Handbook on Media Education Research

The Media Education Research (MER) section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites proposals for chapters in the Handbook on Media Education Research edited by Divina Frau-Meigs, Sirkku Kotilainen, Manisha Pathak-Shelat together with Michael Hoechsmann and Stuart R. Poyntz as section editors.

The aim of this Handbook is to take stock of media education research over 35 years after the Grunwald Declaration, at a time when media education has become a global phenomenon. Since Grunwald, media education has emerged as a complex field of practices that operate across a range of school and non-school settings. Over nearly four decades, new concepts and theories have been applied to the field – partially as the result of a radical transformation in media technologies, aesthetic forms, ownership models, and practices of audience participation – but also due to shifts in media education as it has developed as a field and spread around the world.

While debates about the rationale and strategies of media education are fraught, the scope of the field has undergone significant change, as multiple and varied new literacies (i.e., media and information literacy (MIL), digital literacy, visual literacy, transmedia literacy, etc.), practices, technologies and institutions have become linked to the project. These enriched debates are, on the one hand, the result of shifts in thinking within academic disciplines, especially as media production and consumption have radically changed, and on the other, the result of the emergence of non-traditional and non-Western actors within the field.

Taking stock of the field is both a rigorous process of synthesis and review as well as a pedagogical exercise, particularly for that part of the readership that is relatively new to media education. Media offer rich pedagogical tools to engage with public culture, develop tableaux of critiques to challenge power hierarchies, and/or infuse interpretive frames with new meanings. We envision a dynamic handbook that presents a vision of media education for the contemporary period that is historically informed, future oriented, conceptually based and culturally diverse.

The Handbook will examine the emergence of media education research as a historical, epistemological and practical field of study and action, and situate it contextually in relation to related scholarship, public policy, formal and non-formal teaching and learning, and DIY and community practice. The Handbook will explore innovations in the field together with the ways media education research has engaged with scholarly and activist traditions in media studies, education, sociology, childhood studies, library sciences, politics and social movement studies. We encourage media education scholars and activists across the globe to submit chapter proposals on topics related (but not limited) to one of the following five sections:

1. Media Education Histories

2. Global Media Cultures and Young People’s Everyday Life

3. Media Education, Institutions, and Policy Developments

4. Teaching and Learning in/and Media Education

5. Citizenship, Communities and Ethics


Part 1: Media Education Histories

Section Editor: Michael Hoechsmann

This section will examine perspectives on the history of media education and the formation of the field, including research on the emergence of media education, information literacy, and formative research on children and youth media. We welcome submissions that trace how local histories have impacted media education around the world, the shift from media education practice to media education research, changing epistemologies and ontological conditions associated with new and multi-literacies, the relationship of digital literacies to Media and Information Literacies, the place of educomunicacion in the field, and the centrality of problematics related to representation and participation in media education research. We are particularly interested in submissions that are historically informed and future oriented.

Part 2 : Global Media Cultures and Young People’s Everyday Life

Section Editor: Stuart R. Poyntz

This section will address research on children and youth media cultures, including the way such cultures have been recast in recent years by the forces of globalization, technology change, commodification, surveillance and participation. We are interested in work that addresses issues of identity and individuation, private and public life, sexuality and sexualization of children’s and youth cultures, youth citizenship and activism and the emergence of new collectivities from within the context of young people’s everyday lives. Globally converged media and technology spheres are now an integral part of the everyday lives of children and youth. We welcome work that examines such spheres including changing conceptual frameworks, methodological perspectives and comparative analysis of how local and regional practices are responding to the global media forces operating in children’s and youth’s lives.

Part 3: Media Education, Institutions, and Policy Developments

Section Editor: Divina Frau-Meigs

Media education has a broad and lengthy enough uptake that it is embedded in institutional frameworks and local, national and international policy. The goal of this section is to present research that acknowledges and problematizes media education in its official manifestations as an institutional and policy construct at the level of associations, regulations and policies, as well as in its informal contexts of communities and grassroots educational and political projects. Some of the perspectives taken up in this section will be locally situated and others, relating for example to UNESCO’s Media and Information Literacy initiatives or the European Union’s efforts around setting a common agenda, will be international and intra-national. Questions that may emerge in this section include: contemporary efforts to regulate media regarding privacy concerns and other matters; productive partnerships with civil society or non-profit intra-national organizations and campaigns; media literacy’s role in community development and sustainability in the global South and North; the growing role of media regulation authorities in this field, the role of media corporations in auto-regulation and promoting national and international policy development; the role of media education and MIL as official curriculum in specific sites; the impact on media education and MIL when it moves in to official status (does it lose an edge); etc.

Part 4: Teaching and Learning in/and Media Education

Section Editor: Manisha Pathak-Shelat

The focus of this section is to identify and demonstrate the various strategies, techniques, and learning contexts used by scholars in the field of media education research to develop media into a site for both instruction/learning and criticism. We invite proposals delineating new pedagogical interventions in and through media technologies which encourage individuals to enhance their learning in various aspects of life. We also welcome proposals examining forms of engagement practices in a digital world and strategies to enhance the competencies required to interpret and utilize the affordances of new media platforms. These studies must be conceptualized such that they provide fresh ways of looking at the role of media as a site of pedagogy in an increasingly globalized world connected through digital networks.

How have pedagogies, teaching practices, and transformative learning been developed in media education research? What types of pedagogies are mobilized in formal and non-formal learning contexts? What is the role of play, simulation, and innovation in media education pedagogies and practices? What sorts of competences are expected of 21st century learners? How do core competencies enhance or diminish educational outcomes? What sort of learning and autodidactism is present in everyday life? Are curriculum development and assessment keeping up with technological change? What sort of differences emerge when this is looked at from a global perspective?

Part 5: Citizenship, Communities and Ethics.

Section Editor: Sirkku Kotilainen

The fifth section will explore networked publics, social networking and online space: the shifting space of media education in a digitized world from an everyday life perspective. We invite critical research on the ways in which media participation has been frames, for example, risk prevention and conflict resolution, cyberbullying, surveillance, and online safety. More broadly, this section is about rethinking citizenship, community and ethical practice in our research: how is connectivity, identity and creativity shifting in an algorithm-driven Internet? Is the space for Internet activism diminishing or transforming in to new forms (clicktivism and hashtag politics)? How are new forms of online participation – such as memes, gifs and games – re-framing participation and audience? How are media corporations impacting public discourse and shaping the public sphere?