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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 Five: The Media Literacy Ecosystem’s Dominant Paradigm

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My analysis started with the premise advanced by the New London School that pedagogy must “be based on views about how the human mind works in society and classrooms, as well as about the nature of teaching and learning” (Cazden, Cope, Fairclough, Gee et al., 1996, p. 82). This meant exploring for implicit assumptions about teaching, learning, cognition, and society. In some cases media literacy organizations do a good job of making their pedagogical theories explicit, but in most media literacy documents I analyzed the underlying assumptions behind their methods were only implied. Nonetheless, my research revealed that there are enough commonalities to generalize about the shared assumptions of learning and cognition in the media literacy ecosystem. To be clear, I am aware that most media literacy educators have individual differences in approach and worldview, which was confirmed by my interviews.

When I began my investigation, I assumed that primary actors in the media literacy ecosystem would be teachers and students, but as I conducted my research additional actors emerged and the implicated world in which they live expanded. The role of stakeholders is not always explicit in media literacy documents, but their presence is strong. These stakeholders include (but are not limited to) funders, policymakers, technology companies, media corporations, school systems, K–12 educators, parents, and youth. Moreover, the situated meaning of “media” is likely to imply corporate mass media and not necessarily alternative or community media. How media literacy educators view the function of media in...

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