"Canada's Toughest Neighbourhood": Surveillance, Myth and Orientalism in Jane-Finch

Chris Richardson (cricha48@uwo.ca)
Communications, Popular Culture & Film, Brock University
September, 2008
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Chris Richardson is currently a doctoral student in the Media Studies program at the University of Western Ontario. He completed a Master's of Arts degree in Popular Culture at Brock University in 2008, where his research
focused on representations of Jane-Finch in popular Canadian news media. In his thesis, Richardson explores how residents can-and are-challenging stereotypes about their community by presenting what theorist Michel
Foucault calls "subjugated knowledges." Richardson received a Bachelor of Journalism degree with a Minor in Sociology from Ryerson University in 2007.
 

Abstract

This study examines coverage of Jane-Finch in popular Canadian newspapers in 2007. It explores the often-negative representations of the community through conceptual frameworks based on the work of Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes and Edward Said. The question it attempts to answer is: What knowledge and power relationships are embedded within depictions of Jane-Finch in popular Canadian newspapers in 2007? The methodology is a version of critical discourse analysis based on Foucault’s The Archaeology of Knowledge. It finds that predominantly-negative connotations of the neighbourhood are reinforced through the perpetuation of dominant discourses, the use of “expert” knowledge sources, and the discounting of subjugated knowledges or lived-experiences of residents. The study concludes by suggesting where further research within the realm of popular culture and community identity can be directed.
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