Changes in information communication technology met with digital literacies offer new modes and models of creative expression, connecting through participatory culture, co-creation and produsage. This chapter draws from my collaborative, practice-led ethnographic doctoral research ‘Exploring the Media Literacy Practices of a Transcultural Youth- Led Community in Cork City, Ireland’. In the study, provisional findings suggest that research participants use their media literacy practices to cultivate solidarity to deal with the impact of ‘big’ events, that of family separation and issues specifically facing migrant youth. My multi-modal research takes place in an urban media hub in Cork City centre, Ireland’s second largest city, and examines the lived identities and media practices of youth (16-25), some of whom are at various stages of the migration process. This generation of young people are frequently referred to as the ‘new Ireland’, with one in seven now coming from a migrant background. Despite this, there is a paucity of research on the settlement experiences of migrant youth. This chapter aims to explore how migrant youth connect with each other through the co-creation of media content, providing pathways for solidarity and social inclusion. This shows how media literacy practices function as a means of creative expression and connection, representing an autonomous generational response to the material challenges facing youth themselves.
The editors and authors maintain that cultural studies helps free educators from sterile, monolithic analyses that have for too long undermined efforts to think of educational practices by providing other words, new languages, and fresh metaphors. Operating in an interdisciplinary cosmos, Transgressions: Cultural Studies and Education is dedicated to exploring the ways cultural studies enhances the study and practice of education. With this in mind the series focuses in a non-exclusive way on popular culture as well as other dimensions of cultural studies including social theory, social justice and positionality, cultural dimensions of technological innovation, new media and media literacy, new forms of oppression emerging in an electronic hyperreality, and postcolonial global concerns. With these concerns in mind cultural studies scholars often argue that the realm of popular culture is the most powerful educational force in contemporary culture. Indeed, in the twenty-first century this pedagogical dynamic is sweeping through the entire world. Educators, they believe, must understand these emerging realities in order to gain an important voice in the pedagogical conversation.
Without an understanding of cultural pedagogy's (education that takes place outside of formal schooling) role in the shaping of individual identity—youth identity in particular—the role educators play in the lives of their students will continue to fade. Why do so many of our students feel that life is incomprehensible and devoid of meaning? What does it mean, teachers wonder, when young people are unable to describe their moods, their affective affiliation to the society around them. Meanings provided young people by mainstream institutions often do little to help them deal with their affective complexity, their difficulty negotiating the rift between meaning and affect. School knowledge and educational expectations seem as anachronistic as a ditto machine, not that learning ways of rational thought and making sense of the world are unimportant.
But school knowledge and educational expectations often have little to offer students about making sense of the way they feel, the way their affective lives are shaped. In no way do we argue that analysis of the production of youth in an electronic mediated world demands some "touchy-feely" educational superficiality. What is needed in this context is a rigorous analysis of the interrelationship between pedagogy, popular culture, meaning making, and youth subjectivity. In an era marked by youth depression, violence, and suicide such insights become extremely important, even life saving. Pessimism about the future is the common sense of many contemporary youth with its concomitant feeling that no one can make a difference.
If affective production can be shaped to reflect these perspectives, then it can be reshaped to lay the groundwork for optimism, passionate commitment, and transformative educational and political activity. In these ways cultural studies adds a dimension to the work of education unfilled by any other sub-discipline. This is what Transgressions: Cultural Studies and Education seeks to produce—literature on these issues that makes a difference. It seeks to publish studies that help those who work with young people, those individuals involved in the disciplines that study children and youth, and young people themselves improve their lives in these bizarre times.
This book series is dedicated to the radical love and actions of Paulo Freire, Jesus “Pato” Gomez, and Joe L. Kincheloe.
The Hard Connection
William M. Reynolds
This chapter explores issues in critical media literacy centering on a discussion of comic books and graphic novels, particularly Sin City: The Hard Goodbye (Miller, 2005). The discussion includes the entanglement of graphic novels within the context of consumer culture and commodification, the questions surrounding the “legitimacy” of such texts, the impact that these artifacts of popular culture have on the identity formation of youth, the reactions of students to the use of graphic novels in the classroom and the exploration of the issues of race, class and gender that are raised as result of the study of graphic novels in the classroom. It does mean that the so-called ‘literary canon’, the unquestioned ‘great tradition’ of the ‘national literature’ has to be recognized as a construct, fashioned by particular people for particular reasons at a certain time (Eagleton, 1983, p. 11).
The theoretical perspective of this study is a combination of critical theory and literary criticism. The serious study of the history, development and reception of graphic novels is enriched by the application of such theoretical perspectives, places them within a 21st century context and makes connections between popular culture, youth and critical pedagogy. Put another way, for radical literacy to come about, the pedagogical should be made more political and the political more pedagogical. In other words, there is a dire need to develop pedagogical practices which bring teachers, parents, and students together around new and more emancipatory visions of community (Giroux in Freire and Macedo, 1987, p. 6).
Cultural products, such as art, literature and movies are important in the transmission of beauty ideals in a society. These cultural products convey material and non-material ideals related to beauty. Cultural products may convey ideals that are accepted or expected in a society and also those that are not seen as the norm in a society. In Tamil culture, traditionally, physical beauty ideals are discussed with other ideals related to one’s character. This chapter compares the perception on beauty ideals in Tamil movies by Malaysian Indian youths and Indian youths from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. Data collection was done by conducting in-depth interviews with 40 Malaysian Indian youths at a public university in Malaysia and 30 Indian youths from three university and government colleges in Chennai. The students were selected using purposive sampling method. Youths from both countries perceived that some elements of beauty ideals have evolved in Tamil movies mainly for actresses. Preference for thinness and fairness or whiteness may reflect socio-cultural expectation of the contemporary Indian society. However, youths from both countries have different views when discussing how the beauty ideals in the movies influence their choices and perception about beauty in everyday life. The findings of this study are important in media literacy and intervention program for these youth.
This chapter aims to describe the implementation of an introductory cyberculture course in the French language and literature faculty curriculum (University of Athens, 2008). The main objective of this course was the education of today’s digital natives and future Netizens and the development of new media skills which should be seen as social skills and also include the traditional literacy. The syllabus contained an introduction to cyberspace, virtualisation and virtual communities (through MySpace), digital video and sound, digital effects, an insight into collective intelligence (through wikis), politics on the Net (by the examination of the phenomenon of hackers) and mainly the examination of digital storytelling through machinima. Machinima, a portmanteau of machine cinema or sometimes animation, is defined as ‘animated filmmaking within a real-time virtual 3-D environment’. It is a new medium where filmmaking, animation, and videogames converge. Students created collaboratively characters and stories, wrote scenarios using a wiki and then produced machinima films. This chapter will present concrete course projects. Based on current research on new media literacies, we propose that the creation of machinima films by students-prosumers is a form of participatory culture and an excellent way to develop new media skills.
Anne Grüne and Kai Hafez
The article revisits classical debates about the positive and negative relation of popular culture and socio-political developments with regard to the Arab world. Within the Frankfurt School and modern Cultural Studies at times contradictory approaches to the role of entertainment in political culture are being debated. In Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies rather positive readings of entertainments’ political potential seem to prevail. During the “Arab Spring” the impact of participatory values promoted by both popular culture and the new social media (“entertainment is political”) appeared to be actually tangible. The article discusses the dynamic relation of entertainment television and individualization on a theoretical and empirical level. On the basis of a large body of follow-up discourses of media reception (group discussions) with young Egyptians during the time of the “Arab Spring,” we ask whether contemporary television shows promote both individualization on a cognitive, affective and practical level of experience as well as the appreciation of individualization as a social value. We argue that popular culture reveals tendencies of differentiation and modernization in Arab societies, which are all too often described as “collectivistic.” The case study shows that critical faculty, media literacy and the appreciation of individual articulation can be triggered by entertainment. Moments of “ironic pleasure” and transitions of simulated empathy and stimulated action are discussed.
Can Critical Media Literacy Save Us?
Christian Z. Goering and P. L. Thomas
misinformation campaigns. While media literacy and critical media literacy are ideas we’ve both interacted with leading up to this point, including using activities in teaching K-12 students and in methods of teaching courses we’ve taught at our respective universities, the need for increased attention to these
Douglas Kellner and Jeff Share
We have described the theoretical trajectories and practical applications of the knowledge, skills, and conceptual understandings that constitute critical media literacy. For over a decade, we have argued that in our digitally networked media age, “critical media literacy is not an option, it is an
A Critical Examination of Black Youth Alcohol Consumption and the Influence of Hip-hop Media
efforts to disproportionately target Black youth. This research explores the potential of hip-hop to teach alcohol-specific media literacy to youth populations. The first two sections briefly outline the alarming rates of alcohol consumption among Black youth and the historic role of hip-hop as a form of
Lives of Youth in Liquid Modern Times
Danielle T. Ligocki
This is compounded by our current liquid modern time period; a time in which everything is fluid, there are no solid bonds and people are disposable. The author shares the incredible conversations that she had with seven honest, insightful pre-teenagers to give us a deeper understanding of the ways in which just a ‘guilty pleasure’ is working to deeply impact the lives of young people.