake in this symbolic violence against women, further reinforcing notions of beautifying oneself in accordance with the cultural expectations of the modern world.  This project also looks at the power of the image making technologies of applications such as Instagram and how its filters allow users to refashion and control images of the body to project a perfected external self. Instagram, like the Mail Online, encourages users to present a flawless image to the world. By identifying the particular techniques of language and image making that perpetuate notions of the ultimate feminine ideal, this project concludes that the body is indeed a constant site of construction that cannot escape from ongoing image mediation and suffocating beauty ideals.

Natalia Santos-Correia

The Emotional World of Social Media

Discussing the world of social media through the metaphorical. This paper will look at the emotional world of social media, and how the users become lost within this new world of ‘virtuality’ that Van Doogh(2011) expresses. This paper will take note of characters who lose themselves within the real world, and how emotions that are prevalent coexists with emotions produced through the world of social media. It will, at the same time, shed light on how this new world of social media produces a world of raw authenticity. A new haven for ‘weirdos’ as Eddie Huang (2013) speaks about. This paper will look to see whether, in conclusion, the emotional impact of the world of social media is so powerful that it hinders our beings and, changes us into what Marx & Engels(1848) suggests: ‘lifeless human robots’; stripped from all organic consciousness.