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Greening Media Education

Bridging Media Literacy with Green Cultural Citizenship


Antonio López

Media are a powerful educational force that teaches about the relationship between humans and living systems while also physiologically impacting the environment. However, although long considered a tool for promoting critical thinking and cultural citizenship, media literacy does not adequately address environmental sustainability. Drawing on original research, Antonio López demonstrates how common media literacy practices reinforce belief systems at the root of unsustainable behaviors. By combining emerging literacies from social media, networked activism, sustainability education, critical media literacy, and digital ecopedagogy, the author offers a solutions-oriented critique and paradigm-shifting reappraisal of media education by advocating «ecomedia literacy.» This groundbreaking book builds on López’s previous two books, Mediacology and The Media Ecosystem, by offering a cutting-edge and radical reappraisal of conventional media literacy practices. Written in accessible and jargon-free language, this book is ideal for students and educators of media literacy, media studies, and cultural studies, and will also be vital to those advocating sustainability education, environmental studies, and social justice.
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Chapter Three: A Field Walk Through the Media Ecosystem

← 66 | 67 → CHAPTER THREE


Len Masterman’s (1989) pivotal book, Teaching the Media, began by asking, why teach media? Masterman explained that while media had become “increasingly central components of social, economic, and political activity at all levels, media education [remained] marginal within educational systems everywhere” (p. 1). Subsequent efforts (Lusted, 1991; Tyner, 1998) were intended to expand the possibilities and connections for media education across disciplines in educational settings that traditionally privilege print literacy over the inclusion of electronic media as an area of inquiry. These early arguments for media education reflected debates emerging from media studies, cultural studies, film studies, and literacy scholarship. Unlike their academic counterparts who asked how media impacts society and culture, the early pioneers of media education were concerned with pedagogy: What are the best practices for teaching media? This essential question is based on an assumption that media education, like print literacy, is integral for promoting life skills, social capital, and cultural citizenship. The initial aim of media education, as outlined by Masterman and the many practitioners who followed his lead, recognized the power of media to shape attitudes and beliefs, and believed that education should address our engagement with media.

In terms of understanding the worldview of media literacy educators, Masterman’s work highlights two themes. First, his discussion of media education comes from the perspective of media studies, film studies, and cultural studies. As it turns out, media literacy intersects and converges with many different perspectives and fields, such as literacy, public health, education, media...

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