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Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen

Youth, Engagement and Participation in Digital Culture

Paul Mihailidis

Media Literacy and the Emerging Citizen is about enhancing engagement in a digital media culture and the models that educators, parents and policy makers can utilize to place media-savvy youth into positions of purpose, responsibility and power. Two specific challenges are at the core of this book’s argument that media literacy is the path toward more active and robust civic engagement in the 21st century:
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
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Chapter 7. The 5A’s of Media Literacy: A Normative Model for the Emerging Citizen


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In Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in Networked Culture, Henry Jenkins, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green (2013) explore emerging forms of participatory culture and audience engagement that are at the center of politics, business, and communication in a networked age. They write:

The growth of networked communication, especially when coupled with the practices of the participatory culture, provides a range of new resources and facilitates new interventions for a variety of groups who have long struggled to have their voice heard. New platforms create openings for social, cultural, economic, legal, and political change and opportunities for diversity and democratization for which it is worth fighting. (p. xiv)

Through a myriad of insightful case studies and examples, Jenkins, Ford, and Green contend that citizens, with a host of connected networks available at their fingertips, can facilitate and sustain the open flow of communication and participatory spaces: often in contrast to the control-minded companies that own and develop the content. The networks that are diversifying the scope of engagement for publics, however, are only as diverse and engaging as those who occupy these networks.

In this chapter, I want to propose a framework that advocates media literacy as the educational movement to help strengthen the emerging ← 127 | 128 →networked landscape that Jenkins, Ford, and Green detail. This framework builds on the work of media literacy pioneers...

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