Date of Award

7-1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

Supervisor

Professor Graham Knight

Language

English

Abstract

This dissertation is a sociological study which examines discourses on communication technologies through public proceedings in the process which led to Canada's 1991 Broadcasting Act. The methodological basis of the study is historical, qualitative research (mainly utilizing t he transcripts of governments committee proceedings and debates). The study considers a theoretical problem. The theoretical problem involves understanding how the discourses of technological causality, technological democracy, and technological nationalism figure into the struggle over hegemony among social agents. The public proceedings which led to the 1991 Broadcasting Act, and the social agents which participated in those proceedings, provide an empirical basis for grappling with he theoretical problem. The study presents an argument in relation to the theoretical problem which it addresses. This argument suggests that: a) the discourse of technological causality played a role in the process of establishing private capital's hegemony within Canadian broadcasting; b) the discourse of technological democracy played a similar role while becoming the target of a counter hegemony which favoured community broadcasting; and c) the discourse of technological nationalism played a role in the process of securing the federal state's hegemony over its institutional components and the regions (as well as efforts to strengthen national public broadcasting), but the discourse became the focus of a counter hegemony which eventually led to its transformation.

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