Bridging ecojustice and media education

Review: The Media Ecosystem: What Ecology Can Teach Us about Responsible Media Practice

by Ju-Pong Lin, Journal of Media Literacy Education, Vol. 6 (2014)

Throughout its relatively young history, media literacy practitioners have asserted the importance of critical engagement with the media. Practitioners have argued that full participation in democratic citizenship necessitates a citizenry capable of critically “reading” and deconstructing media texts. At the same time, differences in the approach to media pedagogy have divided the field, separating those who emphasize textual analysis from those who privilege analyses of institutional, social and political power (Lewis and Jhally 1998). More recently, Kellner and Share (2005) differentiate between the traditionalist “protectionist” model, that saw media primarily as potentially damaging, from the media literacy movement that seeks to teach skills of analysis and decoding. They also describe “media arts” and “critical media literacy” models, both of which emphasize the expressive potential of media.

With The Media Ecosystem, Antonio López extends the debate further, proposing a new vision of media education grounded in ecological consciousness. He borrows ideas from ecology and systems thinking, and foregrounds an ethics of collectivity, empathy and democracy. Steeped in metaphors of gardening, permaculture, and cultural commons, he elaborates a media practice that expresses a “green cultural citizenship” and calls for media educators to join in enlivening a media ecosystem.

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