Bridging Media Literacy with Green Cultural Citizenship
Chapter Four: Mapping the Media Literacy Ecosystem
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Aprimary assumption regarding media literacy advocates is that when learners become fluent in the techniques and tactics of media persuasion and production, it should lead to some kind of active and attentive engagement with media. But when it comes to promoting green cultural citizenship, this may not necessarily be the case. As Orr (1994) warns about standardized education’s impact on environmental perception, literacy does not necessarily translate into ecological responsibility: technically oriented education can turn well-meaning people into planetary “vandals.” As Orr asserts, “Now more than ever…we need people who think broadly and who understand systems, connections, patterns, and root causes…. This is an unlikely outcome of education conceived as the propagation of technical intelligence alone” (1994, p. 23). Indeed, media literacy practices can normalize the separation between media and the environment, and in some cases narrowly define technical proficiency as the sole criteria for literacy. Indeed, the manner in which “media” are defined ultimately impacts whether or not media literacy practices can be greened.
One of media studies’ most important impacts on media literacy education has been how it approaches media as an “other.” Like “literature” in literature studies, The Media is a socially constructed category (Bennett, Kendall, & McDougall, 2011). From this perspective media are an abstraction “out there” that has particular characteristics defined not by their objective reality but by the social practices of practitioners that view media through particular lenses. For instance, though books are a kind of media, they are typically eliminated....
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