From All American Girl to Fresh Off the Boat: Exploring the Relationship Between Media Representations and Identity Formation

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Lim, Pamela




When ethnic and racial groups are absent from Hollywood narratives, the subtext is they don't matter. This thesis explores how images of Asian Americans and Canadians in media are decoded for meaning and the impact of this on identity. Employing a qualitative methodology, this thesis supports the idea that the media play a significant and influential role in identity development. The findings suggest that young adults: (1) rely on stereotypes to make sense of Asian representations in media; (2) downplay the influence of media by separating racial ideology from media production, content, and consumption; and (3) struggle to understand their ethnic, racial, and national identity in the context of Canadian multiculturalism. This thesis contributes to scholarship on race, media, and Asian identity by linking changes in the culture industries to the study of media effects among Asian Canadians and by expanding the relationship between multicultural discourse and Asian Canadian identity.


Mass Communications




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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