Last week, I sent off my application to the Communication and Culture Program, offered jointly through Ryerson and York Universities. If accepted, I’m looking to start part time studies in September for an MA. The opportunity to study with a lot of smart and interesting researchers would be really exciting and I hope to be accepted.
I started this blog specifically as a resource to help record and share my own self-directed studies in telecommunications policy. It has been useful to help focus my thoughts and my research question, though I’m looking to accelerate the pace this year as I try to strengthen my foundational knowledge in the field.
As part of my application, I needed to submit an academic writing sample. I chose to submit an excerpt from my BA Honours thesis, Information Polity? The Political Economy of Information and Communication Technology and Democratization Processes. I felt it made the best example of my writing at an advanced academic level that included a strong communication focus. Going through the final graded version, I made some final typo revisions and included the first ten pages of text. After submitting, I thought I would post the document in its entirety in case the Admissions Committee ends up coming across this blog but to also provide an example of prior learning.
Reviewing the document five years on, I have very mixed feelings. On one hand, I view the areas where I am trying to juggle too many perspectives and theoretical models results in some unclear analysis. Even making a few of changes to the text, based on my supervisor’s comments, still leaves room for improvement. On the other hand, there remains some very interesting conclusions.
While there is some discussion of blogs, especially in a political/democracy context of enabling meaningful participation in debate that forms the public sphere, the paper preceded the explosion of social media technologies and adoption of the second half of the Aughts. Thinking of things like the “Twitter Revolutions” in Moldova and Iran, the ongoing implications of Wikileaks, whatever happened to the Orange Revolution, growing use of surveillance technologies in democracies and authoritarian states, and Google’s recent confrontation with China, I think the paper still provides relevant information to increase understanding such events.
For those interested, please feel free to have a read and pose any questions in the comments or contact me directly. Any remaining errors or flaws in the document are my own.