Javnost - The Public, Vol. 17 - 2010, No. 4
Critical Media Literacy as Curricular Praxis: Remapping the Pedagogical Borderlands of Media Literacy in U.S. Mass Communication Programmes
The current stalemate of mass communication as neither a professional nor a worthwhile academic discipline in U.S. higher education is deeply rooted in the gradual evaporation of the critical in its curriculum. In light of this, this article strives to reclaim “the critical” in media literacy, aiming at three main goals. First, it attempts to problematise the escalating vocationalisation of mass communication education. Second, it seeks to build a philosophical, theoretical base for critical media literacy, informed by critical educational theories developed by Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux, and others. Third, it aims to identify some core areas of critical media literacy by which to reconfigure mass communication as an interdisciplinary academic field within the larger context of democracy. Ultimately, the article makes the case for repositioning critical media literacy as pedagogy of possibility that opens up a new pedagogical space for alternative, counter-hegemonic mass communication education and practices.
Talking politics online is not bound to spaces dedicated to politics, particularly the everyday political talk crucial to the public sphere. The aim of this article is to move beyond such spaces by examining political talk within a space dedicated to popular culture. The purpose is to see whether a reality TV discussion forum provides both the communicative space, content, and style for politics that both extends the public sphere while moving beyond a conventional notion. The central question is whether it fulfils the requirements of rationality and deliberation. The analysis also moves beyond a formal notion by investigating how expressive speech acts interact and influence the more traditional elements of deliberation. The findings indicate that nearly a quarter of the postings from the Big Brother sample were engaged in political talk, which was often deliberative in nature. It was a communicative space where the use of expressives both facilitated and impeded such talk.
Have users challenged the power of incumbent media through interactivity, and, if so, to what extent and to what end? The front pages and their linked features of online newspapers in Bulgaria, Estonia, Ireland and Italy are examined as instances of interactivity in practice. A methodological path to analyse interactivity practices in online newspapers is proposed. The structures and the more frequent models of interactivity applied; the types of forums; the communicative flux between readers and editorial staffs; modalities of self-presentation, both of readers and journalists; and the rituality of their relations in forums are set out and analysed from a number of perspectives. The study demonstrates that online newspapers in the first stage of internet diffusion remain in a stage of pre-interactivity.
On Message communication allows political authority to fill the demand for authorised speech with a stable message reinforced by uniform performances. The strategy indicates the ways in which changes in the material and institutional mechanisms of discursive practice fundamentally alter the categories by which we understand, analyse, and respond to rhetorical productions. The essay suggests that On Message communication, illustrated by George W. Bush’s administration, functions as a particular form of prosopopoeia, the verbal equivalent to wearing masks. The project charts the variable relationship between political authority and performance to suggest that On Message communication refigures the classical account of prosopopoeia and alters the relationship between publics and political authority.
Journalism,Deliberative Democracy and Government Communication: Normative Arguments from Public Sphere Theory
This article addresses theories of deliberative democracy, the public sphere and government communication, and investigates the ways in which government communication might be carried out to strengthen and improve deliberative democracy, within the wider context of journalism. The article begins by undertaking an extended survey of the normative model of the public sphere, as outlined by Jürgen Habermas, and takes account of his later work on the centrality of the deliberative process to the public sphere. In the second half, the article applies Held’s conceptions of the role of government communication in the strengthening of deliberative democracy, and attempts to make normative arguments about certain forms of government communication. In doing so, it addresses three areas: the problems with the standing “lobby” system of briefing journalists in the UK; ways in which government communication might be held to greater account in the public sphere; ways in which the improved communication of Parliament might impact upon deliberative democracy.