Youth, Engagement and Participation in Digital Culture
How can media literacy enable core competencies for value-driven, diverse and robust digital media use?
How can media literacy enable a more civic-minded participatory culture?
These challenges are great, but they need to be examined in their entirety if media literacy is to begin to address the opportunities they present for democracy, participation and discourse in a digital media age. By presenting information that places media literacy at the center of what it means to be an engaged citizen, educators and policy makers will understand why media literacy must be integrated into formal and informal education systems before it’s too late
Chapter 1. The Emerging Civic Landscape
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THE EMERGING CIVIC LANDSCAPE
What does it look like to be civically engaged? Before the Internet, it often looked like reading the newspaper, watching local news on television, attending town hall meetings and rallies, and perhaps writing letters to representatives. But with the Internet, the terms and methods of being an informed and engaged citizen have changed.
— Eric Gordon (2013)
An engaged citizenry has always been a central, though not exclusive, prerequisite for democracy. From town meetings and community bulletin boards to the advent of social media, the expression of civic voices has always been a precondition for a democratic public.
Michael Schudson traced the evolution of citizenship in the United States to arrive at what he termed the monitorial citizen—a gatherer, monitor, and surveyor of information, who “swings into public action only when directly threatened” (Leman, 1998). Schudson argued that the “good” citizen-an active participant in his or her community who votes, volunteers, participates, and believes in the public service of the government-no longer exists. Rather, Schudson understood citizenship as a combination of the attributes that comprise valuable contributions to society, and this obligation, in an information age, was not only about being informed. “Citizens can be “monitorial” rather ← 17 | 18 →than “informed,” wrote Schudson (1998), “A monitorial citizen scans (rather than reads) the informational environment in a way so that he or she may be alerted on a very wide variety of issues for...
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