From Media Literacy to Media Competence:
overcoming the structuralist perspective
University of Prishtina May 2012
Univ. Prof. Dr. Thomas A. Bauer
University Vienna / Austria
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MEDIA LITERACY – THE EDUCATIONAL ANSWER TO MEDIA EFFECTS
Individual-oriented Concepts:
Compensate media effects with educational counter-effects: Awareness
Approaches:
Protect and Prevent: avoid opportunities concept
Critical Content Analysis: critical distance concept
Do it yourself Experience Concept: disenchant concept
Reflect your context of life Concept: ethnomethodological concept
Society-oriented Concepts:
Make Media Literacy a Public Value
From affirmative / repressive usage of media to emancipative use of
media (H.M. Enzensberger, B. Brecht, Frankfurt School)
From socialized usage of media to social use of media (Cultural Studies
– e.g. Stuart Hall: encoding-decoding model: patterns of reading)
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MEDIA LITERACY – THE COMPETENCE CONCEPT
The didactic media education concept (following D. Baacke):
Media Competence a Case of Communication
Competence
(architecture: language- communication – media)
Media Knowledge (Understand media - Education
Media Analysis (Penetrate media - Sovereignty
Media Critics (Be aware of media - Emancipation
Media Creation (Do the media - Active Participation
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MEDIA LITERACY – THE COMPETENCE CONCEPT
The Habitus Concept of Social Competence
(following P. Bourdieu – Habitus, Social Capital, and
N. Chomsky – Generative Grammar Concept):
Ability: (technical, analytical. critical, cultural (soft) skills
Capacity: cognitive capability understanding complexity:
Knowledge
Motivation : intrinsic interest in realizing the eventual,
social and cultural environment: creation motifs
Responsibility: the individual and the society are facing the
charge of quality and culture of societal communication
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MEDIA UNDER THEORETICAL CONSIDERATION: GRADES OF
MEDIA COMPLEXITY
HIGH
MEDIALITY: THE SOCIAL AGREEMENT
ON MEDIA SOCIAL PRACTICE
MEDIA SYSTEM:
SYMBOLICALLY MEDIATED INTERACTION
MEDIA ENVIRONMENT
GRADE
of
Complexity
MEDIA SYSTEM / MEDIA ORGANISATION
THE MEDIA :TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE
THE MEDIUM: APPARATIVE DEVICE
LOW
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MEDIA CULTURE – THE MEANINGFUL ENVIRONMENT FOR
MEDIA SOCIETY
In a media- and knowledge society context: Understanding the reality
needs to understand media
Understanding Media:
 In a context of social studies media is used as a term of observation:
normatively, critically, analytically
 In a context of cultural studies media is a term of contextual
description: Mediality – The Modus of Constitution of Society
 Mediality: The Cultural Environment of Social Practice
 Media Education: A Competence Motif of Self-responsible
(democratic, civil) Society
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COMMUNICATION-CULTURE-SOCIETY
SOCIABILITY
How should society
understand itself?
CONCEPT
OBSERVATION
What are the criteria of
becoming a society?
INTERPRETATION
PRACTICE
ANALYSIS
What are the
connectivities of action
organizing a society?
What are the
characteristic
phenomena?
SOCIETY
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA SOCIETY
SOCIAL- & CULTURAL SCIENCE IS
KOWLEDGE BUILDING BETWEEN SENSE AND EXPERIENCE
normative-hermeneutical approach:
Interprets the use of media as means and agency of
cognitive, affective and active participation in public
discourse and in societal conversation in order to get
connected and synchronized with different and
professionally based interpretations of events and decisions
that are publicly supposed to be meaningful for personal and
public management of life
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA SOCIETY
SOCIAL- & CULTURAL SCIENCE IS
KOWLEDGE BUILDING BETWEEN SENSE AND EXPERIENCE
critical- emancipative approach:
reflects the use of media as an open source space of taking and
giving contributions to the generalized interpretation of
experience in order to multiply your and other’s view of
world - thus becoming your own actor in constructing the
reality
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA SOCIETY
SOCIAL- & CULTURAL SCIENCE IS
KOWLEDGE BUILDING BETWEEN SENSE AND EXPERIENCE
empirical- analytical approach:
Analyses the use media observing the relation of action and
structures as a source of experience, of inspiration, of setting
agenda and as a generalized frame of reference for public
knowledge in order to get connected to the generalization of
behaviour
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA SOCIETY
SOCIAL- & CULTURAL SCIENCE IS
KOWLEDGE BUILDING BETWEEN SENSE AND EXPERIENCE
pragmatic approach:
Analyses Media in the interest of getting out how to use it as a
resource of information and what is publicly supposed to be
news in order to gain a preferred position within the social
structures of competition for (active or passive) public
attention (market)
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIALITY
SOCIAL- & CULTURAL SCIENCE IS
KOWLEDGE BUILDING BETWEEN SENSE AND EXPERIENCE
Cultural approach:
turn from structural / functional analysis to
a contextual (integrated) interpretation (Cultural Studies)
 Usage of Media as frame / reflector of people’s search for
models of styling (conceptualizing) their life according
 to stories and discourses (traditions, narrations, news)
 in order to get connected and referred to social bodies
(identity-building, community-building)
.
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA
The Cultural Studies Thesis
Communication & Culture – two sides of one coin
 Communication defines the development of culture
 Communication is the context of action, through which connections
of meaning get created and exchanged
 Culture is the connection of giving meaning to action (also to the
use of media as a way of appropriation of reality
 Culture is the societal basis for content and form of communication
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA
The Cultural Studies Thesis
 The media discourse mediates the every-day-discourse and milieudiscourses: there is no media-free existence of any discourse
 All meanings and significations we are using origin from
institutions of valuating the experiences – media mediate them in
media discourse
 Discourses are not individual creations, but socially produced. In
order to understand actual connections we re-take already learned
(culturally established) discourses
 The question is not, what is the media impact on discourses, the
question is, how discourse rules effect the use of media
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CULTURAL PERSEPCTIVES OF MEDIALITY
Media - Identity :
How to save/develop the authenticity of real self under conditions
of mediated relation?
Media - Ecology :
How to save/preserve the „nature“ of interpersonal communication
before technical alienation?
Media Competence:
How to use media as an agency of realizing individuality under
conditions of a media organized society?
Media Culture:
How does the everyday usage of media effect the culture of sociability?
Media Learning:
What attitudes are we able to develop, in order to create an societal
learning process out of it (media competence)?
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA COMPETENCE
Competence Models in general
 Competence - a normative term:
is directed to social agreements of social and individual values
 Competence - a critical term:
is directed to distinguish between systems demands and
Lebenswelt-consciousness
 Competence – a pragmatic term:
is directed to the possibility of learning and of development.
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UNDERSTANDING MEDIA COMPETENCE
Competence Models in general
MAKE YOUR LIFE MEANINGFUL AND MINDFUL PRACTICING IT IN
CONTEXT OF SOCETY -THE CONCEPT OF REFERENCE FOR MEDIA
COMPETENCE
LIFE Reality: mostly determinated by it‘s structural conditions (ressources)
Practice: mostly determinated by conditions of competence (social intelligence)
Consideration: mostly determinated by communication / relationship:
Other-related (socialisation: dependency)
Self-related (individualization: difference)
Event-related (eventuality: fatalism)
Change-related (challenge: emancipation)
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UNDERSTANDING COMPETENCE
where does the imagination come from?
Competence is not a natural quality, but is a category of the cultural
interpretation of human attitude in relation to the natural, cultural,
social, technical and symbolic environment. It says that mankind is
able and capable to organize its position in relation to the environment
in a cultural manner - thus forming personality and individuality in
order to become an identifiable part of it.
cultural-anthropological interpretation
psychological interpretation
educational interpretation
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UNDERSTANDING COMPETENCE
where does the imagination come from?
 Anthropological interpretation
The Competence term represents an anthropological
interpretation of risks and chances of surviving by means
that are only given to mankind: making decision by free
will and by reflection - using means of intelligence, notion,
cognition and consciousness. Within that tradition
competence is a dimension of human performance of life
that has to be supposed to be anyone’s own. Competence
values in that frame above all others is: advantage privilege
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UNDERSTANDING COMPETENCE
where does the imagination come from?
 Psychological interpretation:
 Competence of personal life depends to certain extent from
different pre-conditions of socialisation: family structure,
personality structure, culture of relationship. Media
Competence is not a special competence, but more the
reflection of understanding one’s personal life styling
under socio-cultural frame conditions: The social climate.
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Understanding Competence
where does the concept come from?
 Psychological interpretation:
 Values of Competence within psychological interpretation are:
authenticity, open mindedness, distinctiveness, reflexivity, critical
distance against yourself and critical closeness o others
 Development of competence needs a socio-hygienic climate – in
individual but also in societal dimensions. Non-hygienic climates lead
to strategies of simulation and compensative inscenation of performing
one’s own life or the life of the society/community/organization.
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UNDERSTANDING COMPETENCE
where does the imagination come from?
 Educational interpretation:
Competence always has been a goal for education and
pedagogy insofar educational and learning programs aims
to bring young people to the state of ability, capacity and
responsibility in all socially relevant fields of behaviour.
Education works theoretically and practically in the
direction of an idealtypical assumption of an individual
and tries to challenge the learning capacity of individuals
according to a system of socialisation.
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UNDERSTANDING COMPETENCE
problems behind these interpretations
 Models of identity are not sacrosanct and could change (cf:
J.Habermas)
 Models of social order are constructions and could be
deconstructed (cf: M. Foucault)
 Models of education of intelligence are often focused on
cognitive capacities (cf: J. Piaget)
 Models of socialisation are often too mechanistic: To compensate
the dilemmata of the society on shoulders of individuals of the
upcoming generation might be a cynical way to demand
competence from youngsters within a social environment with
weak competence culture.
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UN DERSTANDING COMPETENCE
MEDIA COMPETENCE AS A CULTURAL CAPITAL
 The Media environment is a complex environment:
 technical, cultural, political, social, behavioural and economic
structures are mixed and organized to a system for its own quality.
 Living with and in media environment challenges skills of distinction,
of differentiation and of decision of individuals insofar the media
system represents and mediates other environments: public spheres,
politics, education, art, religion and church-life, scenes of diverse
communities, fiction, faction, entertainment, conversation, discourse
and discussion, advertisement and models of personal life styling.
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UNDERSTANDING COMPETENCE
MEDIA COMPETENCE IS INDIVIDUAL GOOD
The term of competence includes aspects:
 Ability (to know what operations and how to do them in case
of – skills)
 Capacity (to have the cognitive, affective and active means and
preparedness: skills)
 Responsibility (to be conscious of what it means for oneself
and/or for others: consequences and possible effects
 Morality (to be aware of the implicated values when making
personal decisions)
 In media knowledge, media participation and media usage
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