Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Establishing a middle ground for public and community broadcasting in Indonesia: An action research project

by

EFFENDI GAZALI, LEEN D’HAENENS, VICTOR MENAYANG, and DEDY NUR HIDAYAT


Abstract
The Reform movement that ended Suharto’s 32 years of authoritarian rule brought significant changes to Indonesia. It liberated the media, the market, and civil society from State repression. But at the same time, the end of authoritarian rule brought about a vast shift to a libertarian market orientation, especially in the field of mass media. Against this background, a consortium of NGOs, academics in the field of communication and politicians have been trying to establish a ‘middle ground’ for discussions and legal implementation of public and community broadcasting in Indonesia. This paper discusses the outcomes of focus group discussions held in an effort to establish a platform for decentralization of broadcasting in Indonesia. These groups consisted of local people and spokespersons of constituent groups in ten provinces throughout Indonesia. The public hearings showed how constituent groups in society can and should be involved in media policy negotiations which so far predominantly took place at the national level only.

Keywords: Public broadcasting, community broadcasting, Indonesia, action research.

Situation in Indonesia
There is little doubt that the media system during the New Order regime was authoritarian. The Suharto regime put into place a systematic and comprehensive strategy to ensure that the mass media functioned as control instruments of power. Hidayat et al. (2000: 6) summarize the main ingredients of Suharto approach as follows:

1. Preventive and corrective control of the ownership of the media institutions,through the issuance of licenses mainly on the basis of political criteria;

2. Control of individual and professional practitioners (journalists) through selection and regulation mechanisms, such as the requirement for journalists to join the one and only journalist organization allowed at the time, the obligation for chief editors to attend courses
on state ideology (Pancasila or ‘Five Pillars’), which is in fact a kind of indoctrination process;

3. Control of the appointment of individuals on certain positions in government- owned media;

4. Control of news texts (both content and format) through various mechanisms;

5. Control of resources, for example, through a monopoly on paper distribution;

6. Control of access to the press, for example, by forbidding press coverage of opposition leaders.

This strategy effectively turned the Indonesian media system into a system that was centralistic, based on cronyism, and directed from Jakarta. The implementation of the strategy was more apparent in the TV broadcasting scene through the domination of Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI), established in 1962 as the only TV station until 1987 and run by the government under the Ministry of Information. Afterwards, television licenses were issued only to the presidential family known as the Cendana family and its political and business cronies.
In 1987 Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI) became the first commercial TV station to be allowed to operate in Indonesia, 25 years after TVRI started its operation. The station could only freely broadcast (without a decoder) in 1989. Suharto’s son, Bambang Trihatmodjo, was the president of RCTI as well as the chair of its board of directors.
Bambang’s company, Bimantara Citra, also held the majority of the shares followed by Rajawali Wirabhakti Utama, a company led by Peter Sondakh, a close friend of Bambang. By the end of 1989, the second commercial station, Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV) was licensed to go on the air. Infact, SCTV went on the air in 1990. SCTV used to be regarded as RCTI’s little sibling, although it is now independent. SCTV was in the hands of Sudwikatmono, Suharto’s stepbrother, and businessman Henri Pribadi.

In August 1990, a third commercial station was granted a license. Since there were already two generalist commercial stations, this third one was allowed only because it focused on education. Indonesian Educational TV (Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia or TPI) was in the hands of Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, Suharto’s eldest daughter. TPI was to become just another commercial station except for a few instructional educational programs (based on text books) during the morning hours.

In January 1993, the fourth commercial station, Cakrawala Andalas Televisi (ANteve) was granted a license by the Ministry of Information. ANteve was in the hands of the Bakrie Brothers group belonging to one of the most important entrepreneurial families in Indonesia and Agung Laksono, the then head of the central committee board of the ruling party, Golongan Karya. Indonesia’s fifth commercial broadcaster and the last one during the Suharto era was Indosiar Visual Mandiri (IVM).
As early as 1991, IVM was granted a license, but it was not until January 1995 that the station went on the air. IVM was in the hands of the Salim group, one of the biggest and most powerful conglomerates in Indonesia led by Lim Sioe Liong, a close friend of Suharto (for a more detailed account of the original set of TV stations in Indonesia, see d’Haenens et al., 1999: 127152 and d’Haenens et al., 2000: 197232).

While the process of selecting these license holders was far from being transparent, the procedure for granting commercial licenses itself was interesting for at least four reasons. Firstly, the policy of opening up to commercial stations could be seen as a response calculated by the government to the ever-increasing pressure from transnational broadcasting.
In light of the ‘open-sky’ policy put in place by the Ministry of Information since 1984, the Indonesian government had bought into the idea that its best defenseagainst transnational television was to improve the competitiveness of domestic television industries (Chan and Ma,1996: 48). Secondly, among the five original commercial TV stations,two were based outside Jakarta. SCTV was broadcasting in Surabaya,the capital city of East Java and ANTeve was located in Lampung, Sumatra.

In fact, they were forced to relocate to Jakarta within the second or third operational year, the main reason being that the advertisers were mostly concentrated in Jakarta. Thirdly, even in the beginning of its operational years, ANteve rebroadcast 6.5 hours of MTV programs every day. This was of course in violation of the government strategy of granting domestic commercial licenses that considered the production of national programs as a defense against international broadcasters. And finally, IVM-the station that later became one of the strongest TV players in the TV industry seen as a model of efficiency by other stations chose to follow Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), Hongkong, as its model of efficient programming and production. IVM even contracted some professionals from TVB when it was establishing its facilities and infrastructure. This outsourcing to TVB only ended when other media reported and raised the issue of hiring (too) many foreign employees.

After the fall of Suharto, President Habibie appointed Mohammad Yunus Yosfiah as the Minister of Information. For the first time the ministry conducted a bidding contest to obtain licenses for commercial TV broadcasting. Ten corporations submitted applications to the five available national licenses. Based on the licenses issued on 25 October 1999, the winning stations were the following: PT Transformasi Televisi Indonesia (operating Trans TV), PT Metro Televisi Indonesia (Metro TV), PT Pasar Raya TV (Lativi), PT Dipa Visi Nusantara, and PT Global TV (Global TV). All these new stations had to start their activities at least two years after their license was issued.

Again, there were a few things worth noticing in this licensing process. Firstly, the lack of transparency was immediately criticized by the other applicants. Secondly, the license could be transferred to other corporations even though the latter was granted on the explicit condition that certain people would run the station. In this case, PT Dipa Visi Nusantara transferred its license to the Kompas Group that would later operate TV 7. And lastly, just like the previous five TV licensees, the new five Jakarta-based stations all held a national broadcasting license. The liquidation of the Ministry of Information by President Abdurrahman Wahid on 27 October 1999 put the broadcasting industry in a legal vacuum. No longer was there an executor of the effective Broadcasting Laws 24 of 1997. The state broadcasting enterprises, TVRI and Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI), were specifically affected by the eradication of this Ministry since they were structurally dependent on the Ministry of Information. In 2000, both TVRI and RRI were transformed into public broadcasting organizations through Government Regulations 36 (for TVRI) and 37 (for RRI).

The radio landscape has always been different from the television industry in Indonesia. RRI was established on 11 September 1945 and already since 1968 commercial radio stations were allowed in Jakarta. Moreover, while the commercial TV stations were all based in Jakarta until 2001, local commercial radio stations had been blooming in many cities and regions since 1970. Both commercial TV and radio stations, however, shared the obligation to relay the main news programs of their state counterparts. Commercial stations were not allowed to produce their own news programming and had to resort to package news items into something like features or soft news (see also Hidayat et al., 2000: 165-203).

While the TV stations were obliged to relay two news programs of TVRI, the situation was worse for radio stations because they had to relay RRI news up to 18 times a day. The relay obligation for TV was cancelled in 1997, the one for radio was lifted in 1998.In 1999 the regional autonomy law (No. 22, 1999) was issued. This opened up opportunities for the development of local TV and radio stations. According to this law, regional governments are authorized to allocate radio frequencies. However, this is in conflict with another law about telecommunications stipulating that the authority to allocate frequencies lies solely with the Ministry of lecommunications. Despite the legal ambiguity, a few local TV and radio stations were established early, riding on the liberal spirit of the Reform Movement. It was interesting that the operators/owners of these new stations were unclear about the nature of their activity, whether it was commercial, public, or a community broadcasting institution. These three categories were later adopted officially as categories of broadcasting in the Broadcasting Bill proposed by the legislative body (Gazali 2002a: 2324). In its response on May 2001, the executive government rejected some core concepts within the proposed draft. One of the most absurd arguments put forward by the government was the rejection of the term ‘broadcast institution’ claiming it to sound too state-like and proposing the use of the term ‘broadcast
operators’ instead. A more significant issue was the government’s refusal of the existence of public broadcasting and community broadcasting. It recognized only state broadcasting operator versus private broadcasting operators. Apparently, the executive government failed to see that their concepts only dealt with the owner or founder of stations and did not address the characteristics of broadcasting. The latter can only be captured by the terms commercial, public, and/or community broadcasting.

Some of the most recent developments mentioned related to the broadcasting world and civil society in Indonesia should also be considered. Firstly, the amendment to the 1945 Constitution has been seen by media people as conducive to the existence of local radio and TV stations
(see, for example, Suryokusumo in Gazali 2002a: 133-134). Specifically, the amendment to Article 28 that led to Article 28F states: “Everyone has the right to communicate and to obtain information to improve one’s welfare and that of the social environment, as well as the right to
seek, to obtain, to own, to store, to process, and to convey information using any available channel”. Article 28I states: “The cultural identity and the rights of the indigenous people should be respected in accordance with the advancement of civilization.” Secondly, the confusion about who has the authority to allocate frequencies in the region has led to the shut down of two local TV stations. In addition, one transmitter of J-TV (the station belonged to the big newspaper chain, the Jawa Pos group) in Surabaya was seized. The new local radios are facing similar problems. In East Java, there are raids on these radio stations conducted by special telecommunications police forces supported by the provincial branch of the Association of Private Commercial Radio Stations (PRSSNI).

In short, the television landscape in Indonesia has never allowed an opportunity for the development of local television. The main reason for this is that the Broadcasting Law has never granted legal status to local television. Worse even, community and public television have never really been conceived as an alternative to the state and commercial television. In the case of radio, although local commercial radio has long existed, other forms of radio have not been fully explored by the local communities. However, Indonesia is now more than ever in a specific historical transition, offering new opportunities for public and community TV and radio stations. Hidayat (in Gazali, 2002a: 418) argued that in the Indonesian context at least three reasons can be considered for why it is not desirable to let the shift in broadcasting - from a government propaganda instrument to a system controlled by the market only take place.

Firstly, the logic of capital accumulation will dominate in determining what and whom should be excluded from the broadcasting context. Issues to be addressed will eventually be determined by the extent to which they do not interfere with the interest of capital expansion. Moreover,
the broadcast should implicitly convey the ideological values that portray competition and the unlimited rights to capital accumulation as natural and normal. In such a context, local traditional arts can easily be considered secondary to the popular art forms that are fostered by the market. Secondly, the principle of capital accumulation will eventually increase the cost of broadcasting making it only accessible to certain groups and individuals. This would almost certainly lead to the exclusion of issues of interest to those without access to the use of broadcasting media. Thirdly, the principles and logic of the market will exclude broadcasting
institutions that do not comply with the pressure from advertisers. Alternative media that voice out public interests or position themselves as fora for public dialogue without taking into account ‘consumer taste’ would have a very low survival rate. A potentially negative effect of the market concentration is the homogenization of media content. In the end, this would resemble the state repression of the New Order regime when -- through what was called national culture -- the
definition of social reality from the government was the only valid and logical one (see, among others, Sen and Hill, 1990).

Based on these assumptions, we argue that public and community broadcasting is a necessary alternative. However, only when the system sufficiently recognizes the supervisory and evaluative role of the public on broadcasting can public and community broadcasting become an effective alternative (Gazali, 2002a: 52-56). Without such evaluation and supervision, this so-called alternative would only be another false choice, and public and community broadcasting institutions would turn into paternalistic bodies pretending to know what is good for the public and thus exclusively decide on what should be broadcast and what not (d’Haenens and Saeys, 2001: 120).

Research problem
Against this background, a team of researchers of public and community broadcasting of the University of Indonesia aimed at studying the broadcasting situation and finding alternative solutions to the above-mentioned broadcasting problems. In an effort to guide its activities, the team asked the following questions:

1. What is the basic comprehension of the public broadcasting concept; what are the taken-for-granted assumptions about broadcasting and public broadcasting, and positioning of TVRI and RRI among the local key representatives?
2. After being introduced to concrete public broadcasting experiences in other societies, how does a wider audience comprising of local broadcasters and stakeholders clarify their perceptions of and felt needs about local public and community broadcasting?
3. How do local audiences see the need to maintain regional and local identities and cultures using the public and/or community broadcasting as the main forum, and how do they position the maintenance of regional and local identities in the context of national and global
programming?
4. What would be the fora to sustain the discourses developed during the introduction of the public and community broadcasting concepts in order to ensure that community intervention into broadcasting can effectively be implemented as envisioned by the locals?

Method
This research is qualitative in that it relies mostly on observation and records of statements made in private and public meetings as well as in personal interviews. Short questionnaires were used in an effort to gauge the opinion of the larger public. In general, the research was meant as a combination of research and advocacy. The paradigm used was ‘working with the people’, as opposed to ‘working for the people,’ upon which the researchers from the outset have based their work on people participation in decision-making, in implementation, in sharing the benefits, and in evaluation (Cohen and Uphoff, 1980). It will then have to consider the implications of the development of people’s capacity, equity, empowerment, and interdependence (Byrant and White, 1982: 15).
The team of the University of Indonesia started out with a set of preliminary ‘pre-assessment’ activities in ten cities in Indonesia, aimed at identifying basic comprehension of public broadcasting concepts, taken-for-granted assumptions about broadcasting and public roadcasting, and positioning of TVRI and RRI. At this stage, the researchers primarily interviewed key local leaders. The selection of the ten cities was done purposively with the plan of using each city as a hub where relevant parties from the surrounding areas would gather. Covering the whole span of Indonesia, the cities are: Medan, Padang, Bandung, Yogyakarta,
Surabaya, Denpasar, Samarinda, Makassar, Manado, and Jayapura.
It was worth noting that the participating communities can refer to the city community, the provincial community, or even to the regional communities.

The pre-assessments were conducted between July 2000 and January 20011. The researchers met with representatives of the local communities,including NGO activists, academics, TVRI and RRI professionals, and commercial radio makers, regional government representatives, regional legislative members, social leaders, artists and cultural observers, religious eaders, business leaders, advertisers, and local media people. During this first phase, the pre-assessment rounds, the researchers briefed the stakeholder representatives on issues relevant for public and local broadcasting. At this point, ideal characteristics of public and community
broadcasting were offered and discussed, including: (1) mass media allowing public supervision and evaluation of programming; (2) mass media offering wider access to local people; (3) media offering wider and deeper coverage of relevant, local issues and problems; (4) media emphasizing more local arts and culture; (5) media that, while focusing on localities, also convey a shared interest in national identities in an effort to improve the audience’s appreciation of the heterogeneity of Indonesia and at the same time to maintain national integration; and (6) media that, following examples of other countries, rely on public funding in many forms such as national budgets, regional budgets, license fees, advertisements, donations, underwritings, and others (for comparison,see Hollander et al., 2002: 7-8 and 22-23).

A series of broad public forums, in the form of seminars, were organized as a response to this demand. These seminars constituted the second phase of the research/advocacy activities. The seminars were conducted in the same ten cities from April till August 2001. The participants came from the surrounding areas and were given an opportunity to discuss their perceptions and felt needs on local public and community broadcasting. Public broadcasting experiences in other countries, particularly the United States, Canada, and Germany, were presented.
In total, 1345 participants (NGO people, local government staff, local parliament members, scholars, students, TVRI and RRI staff, cultural observers, artists, religious leaders, media people, and businesspeople)took part in the seminars.

During the third phase, activities were facilitated to establish local groups in order to oversee public broadcasting development in each area. In the meantime, the advocacy and research team continued to hold several meetings in each city. The team also involved local stakeholders to produce radio and TV programs. A televised townhall meeting was chosen as the most plausible program to implement as a pilot project during the third phase. Collaborating with the local stakeholders,TVRI and RRI, the team managed to produce 309 local programs and to establish the first six initial local consultative forums (LCFs).

Evidence so far

Pre-assessment activities
During the pre-assessment rounds, it became clear that groups working with the locals at the grassroot level thought that a medium providing access to the common people was needed. They believed that the existing media had never been truly able to let the locals talk about their problems, in their own languages, adopting an approach relevant to them. For instance in Papua, the local NGOs and academics believed that the Jakarta- as well as the Jayapura-based mass media brought about topics that were not very helpful for the development of the community of Papua. Regarding television broadcasting, it was felt that what was shown were outsiders telling stories about themselves in the outside world. Even if these outsiders made a movie about Papua, it was usually about what they wanted to consume about Papua. This kind of program was felt entirely unsatisfactory for the people of Papua who are in need of information about, for instance, why they should plant banana trees in a certain area, how to benefit more of the banana production other than just selling bananas at a very low price, or letting them rot because the price offered at the market is too low.

The Papuan informants thought that the Papuan traditional performances on the Jakarta TV stations lacked authenticity. Furthermore, they suspected that Papuan traditional dances were only presented as background in state ceremonies to show that Papua is still part of Indonesia.
Criticisms over the dominance of programs of Javanese tradition also were voiced by artists and cultural observers in Bali andWest Sumatra.

In general, they shared the perception that these Java-based programs were causing alienation of the locals from their own culture. Artists and cultural observers in East Kalimantan and the surrounding areas complained about the lack of seriousness and professionalism of the local TVRI staff when producing cultural programs. The local TVRI often invited them only as a tokenism gesture.

Another interesting phenomenon found by the advocacy and research team was that in North Sulawesi no substantial criticism was found about the lack of traditional performance programs, although the program composition at the Manado TVRI is quite similar to that of the other local TV stations. Subsequent interviews with NGO activists, artists, cultural observers and academics reveal that, in general, the Manadonese people are much more open to innovations and popular packaging of traditional performances. In addition, some people proudly remarked that the closing dance of the popular Jakarta TVRI program ‘Dansa yo Dansa’ (Come Along, Let’s Dance) was a Manado-original Poco-poco dance. This remark was in sharp contrast to criticisms on the same show voiced by informants in the nine other cities complaining that the show imported culture unsuitable to the Indonesian cultural norms and values.

The religious leaders in all of the cities, except Manado, also voiced their concerns about the decreasing amount of religious programs on TV, such as the teaching of the Quran reading and practice in life. They addressed their demand to local TVRI, not to Jakarta TV stations,which they considered already ‘contaminated’ by transnational programs conveying overseas cultures, such as Britney Spears with her sensual attire.

Local business communities seemed to be the least enthusiastic about the idea of public broadcasting. They were of the opinion that if the prime goal is to provide more access to local common people, the media cannot survive in the long run. Some business representatives in East Java and Bali, however, still saw the potential of these local stations promoting local products. The Bali business people, for instance, hoped that when local public broadcastings reached the hotels it would promote Bali, its traditional performances, and its cultural artifacts to a wider international audience.

Summarizing, the pre-assessment phase brought about the following findings:
(1) Each stakeholder group had its own set of reasons why to think an alternative broadcasting institution is needed. One common need was to put more emphasis on local people’s aspirations;

(2) Although the informants acknowledged not to have a clearcut view of the concept of public broadcasting, they felt that the TVRI and RRI programming did not represent the principles of public broadcasting;

(3) When it came to the goal of maintaining local identities, culture, and traditional performances, they demanded a broadcasting system that would see them as active participants; they would like to see their own faces, and insisted on being portrayed as the host in their own home;

(4) Most respondents suggested that it was important to hold a followup seminar involving a much larger group of stakeholders in order to talk about public broadcasting. They also suggested that the seminar should involve experts - some referred specifically to international
experts who have acquired a great deal of experience with public broadcasting - to share information and concepts with the participants.

Seminar series
Following the recommendations of the pre-assessment rounds, the advocacy and research team then ran a series of two-day seminars in the above-mentioned ten cities. The seminars consisted of two parts: an introduction to public broadcasting concepts (by way of speakers’ presentations) and a needs assessment (involving all participants more actively). As indicated by the pre-assessment, the seminar series staged international speakers: Jim Byrd (Canada), David Brugger and Bob Ottenhoff (USA), and Eric Voght (Germany) who had been working with public radio and television broadcasting in their home countries. National and local speakers consisted of academics, NGO activists, media people, local government officials, local parliament members, and representatives of the central government (ministry of telecommunications). Only about 40 percent of national speakers came from Jakarta.The seminars involved a total of 1345 participants in ten cities. The composition of the participants was as follows: NGO people (6-25 %), local government staff (5-10 %), local parliament members (4-10 %), scholars (10-12 %), students (8-10 %), TVRI and RRI staff (14-18 %), cultural observers (10-12 %), artists (10-15 %), religious leaders (59%), media people (5-6%), business people (5-6%), others (4-5%).

They came from the 10 host cities as well as from 64 surrounding cities. Not surprisingly, various issues uncovered during the pre-assessments re-emerged as core issues in the seminar rounds. Three factors could possibly account for the consistency of issues in the two phases. First, of course, was the possible fact that the advocacy and research team managed to capture the most significant issues covering what broadcasting meant to local people during the pre-assessment round. Second, in the pre-assessment round, the team had already met with key figures who later on turned out to be the more enthusiastic participants in the seminars when reformulating their opinions and criticisms. Third, although the international speakers tried to comprehensively describe aspects of public broadcasting in their home countries, the participants seemed to be more interested in or wanted to limit the discussions to the problems of TVRI and RRI.

The local TVRI and RRI producers seemed to appreciate the opportunity to showcase their best public-oriented programming. Most thought that their programs already incorporated the principles put forward in public broadcasting arguments. Virtually all producers brought in a talk show program, a news or feature program, and/or a traditional performance. After underlining the everyday production obstacles, such as the very limited budgets, they usually tried to defend their programs as meeting the public needs.

The NGO activists and academics raised a lot of questions and criticisms towards RRI and TVRI staff. They particularly questioned the insufficient attention that TVRI and RRI had shown over the years for issues such as ethnic minorities and marginalized people. They pointed to issues such as poor people being forcefully relocated from their land and property in the name of ‘development’ or ‘public interest’, the problems of street children, the unemployed, issues that rarely make it to the TV or radio. They were also disappointed with the disappearance of
instructional programs that are felt helpful for farmers. Some NGO activists related stories about TVRI and RRI staff who only cared about how much money the NGO can contribute to the production, without any consideration whatsoever for the benefits the program can bring to the people. The academics expressed their concerns about the lack of audience research conducted by TVRI or RRI.

Representatives of local governments could not hide their ambition to ensure that the local governments regain their unlimited access to the local TVRIs and RRIs. They argued that if local stations are to be supported by local government budgets, the latter should serve the interests of the local government. Not surprisingly, the NGO people and academics rejected their idea. The international speakers explained that in some countries a TV or radio council should first be established so that all segments of stakeholders, including the local government, can have equal access to public broadcasting.

Suggestions were voiced that the local participants needed to establish a forum bringing together stakeholders to think about TVRI and RRI issues and to help find solutions to the problems. This idea to establish a stakeholders forum in an effort to rebuild local TVRIs and RRIs got support from local parliament members. Two moments of implementation were suggested: waiting for a clear, legal framework, that is, the finalization of the legislation process of the Broadcasting Bill. Some ohers, such as the legislators in North Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, Bali, East Java, and Yogyakarta, did not want to wait that long and emphasized the fact that the local legislators together with the local government have the right to establish such a forum on the basis of the local autonomy Establishing a middle ground for public and community broadcasting 487 law. If necessary, the forum could later be adjusted to the new Broadcasting Law.

Finally, at the end of the seminar, a plenary session brought about the results of the discussion on the needs assessment. In summary, five important points were agreed upon:
(1) The participants needed to take concrete action;
(2) The initiators of the discourse and program were expected to set up a comprehensive strategy. Only by developing a solid strategy could one move forward quickly in order to seize the opportunity and maintain the momentum;
(3) Overall, it should be clearly stated which stakeholders can interactharmoniously with TVRI and RRI, within which kinds of networks local groups are allowed to interact, and through which coordination mechanisms;
(4) Immediate steps should include development of programs involving various stakeholders; the broadcast townhall meeting is one of the most plausible programs to implement as a pilot project;
(5) The development and publication of a guidance book for public and community broadcasting, compiling experiences from other countries, the Indonesian experience, and the concepts and ideas developed during the seminars, was felt an urgent necessity.

When formulating these recommendations, some suggestions were made on the term to be used for the stakeholders’ forum. One widely preferred term is LCF (Local onsultative Forum).

Local consultative forums and local programs

After the seminar series, the advocacy and research team kept arranging meetings among the local representatives. So far 36 discussions have been held with the stakeholders of public and community broadcasting in ten cities.

Besides the meetings, the team also facilitated the production of TV and radio programs involving local constituents as recommended in the workshops. Due to the limited funding, not all programs jointly produced by the local TVRI and RRI with the initial LCFs can follow the town hall meeting format. A substantial portion of the joint production costs were made available by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) disbursed through IFES (International Foundation for Election System). At times, in a few regions, some additional funds were made available from other NGOs involved in LCF, especially when the topic of the program usually a talk show was closely related to the field of activities of those NGOs. Of the 309 programs aired on TVRI and RRI since November 2001 to September 2002, only 30 per cent was produced in the townhall meeting version. Here, by the
townhall meeting format we refer to the following characteristics:(1) Dialogue involving representatives of stakeholders in that area (any combination of NGO activists, academics, TVRI and RRI staff members, local government officials, local parliament members, business people, artists, cultural observers, etc.);

(2) In addition to the stakeholders, 30 to 50 residents with various backgrounds
are to be invited to the studio; during the show they are encouraged to be active participants, giving comments, criticisms,suggestions, etc.;

(3) The show was broadcast live and open to call-ins. Another format for the joint productions between LCF and local TVRI and RRI is the interactive dialogue. Usually there was no audience in the studio except the speakers and moderator who would hold a discussion on a certain topic which took up one fourth of the total time, while the rest was open to audience participation through call-ins.

Along with the joint production activities, some initial LCFs became more solid. Six of them are already officially launched, for example, the Yogyakarta Society for Public Broadcasting (Yogyakarta), the East Java Forum for Public Broadcasting (Surabaya), the Media Forum for Brotherhood (Manado), the Makassar Local Consultative Forum (Makassar), the Bali Television Society (Denpasar), and ‘Balarea’ in Bandung (‘Balarea’ also means brotherhood or togetherness). Beyond the ten original cities, some are attempting to establish their own LCF, including Banjarmasin,Mataram, Banten, and Banda Aceh. In general, whether an LCF in a city makes progress depends on: (1) the creativity of the LCF members in that area; (2) the cooperativeness and creativity of the manager and staff of TVRI and RRI; (3) the strength of support from local parliament members and local government staff: (4) the funding from external relevant donors to bear the joint production costs.

Local RRI staff members have become more and more cooperative. They have also been flexible in the discussion about the joint production costs. It is now clear that from its board of directors in Jakarta to the 52 branch-heads across Indonesia, the management of RRI have already agreed that RRI can no longer keep a paternalistic attitude. At the end of 2002, RRI conducted its first national audience research, which was designed especially to address the characters and performance indicators of a public radio.

Local TVRI managers in Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Manado, Papua, Samarinda,Denpasar, Makassar, and Medan were among the few who were open to dialogue with LCFs. They were, to a certain extent, willing to develop joint programs with the LCFs and understand that the joint production costs should be covered together. In the other cities, the LCFs tended to see the TVRI high-ranking officials as not being cooperative or even holding on to a paternalistic attitude.

With the contribution of no less than 153 LCF members, the Communication Department, University of Indonesia, published the first guidance book on public and community broadcasting. Copies of the book have been distributed to all the members of the parliament commission and the special committee dealing with broadcasting. The ideas and models of public and community broadcasting and the constituents to support them are in place. However, the LCFs are still in an embryonic phase. Lots of backstopping is still needed to make them self-sustainable.

What Further?
This kind of action research becomes significant in the context of broadcasting in Indonesia because it combines research and advocacy. It demonstrates that the paradigm of working with the people can successfully change the societal hierarchy of issues. This research and advocacy have been developed through listening to the local voices. Starting from the pre-assessment rounds, the needs assessment workshops, the local production and the evaluation, the locals always take the lead with the researchers providing active facilitation.

In general, local representatives in Indonesia wholeheartedly welcomed the discourse on public broadcasting although the motives varied from group to group. There were two main reasons why the support for public broadcasting was rather strong. Firstly, they needed a broadcasting medium accessible to many people and, more importantly, one that could be used to express opinions, needs, and preferences of the common people. The emphasis is on the goal to turn public broadcasting into a forum to accelerate the process of democratization in Indonesia. Secondly, in the context of presenting identities, traditional arts, and local cultures the local epresentatives expressed that active participation of the local public is a prerequisite. The demand is apparently based on the assumption that only people living in the local tradition and culture can appropriately and accurately reproduce the traditional arts and other cultural artifacts on the media.

As a concrete follow-up, the various stakeholders in the local public expressed the need for a forum allowing them to be actively involved in 490 Gazali, d’Haenens, Hollander,Menayang, Nur Hidayat establishing public and community broadcasting in their area. This forum will become the channel for the local community to work with RRI and TVRI to ensure that these stations serve the interests of the local public. Only through such forums can the local stakeholders provide a rationale that TVRI and RRI are public broadcasting with programming that suits the needs and preferences of the local public and thus deserves public funding. There is no doubt that to most people RRI and TVRI are the logical choice to initiate public broadcasting.

However, there is no guarantee that locals will always support these two former state broadcasting institutions to serve their needs because they already forewarn that new institutions will be established to replace RRI and TVRI locally should they not perform satisfactorily on the public broadcasting indicators.

So far, the forums that turned into LCFs (Local Consultative Forums)have established excellent working relations with virtually all RRI stations in their respective regions but they only succeeded in a few TVRI stations. Therefore many local representatives hold the perception that RRI no longer adopts a paternalistic attitude while TVRI seems unable to rid itself of its ‘greater than thou’ attitude.

On November 28, 2002, amid mounting pressures from commercial TV stations, the Parliament passed the Broadcasting Bill into act with a full recognition of public and community roadcasting. The details of this new Act will be developed into lower-level regulations and certainly need to be anticipated by the advocacy groups together with LCFs and local people. In line with this development, at least three factors may still hamper the continuation of an LCF. Firstly, the position of the public vis-a`-vis community and public broadcasting is unclear because the roadcasting Law does not address it in sufficient details.

Secondly, TVRI stations in many areas have not demonstrated their acceptance of the idea of a local consultative group, nor have they shown willingness to work closely with local groups in production. Thirdly, there is a lack of funding to support existing and new LCFs in their initial stage. Should the regulations and implementation of the Broadcasting Law incorporate the idea of public involvement in the broadcasting operation through a (formal) supervisory board, the LCF can still play the informal role of the ‘Friends of Community and Public Broadcasting’. The
LCF can also serve as a breeding ground for candidates for that supervisory board since participation in this board is indicative of one’s concern with and interest in public and community broadcasting. In the mean time, some LCFs have involved themselves in media literacy programs and in assessing the drafting process of the new Broadcasting Law as well as the new Election Law. In short, the LCFs have served the function of advocacy for broadcasting and democracy issues. Whether they will be useful in the long run, in terms of developing public broadcasting in Indonesia, remains to be seen. At least, they are playing a quite significant role in guiding Indonesia through this transitional phase that could easily lure the society from an authoritarian system into a marketdriven system.

In any case, according to the most recent data, there are currently at least 15 local television stations. They joined two associations: Asosiasi Televisi Publik dan Komunitas Indonesia (Indonesian Public and Community Television Association), which was established in Balikpapan, 28 April 2002 and Asosiasi Televisi Lokal (Local Television Association), which was established in Bali, 26 July 2002. Meanwhile, more than 100 community radios have been recorded and most joined the Jaringan Radio Komunitas Indonesia (Indonesian Community Radio Network) established on 15 May 2002. Prior to that, there was Jaringan Radio Komunitas Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Community Radio Network) with 52 radio members and Jaringan Radio Komunitas Jawa Barat (West Java Community Radio Network) with 23 radio members.

Note
1. These interviews, discussions, and observations were recorded by the researchers.

References
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Chan, J. M. and E. K. W. Ma (1996). Asian television: Global trends and local processes. Gazette, 58 (1), 4560.

Cohen, J. and N. T. Uphoff (1980). Participation’s place in rural development: Seeking clarity through specificity. World Development, 8 (2), 213235.

d’Haenens, L., E. Gazali, and C. Verelst (1999). Indonesian television news making before and after Suharto. Gazette, 61 (2), 127152.

d’Haenens, L., C. Verelst, and E. Gazali (2000). In search of quality measures for news programming in Indonesian television: If the program makers had their say. In D. French and M. Richards (Eds.), Television in contemporary Asia (pp. 197 232). New Delhi: Sage.

d’Haenens, L. and F. Saeys (Eds.). (2001). Western broadcasting at the dawn of the 21st century. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Gazali, E. (Ed.). (2002a). Penyiaran alternatif tapi mutlak: Sebuah acuan tentang penyiaran publik and komunitas [A necessary alternative: A guide to public and community broadcasting]. Jakarta: Jurusan Ilmu Komunikasi FISIP UI.

Hidayat, N. D., E. Gazali, H. Suwardi, and Ishadi SK (Eds.). (2000). Pers dalam Revolusi Mei: Runtuhnya sebuah hegemoni [The press during the May Revolution: The fall of a hegemony]. Jakarta: Gramedia.

Hill, D. and K. Sen (2000). Media, culture and politics in Indonesia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Hollander, E., J. Stappers, and N. Jankowski (2002). Community media and community communication. In N. W. Jankowski and O. Prehn (Eds.), Community media in the information age: Prospectives and prospects (pp. 2223). Cresskill- New Jersey: Hampton Press.

Jankowski, N. W. (2002). The conceptual contours of community media. In N. W. Jankowski and O. Prehn (Eds.), Community media in the information age: Prospectives and prospects (pp. 78). Cresskill-New Jersey: Hampton Press.

Cyborgasm:Machines and male hysteria in the cinema of the eighties

Marj Kibby
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Newcastle, vfmdk@cc.newcastle.edu.au

ABSTRACT
In the films of the eighties the figure of the cyborg combines violence and loss of self in an hysterical response to the impact of technological development and rapid social change on masculinity and patriarchy. Many of the popular films of the eighties reflect a nervousness in the face of advanced technology, depicting a contested space between the humun and the technological. An anxiety about the nature of masculinity within a technological environment combines with the fears of a patriarchy in decline in film narratives that play out the reconciliation of hegemonic masculinity and the restoration of patriarchal capitalism.

INTRODUCTION
Qualms about the changing relationship between masculinity and technology are written on the figure of the cyborg in a significant body of films from the eighties. Sobchack saw "a convergence and conflation" of the science fiction and horror film genres in the eighties, situating the phenomenon "in the context of the ambivalent horror and wonder provoked by the social upheavals of the last two decades". In discussing the narrative role of the child, Sobchack described the horror film as showing "the terror and rage of a patriarchy in decline" and the science fiction film as depicting "a regressive patriarchal quest for a lost innocence it never had" through "a reunion of patriarchy and paternity" (1986:8-28). The conjunction of the horror and sci-fi genres is evident in the `cyborg' films of the period, which enact the crisis inherent in the absence of a masculine identity and the loss of a patriarchal future.

MASCULINE IDENTITY
While a crisis around issues of gender and technology is not a recent phenomenon, it is a new or reconstituted fear that is evident in these films. From Metropolis, film makers have depicted industrialisation as a threat to individuals and society. In the eighties, however, it is not the threat that machines created for man's benefit will make him expendable, but the fear that man will be incorporated by the machine, that is the narrative focus. Jeffords suggests that the eighties proliferated an established theme "that pitted human values against the presumed non-values of technology and mechanisation" (1994:104), giving as an example Rambo's shedding of his technological accoutrements, to defeat the enemy with only his personal strength and skill, in a triumph of nature over the machine. However, alternative readings of this are available, including that Rambo's excessive body is a machine. He has become the machine, and it is the successful integration of nature and technology that is his, and masculinity's salvation. As Jeffords admits (1994:112) in RoboCop neither Alex Murphy nor RoboCop are heroic as separate entities, it is the fusion of the man and the machine that recuperates a masculine identity. In Metropolis the nightmare of rampant technology ends with the restoration of order, balance re-established. Labour and capital, feminine and masculine, technology and humanity are restored to their proper balance as the robot perishes. However, the idea of technology being basically good, but capable of being abused, or of the machine being in opposition to a better more natural way of life, has little currency in the eighties cinema. Technology is simply there, part of the home and the workplace; malfunctioning, overwhelming, conglomerating.

The Terminator forges a link between contemporary household and workplace technology that malfunctions, is misused or fails its user in some way, and the future high tech that launches a full scale revolt against humans. The nature of technology's danger to humans in the film is described as its intelligence, but it is depicted as physical violence. The Defense Network that `got smart' and saw all people as a threat, is represented by Terminators, the violent cyborg imagery asserting a phallic metaphor for technology.

As Haraway submits, technology no longer plays a dialectical role as the `other' of humanity; instead that otherness exists within the human, thereby challenging assumptions about the nature of cultural identity, especially gender and racial identities (1991:150-153). Science fiction is "no longer an elsewhere, it is an everywhere" (Baudrillard 1991:13). It exists within a dispersed and decentred social space, where previously taken for granted identity becomes fluid and unknowable. The uncertainty over the boundary between humanity and technology originates in our relationship to the new technological systems, not to traditional machines. The robot was the `other' of man. The cyborg is part man. Baudrillard asks, "Am I a man, am I a machine? In the relationship between workers and traditional machines, there is no ambiguity whatsoever. The worker is always estranged from the machine, and is therefore alienated by it. He keeps his precious quality of alienated man to himself. Whilst new technology, new images, interactive screens do not alienate me at all. With me they form an integrated circuit" (1988:14).

In Phillip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the androids are not so much not-human as in-human. Although Deckard develops a sympathy for them a number of incidents demonstrate the crucial difference between androids and humans, their inability to feel empathy. Their torture and killing of a spider, their attempts to undermine the empathetic experience of Mercerism, and Rachael's calculated seduction of Deckard, all make it clear in the novel that the androids are to be understood as inhuman. In Blade Runner, the film based on the novel, the replicants occasionally demonstrate superhuman physical capabilities, but for the most part the film plays down or blurs the distinction between the human and the replicant. The narrative suggests that technological reproducibility is a condition of the postmodern world. Rather than depicting an essential and organic human element that exists in opposition to the replicants, the narrative breaks down the opposition between the original and the copy. This is not achieved by extending `humanity' to the androids, but by revealing the distinction to be unviable. Harrison Ford plays Rick Deckard, an ex-blade runner (law enforcement officer) who reluctantly accepts an assignment to track down a group of androids, or replicants, who have mutinied on a space colony and returned to earth, looking for a way to prolong their restricted life span. Deckard's task is to uncover the replicants and then retire, or terminate them. But everything in the course of his `detection' of the androids leads to a recognition of the ephemeral nature of identity. The Tyrell Corporation's genetically engineered products are completely lifelike, down to manufactured memories of non-existent childhoods. When Tyrell is asked how Rachael can not know that she is a replicant, he answers "Commerce" and goes on "More human than human is our motto". The problem for Deckard in uncovering replicants to retire is that he cannot be certain that he himself is not a replicant. To perform his job, a role required by corporate interests, he must have the qualities that define a replicant; intelligence, physical strength, emotionless performance. Disconcerted by his increasing reluctance to be involved in killing replicants he says, "Replicants weren't supposed to have feelings. Neither were blade runners." The Voigt-Kampf Empathy Test uncovered replicants by revealing their lack of emotion. "Have you ever tried that thing on yourself?" Rachael asked Deckard, "ever retired a human by mistake?" Immediately after he explains that replicants have a special attachment to photographs because they need them to reaffirm their `memories', Deckard is shown deep in contemplation of his own family photographs. Throughout the film there is an erosion of the difference between the man and the replicant. The irony in Batty's question "Aren't you the good man?" is that first Deckard is no longer completely sure that he is a `man', and second, being a `good' man in the corporate world means being a machine. Three of the characters in the film apparently transcend their designation to discover their `true' identity the two `machines', Rachel and Roy, and the `man', Deckard. Tyrell, the manufacturer of the replicants, is killed by Roy in an act of classical Oedipal revenge. Tyrell is their symbolic father; he is the focus of their quest for immortality, and at the same time the `law' governing their lives. His death enables a humanisation of the other characters. Roy spares Deckard in a recognition of the value of life and dies himself in an acceptance of its limits his time has come. His death allows the flight of Deckard and Rachel into the actual and metaphorical sunset. While the ending can be seen as a transcendence it can also be read as a validation of the status quo. Deckard is rewarded by a capitalist system for the suppression of the workers revolt against the system. And his reward is Rachel, a `real woman' of the "basic pleasure model", submissive, sexually available. In a society that uses machines to replace, exploit or control men, anger is displaced from the social source of the frustration, onto the machine.

The hegemonic masculinity represented in the cinema of the eighties was not so much perceived masculine identity, but more an hysterical response to an apparent lack of identity. Masculinity constructed as a stable identity position necessitated a constant struggle to remain `masculine' within changing social, cultural and economic frames. The hysterical, because always impossible, struggle to recover an identity from characteristics defined only in relation to the other, is reflected in the cyborg films of the eighties. The threat to the notion of an embodied and discrete masculine identity was reflected in cinematic representations of the triumphant macho-cyborg, or the heroic man-machine.

PATRIARCHAL POWER
The end of the seventies saw rapid developments in the technologising of the workplace and a concurrent questioning of what it means to be a man in a world in which the ever-encroaching mediations of technology are inescapable. The seventies were a period of rapid change in the nature of work, as social changes introduced new groups to the workforce; economic changes spawned new industries and sent established ones into decline; and rapid technological change revolutionalised traditional competencies and de-valued age-old skills (Howard, 1985:2). Cockburn's study of compositors in the newspaper industry in London at the end of the seventies uncovers situations and concerns that could be said to be exemplary of the workplace at the time. The compositors, as a group, were skilled, well paid, and secure in their employment within a patriarchal craft culture, until the social, economic and technological upheavals of the seventies. Computerised photocomposition was introduced to replace the `hot metal' technique of preparing type for letterpress printing. As a result, jobs were lost, men were retrained for positions they saw as less manly, their place on the skilled/unskilled hierarchy became less certain, and they were working with/competing against women for the first time. Cockburn summarises, "Computerised composition has hit the compositor's craft a terrible blow, shaking the class and gender relations that have been developing over hundreds of years, throwing them into a maelstrom of confusion" (1983:216). Those who lost their jobs were defeated by a combined force of technology and women. Those who were retrained had to develop a new emasculated relationship with the machine.

Despite the confusion and contradictions engendered by technological advancements, to the extent that anyone has an interactive and influential relationship with technology, it is men. Science and technology are culturally the domain of men. Patriarchal masculinity establishes its hegemony through a physical power but also through the power of reason. Connell (1995:165) describes an historical division between forms of masculinity organised around direct domination, and forms organised around technological knowledge, suggesting that the latter have challenged the former for hegemony in advanced capitalist societies. Under late capitalism "instrumental rationality" and "technocratic consciousness" are the "quintessentially modern masculine style" (Winter and Robert, 1980:271). Patriarchal masculinity is now legitimised by the technical organisation of production, rather than imposed by physical or legal force. While technological control legitimates patriarchy, many men are left powerless under this system. The new technology has altered the familiar connection between masculinity and machinery. While the machinery of the industrial age required mastery by physical strength, the technology of the information age involves a more physically inert, passive approach. In the modern workplace the machine is master, man (or often woman) is the helper. Accompanying technological development was a loss of certainty, a collapse of fundamental beliefs, and a blurring of the boundaries through which the world was once classified. Patriarchy itself seemed under challenge in the new technological order. The patriarchal authority of the father could not be supported by an unambivalent relationship with the new technology.

THE CINEMA CYBORG
Haraway saw the promise of cyborg identity as eliminating "troubling dualisms" within the Western tradition and thereby realising a "utopian dream of the hope for a monstrous world without gender". She suggested that "cyborgs might consider more seriously the partial, fluid, sometimes aspect of sex and sexual embodiment" (1992:329). But if the fusion of the human with computer technology opens up the possibility of dispensing with the gendered body, then it was not represented as such in the cinema of the eighties. Haraway described the cyborg as "a creature of the post-gender world ... a kind of disassembled and reassembled, postmodern collective and personal self" (1991:163). It is difficult, however, to read Schwarzenegger's aggressively corporeal Terminator, or see Eve VIII (who has a nuclear bomb in place of a womb), as post-gender. The eighties cinema cyborg portrays a nostalgic struggle for gendered subjectivity, creating an alternate world that allows a reassertion of a masculinist hierarchy in the face of a feminising technology. The transgressive political project outlined in Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto is denied in a virtual celebration of an aggressive masculinity.

In describing Max Headroom, Joyrich explained, "the television cyborg achieves a kind of grace and overpresence an egoless absorption of the patterns on the screen. Thus achieving a harmony of being, ... the cyborg seems to embody an image of femininity which has also been described in terms of empathy and closeness, excess and disruption ... the television cyborg is then figured as feminised" (1989-90:15). In Cyberpunk novels, as Ross described, technologically enhanced male bodies tend to be "spare, lean and temporary" subject to frequent alteration by "boosterware, biochip wetware, cyberoptics, bioplastic circuitry ... and the like" (1991:137). Joyrich and Ross see the fusion of human and computer in television and the novel as producing an amorphous male body. However, in the cinema the combination gives birth to a masculine `body-fortress'. Instead of representing cyborgs as superior intelligences whose bodies have atrophied for want of purpose, the eighties cinema gives us man/machines whose superiority lies in their muscular bulk and their capacity for violence.

The cyborg in the eighties cinema is an invincible armoured killing machine. A crisis of unified male subjectivity is deflected onto a technofascist celebration of invulnerability. An unrealisable fantasy is made real in the cinema's invincible killing machine, the terminator who "absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead". The prosthetised body is sexualised but the sexual dynamic is displaced onto violence. The heightened physicality culminates not in sexual climax, but in climactic violence, as the ecstasy of killing substitutes for sexual gratification. The Terminator destructively penetrates people and objects with bullets and body parts. Watching Jill have sex stimulates the Mark 13 in Hardware, reactivating its program to kill indiscriminately and incessantly. RoboCop shoots a would-be rapist in the groin, between the legs of the screaming victim, the bloodied hole in her dress completing the narrative of rape. A crisis of masculine identity is written as a fusion of twin desires of death and sex, reconfigured as orgasmic loss of self.

FEMINISING TECHNOLOGY
Masculinity was under challenge in the eighties, in face of an apparently feminising technology and a perceived decline in patriarchal power. The image of the technobody was one expression of this crisis. The macho-cyborg expressed the anxieties of the dominant male culture, anxieties of a hegemonic masculinity under threat. Doane suggests that "anxiety concerning the technological is often allayed by a displacement of this anxiety onto the figure of the woman or the idea of the feminine" (1990:163). Many of the `cyborg films' of the eighties insistently maternalise the technological, either displacing the feminine in a masculine reproductive cycle; depicting the maternal as "monstrous" (Creed 1990); or enunciating a misogynist logic. If the idea of the cyborg undermines the distinctions between animal and human, organic and inorganic, and physical and non-physical (Haraway 1991:153), then Hardware reconfigures these differences so that it is Jill's body that is represented as transgressive, not the Mark 13's. It is the non-reproductive female body that denies biological distinctions. The Mark 13 repeatedly gives birth to itself, underscoring Jill's decision to only reproduce via her metal sculptures, and constructing reproduction as technological and masculine. In Eve of Destruction Eve VIII's circuitry is disturbed when she is caught in crossfire and she acts out Dr Eve Simmons' repressed fantasies of violence against men. Her program of revenge is trivialised and pathologised by the film, and the triviality and pathology is inscribed as feminine. The first thing Eve VIII does when her electronics are disrupted is go shopping, for clothes. A tracking shot through Eve VIII's internal organs reinforces the notion of monstrous female sexuality, revealing a nuclear trigger, a time bomb ticking away in the space of the womb. The Terminator dispassionately sets out to exterminate all women called Sarah Connor. When Lori reminds Quaid in Total Recall that she is his wife, he responds, "Consider this a divorce", blasting her into eternity. In Blade Runner the examiner asks, "Describe in single words only, the good things that come into your mind about your mother." "My mother?" Leon queries, "Let me tell you about my mother", and shoots the examiner dead. An anxiety concerning the technological is translated into a revenge on the feminine.

TERMINATION/RESTORATION
Although some critics have read The Terminator in terms of a feminist challenge to stereotypical representations of gender (Necakov 1987), its narrative is developed through a series of stereotypical gender representations. While "any popular action film featuring the demise of an Arnold Schwarzenegger character at the hands of a woman merits attention" (Goscilo 1987-8:37), Sarah Connor is depicted first as a targeted victim and later as a damsel in distress. Her role within the narrative is cast solely in terms of her ability to bear a male child. We know that safely delivering Jane Connor would not have made Sarah the mother of the future. Sarah functions as "a mere conduit of male power and supremacy between her son and her lover, assigned her role by their male discourse, most specifically John Connor's message from the future and Reese's directives in the present" (Goscilo 1987-8:46). John Connor is the son who arranges his own primal scene. Kyle Reese is the father of John Connor, chosen by him to fulfil that role. But there is a sense in which Reese is also the son. Sarah's affection for Reese is presented as maternal she bandages his wounds, is solicitous about his well being. He is presented as younger than her, boyish, vulnerable. He is coded as `sensitive', primarily by his own voiceover narration.

A combination of signifiers in the film (the male-male violation of Matt's post-coital death, the doubling of Reese and the Terminator, the leatherman sexuality) suggest a reading of Reese in terms of homosexuality. In answer to Sarah's questions, Reese describes his previous relationships with women in terms of their being "good fighters". Sarah's pity for his sexual inexperience too quickly heterosexualises him, or at least presses Reese into nominally heterosexual service. Reese's one experience of sex can be described as perfunctory; certainly it contains few markers of heterosexual passion. The scene is filmed in slow motion, a technique otherwise limited to filming the bloody deaths of the other Sarah Connors. The shot immediately following shows the Terminator in full leather, riding a large capacity motorcycle aggressively towards the viewer.

The contested space between the man and the machine is the battleground on which is played out the conflicts within hegemonic masculinity, in a time when "our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert" (Haraway 1992:68). The cyborg in the eighties cinema is, on one level, a symbol of misogynistic resistance to change. The super macho figure of the cyborg violently denies that there has been a feminisation of technology, a change in the nature of work, and a greater acceptance of human sexual diversity. The cyborgs perpetuate, in exaggerated form, an industrial age metaphor of physical masculinity, in a nostalgic echo of a time when masculine superiority was taken for granted, guaranteed by an alliance with empowering technology.

Although the cyborg films present a violent masculinist position, homosexual coding and strong women characters limit a single, unified interpretation of their meaning. Many of the films present conflicting tendencies resulting in a contradictory mix of profascist masculine imagery, feminist ideals and acknowledged homosexuality. The cyborg body becomes a contested site playing out a conflict between `old-style' masculinities and new ways of thinking about sexuality and gender; reconciling styles of masculinity in a restoration of patriarchy.

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Media Culture in Contemporary Society

By: Douglas Kellner

A large number of recent books recognize the ubiquity of media culture in contemporary society, the growing trends toward multicultural education, and the need for media literacy that addresses the issue of multicultural difference. These texts cumulatively suggest that media representations help construct our images and understanding of the world and that education must meet the dual challenges of teaching media literacy in a multicultural society and sensitivizing students and publics to the inequities and injustices of a society based on gender, race, and class inequalities and discriminations. Recent critical studies see the role of mainstream media in exacerbating these inequalities and the ways that media education and the production of alternative media can promote a healthy multiculturalism of diversity and more robust democracy. They thus confront some of the most serious challenges and problems that face us as educators and citizens as we move toward the twenty-first century.

Shared Differences collects a wide range of articles which discuss how to organize courses in "multicultural media and practical pedagogy," while a diverse group of books that I will review focus on the importance of developing critical media literacy in analyzing media culture and producing alternative media. The books under review thus complement each other in terms of contributing to a critical pedagogy and challenge educators to rethink their curricula and teaching strategies to meet the challenge of confronting and dissecting media culture in our increasing multicultural society, while teaching the skills that will empower citizens and students to become sensitive to the politics of representations of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and other cultural differences in media culture.

In this review, I will use Shared Differences to discuss how media of cultural representation such as film, video, photography, and multimedia can be used to promote multicultural education. I then engage a series of books that presents theoretical and practical articulation of the issues involved in developing critical media literacy. My argument is that education today needs to foster a variety of new competencies in using, analyzing, and producing media to empower students and to make education relevant to the challenges of the present and future. New technologies are altering every aspect of our society and we need to understand and make use of them both to understand and transform our world.

Shared Differences: Multicultural Education as Critical Pedagogy

Shared Differences opens with a statement by co-editor Diane Carson that a sense of urgency concerning America's increasingly multicultural society drove her and Lester Friedman to investigate how media pedagogy could help meet the challenges of multicultural education: "A teacher's inclusion of multicultural pedagogy and an active engagement with diverse ethnic, racial, and national issues is critical to America's social well-being... We must put our beliefs into practice, aware that the defining characteristics and enabling understanding of ethnic, racial, and national groups can and ought to be taught. Teachers must acknowledge uniqueness and difference as they also applaud similarity, for the strength of small communities and also society at large derives from celebrating our diversity" (ix).

Carson expands her pitch for multicultural education as a response to deal creatively with growing diversity, which facilitates "strategies for sharing, understanding, and enjoying" our proliferating cultural multiplicities and differences (x). She urges developing strategies for action, that will promote multicultural understanding, that will empower students, and that will strengthen education. Carson's and Friedman's dual project is to argue that the issues of multiculturalism are central to academic disciplines from literature to anthropology, and that media pedagogy can serve to promote the goals of multicultural education and critical media literacy. They accordingly assemble a broad array of studies by teachers who use media technology to promote multiculturalism in a number of disciplines in two and four year colleges. Each of their 14 contributors outlines course goals, discusses how they use media and media education to promote these goals, and analyzes their course experiences. Each also presents the syllabus used in the course to provide practical models of how to organize courses in multicultural education and media pedagogy.

The result is a very useful collection of models of practical criticism that will enable teachers in various fields to use media education to promote goals internal to their discipline. On the whole, the collection advances the social goals of making teachers and students sensitive to the politics of representation, to how media audiences' images of race, gender, sexuality, and cultural differences are in part generated by cultural representations, how negative stereotyping presents harmful cultural images, and the need for a diversity of representations to capture the cultural wealth of contemporary America. Teachers can gain insight into how media can serve their pedagogical goals and how they can both use media to promote multicultural education and to use this material to teach media literacy as well.

Following Carson's Preface and overview of the project, the collection opens with an essay by co-editor Lester Friedman, "Struggling for America's Soul: A Search for Some Common Ground in the Multicultural Debate." Friedman notes the current conflicts over multiculturalism in American society and the debates over multicultural education in the academic world. In this contentious and conflicted terrain, he suggests, we must seek common ground, to articulate what unites as well as divides us, and come to appreciate our commonalties as well as our differences. Indeed, the rancor in some of the education wars over curricula, pedagogy, and education in general are part and parcel of broader cultural wars between competing groups and ideologies fighting over the future of U.S. society and culture. Since educational debates are often intimately connected with political struggles, it is necessary to articulate clearly the different positions within the debates and if possible and appropriate to seek a common ground for consensus.

Indeed, I have long believed that there is no necessary conflict between traditional and multicultural education, that the education process is strengthened with the incorporation of voices, viewpoints, and perspectives excluded from traditional canons, and that multicultural curricula, deployed wisely, can improve many academic courses. Friedman attempts to articulate some principles that would enable multicultural education to enrich rather than replace the traditional curriculum and that would provide a common ground for both traditionalists and multiculturalists to rethink education. Reaching a common and higher ground in the debates over education require, in Friedman's view: acknowledging that while knowledge is constructed and transmitted from specific locations that "knowledgeable, well- trained teachers can generate discussions about cultures other than their own," (3). For Friedman this entails accepting that multicultural curricula need not "be taught only, or even primarily, to members of ethnic minorities," nor that "one monocultural approach (e.g., Eurocentrism) [be replaced] with another monocultural methodology (e.g., Afrocentrism)" (3).

If multicultural education is to promote genuine diversity and expand the curriculum, it is important both for groups excluded from mainstream education to learn about their own heritage and for dominant groups to explore the experiences and voices of minority and excluded groups. Moreover, as Friedman stresses, while it is important and useful to study cultures and voices excluded from traditional canons, dead white European male authors may have as much of importance to teach all students as excluded representatives of minority groups whom multiculturalists want, often with good reason, to include in the curriculum. Thus, Friedman convincingly argues that: "Western culture, despite its myriad faults, remains a crucial influence on American political, intellectual and social thought and, as such, should play an important role in classrooms" (3).

Indeed, few advocates of multicultural education call for jettisoning the traditional canon and altogether replacing the classics with new multicultural fare. Genuine multicultural education requires expanding, not contracting, the curricula, broadening and enriching it, not impoverishing it. It also involves, as Friedman stresses, including white ethnic groups in the multicultural spectrum and searching out those common values and ideals that cut across racial and cultural boundaries. Thus, multicultural education can both help us understand our history and culture, and can move toward producing a more diverse and inclusive democratic society.

After Friedman's opening discussion, the chapters are organized into the categories of "Multicultural Media as Tool," "Multicultural Media as Text," and "Multicultural Media as Product." This division points to how multicultural media can, first, be used to teach multiculturalism and articulate with the subject matter of many traditional disciplines. In addition, media culture can be taken as a text, as the topic of critical scrutiny and inquiry, and can thus be used to promote the pedagogical goals of developing media literacy. And, thirdly, media production can enable students to themselves become media producers, to gain intimate knowledge of how media products are constructed, and to attain the skills that will enable them to use media of communication and education to articulate their own experiences, voices, and visions.

Accordingly, the first section deals with multicultural media as a tool for teaching traditional subject matter and as providing material to highlight the theme of multicultural education. The emphasis is on using a medley of media material to present aspects and effects of the politics of representation from a variety of perspectives. Thus, an anthropologist discusses how media culture can be used to teach ethnography and cultural critique which is sensitive to cultural representation and difference (Michael M.J. Fischer); writing teachers present a course dedicated to writing about literature and various forms of popular media which helps make students aware of the forms of cultural rhetoric and difference (Margaret Himley and Delia C. Temes); an English professor (Linda Dittmar) discusses how the English curriculum can be transformed by the addition of film and media culture; a public health professor (Clarence Spigner) discusses how negative media representations can contribute to problems of health and social well-being; and historian Carlos E. Cortes discusses how media education can contribute to better historical understanding and socio-political sensitivity.

These studies provide a variety of arguments for the importance of including media texts in the curricula and how using and studying the media can advance the aims of a variety of pedagogic practices. The teaching of writing, for example, as Himley and Temes stress, is enhanced by engaging students in analyzing cultural rhetoric and difference in various domains of social discourses. Print journalism, film, television, photographic images, advertising, and political rhetoric are all forms of writing, all cultural texts that influence how we see the world, and the practice of critically dissecting these writings helps us to see how all of these cultural forms represent different modes of writing with their own biases and perspectives. Attending to the representation of difference within the broader field of society and culture can enable students to avoid manipulation by cultural rhetorics and to empower students to find their own voices within the cacophony of competing and conflicting discourses of the present age. Critically dissecting cultural materials also empowers students to reflect upon their own commonalties and differences, and to respect their differences from others, while becoming critical of those who would suppress differences or present some differences (racial, gender, class, etc.) negatively, stereotypically, and pejoratively.

The authors in Shared Differences thus present arguments legitimating the use of media materials in a number of disciplines to promote both traditional pedagogic goals (the transmission of knowledge, the cultivation of reading and writing skills, the mastering of fields and disciplines), as well as to contribute to the production of a more diverse democratic polity that appreciates and affirms differences between ethnic, racial, and cultural groups. On the other hand, many of the teachers who are using multicultural media as a tool to promote their own disciplines downplay the importance of cultivating media literacy as an important tool in developing students' critical and analytical skills. One needs to be aware that each media technology (film, video, photography, multimedia, and so on) have their own biases, their own formal codes and rules, and that the ways in which the media themselves construct and communicate meaning needs to be an explicit focus of awareness and analysis.

The essays in the second part of Shared Differences thus analyze media as texts which construct models of multicultural difference, privileging some groups, while denigrating others. Grasping the construction of difference and hierarchy in media texts requires learning how they are constructed, how they communicate, and how they influence their audiences. Textual analysis of media artifacts helps to reveal their codes and conventions, their values and ideologies, and thus their meanings and messages. Most of the teachers who do textual analysis collected in the volume highlight differences between positive and negative representations of different social and ethnic groups with criticism of stereotypical and biased representations. Some contributors focus on negative representations and stereotypes and neglect the need to teach and bring in alternative voices. For instance, Clarence Spigner suggests some of the ways that negative representations contribute to low self-esteem, feelings of inferiority, anger, and exclusion of audiences who are confronted constantly with derogatory representations of their race or ethnicity and how these contribute to mental and physical health problems. But he does not discuss how more positive representations, or cultural texts produced from the perspectives and experiences of excluded groups can contribute to public health, to empowerment of disempowered groups and individuals, and can in turn create a richer, more diverse, and healthy society.

This latter motif, however, is present in many of the articles in Part 2 which treats Multicultural Media as Text and Part 3 which presents Multicultural Media as Product. In a study of "Integrating Films by African-American Women into the Classroom," Gloria Gibson-Hudson argues for the importance of bringing to students' experience the voices of a group often excluded from dominant fields. Gibson-Hudson opens her article by quoting Pearl Bowser who notes: "A cursory look at the image of black women in American movies conjures up a host of stereotypes" (127). She then cites Alile Sharon Larkin who states: "We [black women filmmakers] hope that with our films we can create a new world, by speaking in our voice and defining ourselves. We hope to do this, one film at a time ... to change minds, widen perspectives and destroy the fear of difference" (127). These passages indeed point to the binaries of media criticism: explicating and criticizing stereotypes that promote racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice, contrasted to cultivating and celebrating a variety and diversity of voices and texts that promote multicultural richness and inclusion.

Gibson-Hudson argues that inclusion of texts by African- American women "redress historic and contemporary marginality. In so doing, their films create a new discourse of identity cognizant of the commonalities and diversities in black women's lives. By integrating such films into the pedagogy, teachers expose students to the creative influences of African-American women filmmakers and to their sociocultural insights" (127). Todd Boyd, in turn, notes the turn away from simply attacking stereotypes in African- American cultural criticism and the turn toward creation of more empowering images and production of a New Black Aesthetic. And Diane Carson argues that more complex and diverse images of Asians are found in Chinese films in contrast to dominant representations of Asian-Americans in Hollywood films.

But while the contributors explicitly engage a diverse spectrum of representations of different ethnicities and races including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latin-Americans, etc., on the whole the studies downplay class and sexuality, and whereas some of the studies highlight gender other ignore it. Although the focus of the collection was to explore a series of multicultural differences, the factor of race and ethnicity was the central focus of the overwhelming majority of the contributions, while gender played a secondary role, and representations of sexual differences and class were largely ignored, despite the litany presented by most of the contributors who cite the need to make students sensitive to the social constructions of gender, race, and class. The only extended example of class analysis, for example, in Shared Differences is in Fischer's cursory contrast of Japanese class structure with class in the United States and a discussion of how American cinema shifted from appeals to immigrant working class to homogenizing middle classes (47-48). But there is no discussion of the social construction of class in media culture and the ways that construction of class differences, which ignore or denigrate the working class while celebrating the ruling class, perpetuate existing class structures and inequalities.

This reflects the neglect of class in public education and discourse, and the increasingly central focus on race. Although the melting pot ideology of earlier epochs is widely contested and a variety of multicultural race, ethnic, and national differences are recognized, class continues to be largely invisible in many discussions of multiculturalism and media pedagogy. Yet a more balanced multicultural pedagogy of difference should focus equally on representations of gender, race, ethnicity, and class, as well as attending to national, regional, and other cultural differences, how they are articulated in cultural representations, and how these differences among audiences create different readings and receptions of cultural texts.

Moreover, the actual courses constructed around multicultural media discussed in Shared Differences tend to focus on film and to downplay or ignore television, popular music, and other forms of media culture. The editors do not explain why the primary focus is on cinematic materials and I would argue that curricula that engage multicultural media should utilize a wider range of media forms, unless the course is organized to focus precisely and exclusively on film, or one specific medium, which, of course, has its own pedagogical justification. Focusing on film education obviously has its own legitimation and value, though in general I would urge selection of material from a more diverse spectrum of media culture in order to examine the different ways that disparate media construct social reality, and the various constraints and progressive potential of different media. Such comparative studies make clear the differences between how distinct media construct reality and sensitize students and citizens to how dominant media influence thought and behavior.

In her Preface, Diane Carson claims that the essays collected "represent topics from English literature to African-American cinema, from anthropology to writing, from ethnography to health and social well-being, and from video production to filmmaking (x)." But almost all of the articles focus exclusively on film. This perhaps reflects the growing academic prestige of film studies and acceptance of film as an academically respectable topic of study (and perhaps as well the fact that the editors and most of the contributors specialize in film studies). Yet in terms of popularity with students, general cultural impact and importance, and significance for multicultural education, television, popular music, and other media forms are arguably of equal interest and import. Thus, teachers who want to both use media materials to help teach course material and who want to analyze how the media function in society in producing multicultural difference should deploy a diverse selection of forms of media and attempt to overcome the exclusive focus on film in many courses which draw on media material.

Of the three studies in Part 3 that discuss "Media as Product," the production of film and video is discussed in articles by Julia Lesage who presents "Multicultural Learning Through Documentaries" with a focus on Latin-American women, and Steve Carr who discusses production of alternative film and video, while Patricia Zimmermann presents her multicultural film production class. The advantages of teaching media production is that such training helps students to understand how media are constructed and communicate, and provide the tools that enable students themselves to give expression to their voices and visions. The contributors to this section all note the high expenses and technical complexities of film technology and this leads Lesage and Carr to stress the value of video production as providing accessible technologies that enable individuals and groups excluded from the dominant culture to produce work that articulates their experiences and creativity. As both Lesage and Carr stress, video is cheaper, easier, and more accessible to student production, as well as to that of oppositional or excluded individuals and groups previously denied access to media production.

Indeed, part of multicultural education should not only be to enable students from all social and cultural groups to appreciate the differences and diversities of contemporary U.S. culture, but to enable individuals excluded from the dominant culture to intervene and articulate their own views and visions. Expanding participation in the production and discussion of culture thus produces a more robust democracy, with a more diverse rainbow of voices and visions present in the dialogue that makes a multicultural society more inclusive and diverse.

In engaging the topic of multicultural education and practical pedagogy teachers in the various disciplines are obviously going to organize their courses in very different ways, choose different media materials and secondary readings which correspond to their own interests, and will use the media material to promote their own pedagogic and political goals (and most of the contributors are clearly aware that their choices indeed reflect biases and interests and that it is difficult if not impossible to be "unbiased" in navigating the highly charged terrain of multicultural differences). Indeed, the media provide such an overwhelming wealth of material that it is extremely difficult to choose one's primary sources in such an overwhelmingly immense field. In addition, by now the number of secondary texts is also overwhelming making it difficult to choose supplementary readings to illuminate the media material and to promote critical and analytical pedagogical skills. Part of the value of the studies collected in Shared Differences lies in the different ways that scholars in various fields select and use media materials. The pedagogical differences between these scholars obviously reproduces the proliferating cultural and theoretical differences in the field of media studies, as well as the diverse ways that multicultural education can be deployed in a distinct variety of courses.

There is thus no single pedagogy of multicultural teaching, no single way to teach media materials and to promote media literacy, and no accepted canon of primary or secondary material. Thus, each teacher must select their own materials, organize their courses according to their own, their disciplinary, and their students' interests. Indeed, in teaching multicultural media and critical literacy for over twenty years, I have constantly engaged in trial and error in choosing primary and secondary materials, and revising course organization and selection of materials according to what did and did not work with student groups at different levels. Thus, one should accept that different teachers will organize and structure their courses in different ways and use different materials.

On the whole, the contributions to Shared Differences focus on using media to promote multicultural education and downplay theorizing and developing the skills of media literacy. As I noted above, most of the contributors focus on the politics of positive/negative representations and do not present more complex methods of gaining media literacy, or articulate more general principles or models. Although many of the practical course curricula and syllabi present materials for developing media literacy, this topic is not overtly theorized and is merely mentioned in passing. In the next section, therefore, I will engage a series of books published over the past decade that contribute to developing a critical pedagogy of media literacy. The argument for developing such skills as part of standard educational training is that the media themselves are a form of cultural pedagogy and thus must be countered by a critical media pedagogy that dissects how media communicate and effect their audiences and how students and citizens can gain skills to critically analyze the media.

Media Literacy and the Challenges of Contemporary Education

While Shared Differences focuses on multicultural media pedagogy as a response to the challenge of developing multicultural education and understanding, a large number of books on media literacy over the past decade start from the premise of the ubiquity of media culture in contemporary society and the need to develop critical media literacy as a response to media bombardment. "Media literacy" involves knowledge of how media work, how they construct meanings, how they serve as a form of cultural pedagogy, and how they function in everyday life. A media literate person is skillful in analyzing media codes and conventions, able to criticize media stereotypes, values, and ideologies, and thus literate in reading media critically. Media literacy thus empowers people to use media intelligently, to discriminate and evaluate media content, to critically dissect media forms, and to investigate media effects and uses.

The media strongly influence our view of the world, imparting knowledge of geography, of technology and the environment, of political and social events, of how the economy works, of what is currently going on in our society and the world at large. Media entertainment is also a form of cultural pedagogy, teaching dominant values, ways of thought and behavior, style and fashion, and providing resources for constituting individual identities (Kellner 1995a). The media are both crucial sources of knowledge and information and sources of entertainment and leisure activity. They are our story tellers and entertainers, and are especially influential since we are often not aware that media narratives and spectacles themselves are a form of education, imparting cultural knowledge, values, and shaping how we see and live our social worlds.

Obviously, media literacy is an important part of multicultural education since many people's conceptions of gender, race, ethnicity, and class are constituted in part by the media which are often important in determining how people view social groups, conceive of gender roles of masculinity and femininity, and distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, attitudes and behavior. Since the media also provide role models, conceptions of proper and improper conduct, and provide crucial cultural and political information, they are an important form of pedagogy and socialization. A media literate person is thus able to read, understand, evaluate, discriminate and criticize media materials, and ultimately, as I shall suggest below, produce media artifacts, in order to use media as means of expression and communication.

Sometimes "the media" are lumped into one homogeneous category, but it is important to discern that there are many media of communication and forms of cultural pedagogy, ranging from print media such as books, newspapers, and magazines to film, radio, television, popular music, photography, advertising, multimedia, and many other cultural forms, including video games, computer culture, CD-ROMs, and the like. Media literacy thus requires traditional print literacy skills as well as visual literacy, aural literacy, and the ability to analyze narratives, spectacles, and a wide range of cultural forms. Media literacy involves reading images critically, interpreting sounds, and seeing how media texts produce meaning in a multiplicity of ways (Kellner 1989c and 1995a). Since media are a central part of our cultural experience from childhood to the grave, training in media literacy should begin early in life and continue into adulthood, as new technologies are constantly creating new media and new genres, technical innovations, aesthetic forms, and conventions are constantly emerging.

Len Masterman has been associated with helping inaugurate a media literacy movement and his book Teaching the Media (1989 [1985]) is frequently cited in the literature on the topic as a key text. Masterman makes the case that the ubiquity of the media in transmitting knowledge requires educators from primary schools to post-school to impart critical knowledge of how the media work, construct meaning, and function in everyday life. Yet Masterman's focus is on "delineation of a number of general principles for teaching across the media" (1989: vii i-ix) and he does not really develop a concept or practical pedagogy of media literacy in his book. Rather, drawing heavily on British cultural studies, he provides a comprehensive overview of media education, discussing such topics as media institutions, text and rhetoric, ideology, audiences, and approaches to media education.

Masterman's text provides a useful general introduction to teaching the media, though his British-oriented approach might provide blocks to using his book in a North American setting. In the 1990s, however, a series of books have been published in the United States dealing with various dimensions of media literacy and education which engages North American media material. Whereas John Fiske's earlier works primarily dealt with the English and Australian materials and the contexts in which he was himself living, teaching, and researching, his more recent books focus on North American media culture and contexts, reflecting his new domicile (Fiske 1993, 1994). Henry Giroux (1992, 1993, 1994, and 1996), Peter McLaren (1995), and others have linked cultural studies with critical pedagogy and systematically elaborated theoretical principles and models, while carrying out practical studies. In all of these cases, the issue of multiculturalism and the analysis of gender, race, and class in terms of the politics of representation and audience reception are stressed. Similar emphases are also found in the cultural studies of Grossberg (1992), Kellner and Ryan (1988), Kellner (1990, 1992, and 1995), and a number of other works in North American cultural studies (see the collections edited by Grossberg, Nelson, and Treichler 1992; Giroux and McLaren 1994; and Dines and Humez 1995).

Other note-worthy attempts to develop a critical pedagogy focusing on cultivating media literacy and multicultural education include the work of James Schwoch, Mimi White, and Susan Reilly (1992) who recognize that the media are a form of pedagogy which construct social knowledge and requires critical dissection of its mode of teaching. The authors demonstrate how media images, discourse, symbols, and narratives constitute social meanings and subjectivities. Critically scrutinizing the dominant forms of media culture, the authors develop a critical pedagogy of representation that dissects the values, meanings, and ideologies constructed in media texts. Combining analysis of news/information and entertainment, the authors see "media as perpetual pedagogy" and provide critical insights into the sort of pedagogy provided by mainstream media while providing a counterpedagogy of their own.

In the same critical spirit, David Sholle and Stan Denski discuss media education and the (re)production of culture, critically analyzing the social production of knowledge through mass media of communication and proclaiming the need for a critical pedagogy that criticizes its limitations, distortions, and biases. The authors stress the importance of building bridges across disciplines, using theory to connect media education with the empowerment of students and the promotion of radical democracy. Combining the critical theory of the Frankfurt school with British cultural studies, feminism, and postmodern theory, Sholle and Denski call for contextualizing education within the framework of its functions in U.S. society, and they connect critical pedagogy and media education with transformative practice and the goal of producing a more democratic society.

More recently, Sholle, Susan Reilly, Peter McLaren, and Rhonda Hammer have published a co-authored text Rethinking Media Literacy (1995) which provide theoretical models of critical media literacy, practical studies that exemplify the project, and attempts to develop the literacies that will help make possible more critical and empowerment students and citizens. In particular, Hammer indicates how student video projects can empower students to learn the conventions and techniques of media production and use the media to advance their own aims. Whereas film production involves heavy capital investment, expensive technology, and thus restricts access, video production is more accessible to students, easier to use, and enables a broad spectrum of students to actually produce media texts, providing alternative modes of expression and communication. Video technology thus provides access to a large number of voices excluded from cultural production and expression, materializing the multicultural dream of democratic culture as a dialogue of a rainbow of voices, visions, ideas, and experiences.

The books that I have discussed all address the issue of promoting multiculturalism and media literacy on a University level. They are geared for the most part to college undergraduate and even graduate teaching and thus are on a fairly high level of sophistication. Yet one could argue that multicultural and media literacy should be taught at all stages of education, that it is extremely important to begin teaching multiculturalism and media literacy at early levels. Moreover, I would suggest that media material can be especially valuable in teaching multiculturalism and positive social values to young children, in view of the important role of media culture in their lives. There are indeed associations, groups, and texts that are oriented toward teaching multicultural education and media literacy to younger students. Survey of this vastly expanding material goes beyond the limits of this study, and here I merely want to mention the scope of importance of teaching media literacy and multiculturalism on all levels from kindergarten through graduate school and beyond. We live in a world of media and new technologies, and our social world is increasingly multicultural, providing new opportunities to enjoy richness and diversity, but also producing new social conflicts and problems.

It is the challenge of education and educators to address these concerns and to devise strategies to teach media literacy while using media materials to contribute to advancing multicultural education. For, against McLuhan who claims that the younger generation are naturally media literate (1964), I would argue that developing critical media literacy requires cultivating explicit strategies of cultural pedagogy and models of media education. Yet within educational circles, there is a debate over what constitutes the field of media pedagogy, with different agendas and programs. A traditionalist "protectionist" approach would attempt to "inoculate" young people against the effects of media addiction and manipulation by cultivating a taste for book literacy, high culture, and the values of truth, beauty, and justice. Neil Postman in his books Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) and Technopolis (1992) exemplifies this approach. A "media literacy" movement, by contrast, attempts to teach students to read, analyze, and decode media texts, in a fashion parallel to the cultivation of print literacy. Media arts education in turn teaches students to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of media and to use various media technologies as tools of self-expression and creation. Critical media literacy, as I would advocate it, builds on these approaches, analyzing media culture as products of social production and struggle, and teaching students to be critical of media representations and discourses, but also stressing the importance of learning to use the media as modes of self- expression and social activism.

Critical media literacy not only teaches students to learn from media, to resist media manipulation, and to empower themselves vis-a-vis the media, but it is concerned with developing skills that will empower citizens and that will make them more motivated and competent participants in social life. Critical media literacy is thus tied to the project of radical democracy and concerned to develop skills that will enhance democratization and participation. Critical media literacy takes a comprehensive approach that would teach critical skills and how to use media as instruments of social change. The technologies of communication are becoming more and more accessible to young people and average citizens, and they should be used to promote education, democratic self-expression, and social progress. Thus, technologies that could help produce the end of participatory democracy, by transforming politics into media spectacles and the battle of images, and by turning spectators into cultural zombies, could also be used to help invigorate democratic debate and participation (Kellner 1995a and 1995b).

I have so far downplayed hostility toward media education and the media themselves. Educational traditionalists conceive of literacy in more limited print-media paradigms and, as I suggested above, often adopt a "protectionist" approach when they address the issue of the media at all, warning students against corruption, or urging that they limit media use to "educational" materials. Yet many teachers on all levels from kindergarten to the University have discovered that media material, judiciously used, can be valuable in a variety of instructional tasks, helping to make complex subject matter accessible and engaging. Obviously, media cannot substitute for print material and classroom teaching, and should be seen as a supplement to traditional materials rather than a magic panacea for the failures of traditional education. Moreover, as I argue in the next section, traditional print literacy and competencies are more important than ever in our new high-tech societies.

It is also highly instructive, I would argue, to teach students at all levels to critically engage popular media materials, including the most familiar film, television, music, and other forms of media culture. Here one needs, however, to avoid an uncritical media populism, of the sort that is emerging within certain sectors of British and North American cultural studies. In a review of Rethinking Media Literacy (McLaren, Hammer, Sholle, and Reilly 1995), for instance, Jon Lewis attacked what he saw as the overly critical postures of the contributors to this volume, arguing: "If the point of a critical media literacy is to meet students halfway-- to begin to take seriously what they take seriously, to read what they read, to watch what they watch--teachers must learn to love pop culture" (1996: 26). Note the authoritarian injunction that "teachers must learn to love popular culture" (italics are Lewis'), followed by an attack on more critical approaches to media literacy.

Teaching critical media literacy, however, involves occupation of a site above the dichotomy of fandom and critic. One can teach how media culture provides significant statements or insights about the social world, positive visions of gender, race, and class, or complex aesthetic structures and practices, thus putting a positive spin on how it can provide significant contributions to education. Yet one should also indicate how media culture can promote sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, and other forms of prejudice, as well as misinformation, problematic ideologies, and questionable values. A more dialectical approach to media literacy engages students' interests and concerns, and can involve a collaborative approach between teachers and students. Students are especially absorbed in media culture and may know more about some of its artifacts and domains than their teachers. Consequently, they should be encouraged to speak, discuss, and intervene in the teaching/learning process. This is not to say that media literacy training should romanticize student views, however, that may be superficial, mistaken, uniformed, and full of various problematical biases. Yet exercises in media literacy can often productively involve intense student participation in a mutual learning process where both teachers and students together learn media literacy skills and competencies.

It is also probably a mistake to attempt to institute a top- down program of media literacy imposed from above on teachers, with fixed texts, curricula, and prescribed materials. Teachers and students will have very different interests and concerns, and will naturally emphasize different subject matter and choose examples relevant to their own and their student interests. Courses in critical media literacy should thus be flexible enough to enable teachers and students to constitute their own curricula to engage material and topics of current concern, and to address their own interests. Moreover, and, crucially, educators should discern that we are in the midst of one of the most intense technological revolutions in history and must learn to adapt new computer technologies to education, as I suggest in the following section.

Computer Culture and Critical Pedagogy: The New Frontier

The studies in Shared Differences and most of the books on media literacy discussed here neglect to interrogate computer culture and the ways that the Internet and new computer technologies and cultural forms are dramatically transforming the circulation of information, images, and various modes of culture. Surely students should learn both how to use computer culture to do research and gather information, as well as to perceive it as a cultural terrain which contains texts, spectacles, games, and interactive media. Moreover, computer culture is a discursive and political location in which they can intervene, engaging in discussion groups, creating their web sites, and producing new multimedia for cultural dissemination. Computer culture enables individuals to actively participate in the production of culture, ranging from discussion of public issues to creation of their own cultural forms.

It is indeed a salient fact of the present age that computer culture is proliferating and so we have to begin teaching computer literacy as well from an early age on. This involves technical abilities concerning developing basic typing skills, using computer programs, accessing information, and using computer technologies for a variety of purposes ranging from verbal communication to artistic expression. There are ever more implosions between media and computer culture as audio and video material becomes part of the Internet, as CD-ROM and multimedia develop, and as new technologies become part and parcel of the home, school, and workplace. Thus the skills of decoding images, sounds, and spectacle learned in critical media literacy training can also be valuable as part of computer literacy as well. Furthermore, print literacy takes on increasing importance in computer world as one needs to critically scrutinize and scroll tremendous amounts of information, putting new emphasis on developing reading abilities. Indeed, Internet discussion groups, chat rooms, email, and various forums require writing skills in which a new emphasis on the importance of clarity and precision is emerging as communications proliferate. In this context of information saturation, it becomes an ethical imperative not to contribute to cultural and information overload, and to concisely communicate one's thoughts and feelings.

Thus, a postmodern pedagogy requires developing critical forms of print, media, and computer literacy, all of crucial importance in the new technoculture of the present and fast- approaching future. Indeed, contemporary culture is marked by a proliferation of image machines which generate a panoply of print, sound, environmental, and diverse aesthetic artifacts within which we wander, trying to make our way through this forest of symbols. And so we need to begin learning how to read these images, these fascinating and seductive cultural forms whose massive impact on our lives we have only begun to understand. Surely, education should attend to the new image culture and teach how to read images and narratives as part of media/computer/technoculture literacy. Such an effort would be part of a new critical pedagogy that attempts to critically empower individuals so that they can analyze and criticize the emerging technoculture, as well as participate in its cultural forums and sites.

The challenge for education today is thus to promote computer and media literacy to empower students and citizens to use the new technologies to enhance their lives and create a better culture and society. Yet, there is also the danger that youth will become totally immersed in a new world of high-tech experience and lose its social connectedness and ability to communicate and relate concretely to other people. Statistics suggest that more and more sectors of youth are able to access cyberspace and that college students with Internet accounts are spending as much as four hours a day in the new realm of technological experience. The media, however, has been generating a moral panic concerning allegedly growing dangers in cyberspace with lurid stories of young boys and girls lured into dangerous sex or running away, endless accounts of how pornography on the Internet is proliferating, and the publicizing of calls for increasing control, censorship, and surveillance of communication -- usually by politicians who are computer illiterate.

To be sure, there are dangers in cyberspace as well as elsewhere, but the threats to adolescents are significantly higher through the danger of family violence and abuse than seduction by strangers on the Internet. And while there is a flourishing trade in pornography on the Internet, this material has become increasingly available in a variety of venues from the local video shop to the newspaper stand, so it seems unfair to demonize the Internet. Thus, attempts at Internet censorship are part of the attack on youth which would circumscribe their rights to obtain entertainment and information, and create their own subcultures. Thus, devices like the V-chip that would exclude sex and violence on television, or block computer access to objectionable material, is more an expression of adult hysteria and moral panic than genuine dangers to youth which certainly exist but much more strikingly in the real world than in the sphere of hyperreality.

Yet there is no doubt that the cyberspace of computer worlds contains as much banality and stupidity as real life and one can waste much time in useless activity. But compared to the bleak and violent urban worlds portrayed in rap music and youth films like Kids, the technological worlds are havens of information, entertainment, interaction, and connection where youth can gain valuable skills, knowledge, and power necessary to survive the postmodern adventure. Youth can create new, more multiple and flexible selves in cyberspace as well as new subcultures and communities. Indeed, it is exciting to cruise the Internet and to discover how many interesting Web sites that young people and others have established, often containing valuable educational material. There is, of course, the danger that corporate and commercial interests will come to colonize the Internet, but it is likely that there will continue to be spaces where individuals can empower themselves and create their own communities and identities. A main challenge for youth (and others) is to learn to use the Internet for positive cultural and political projects, rather than just entertainment and passive consumption.

Reflecting on the growing social importance of computers and new technologies makes it clear that it is of essential importance for youth today to gain various kinds of literacy to empower themselves for the emerging new cybersociety (this is true of teachers and adults as well). To survive in a postmodern world, individuals of all ages need to gain skills of media and computer literacy to enable ourselves to negotiate the overload of media images and spectacles; we all need to learn technological skills to use the new media and computer technologies to subsist in the new high-tech economy and to form our own cultures and communities; and youth especially need street smarts and survival skills to cope with the drugs, violence, and uncertainty in today's predatory culture (McLaren 1995).

It is therefore extremely important for the future of democracy to make sure that youth of all classes, races, genders, and regions gain access to new technology, receiving training in media and computer literacy skills in order to provide the opportunities to enter the high-tech job market and society of the future, and to prevent an exacerbation of class, gender, and race inequalities. And while new literacy skills will be necessary, traditional print literacy skills are all the more important in a cyberage of word-processing, information gathering, and Internet communication. Moreover, training in philosophy, ethics, value thinking, and the humanities is necessary now more then ever. Indeed, how the Internet will be used depends on the overall education of youth and the skills and interests they bring to the new technologies which can be used to access educational and valuable cultural material, or pornography and the banal wares of cybershopping malls.

Of course, cyberlife is just one dimension of experience and one still needs to learn to interact in a "real world" of school, jobs, relationships, politics, and other people. Youth -- indeed all of us! -- needs to learn to interact in many dimensions of social reality and to gain a variety of forms of literacy and skills that will enable us to create identities, relationships, and communities that will nurture and develop our full spectrum of potentialities and satisfy a wide array of needs. Our lives are more multidimensional than ever and part of the postmodern adventure is learning to live in a variety of social spaces and to adapt to intense change and transformation. Education too must meet these challenges and both use new technologies to promote education and devise strategies in which new technologies can be used to create a more democratic and egalitarian multicultural society.

. Carson and Friedman 1995 contains studies dealing with the use of media to deal with multicultural education, and I will engage this collection in detail. Examples of teaching media literacy which I shall draw on include Masterman 1985; Schwoch, White and Reilly 1992; Fleming 1993; Giroux 1994 and 1996; Sholle and Densky 1994; McLaren, Hammer, Sholle, and Reilly 1995; McLaren 1995; and Kellner 1995.

. The term "multicultural media" refers to visual forms of media culture such as film, video, photography, and the like which deal with multicultural themes and can be used in the classroom as teaching devices and material.

. Exceptions include Todd Boyd who suggests that the TV series In Living Color and the rap music of Ice Cube and Public Enemy can also be used to teach both multicultural difference in representation and oppositional cultural texts, although he also privileges cinematic texts. And although Serafina Bathrick and Louise Spence include examples of journalism, magazine advertisements, television, and documentary video in their course on media studies they too focus largely on film.

. Fleming (1995) also provides a useful introduction to Media Teaching, providing theoretical and practical insights into how to teach the media, but his book also is heavily oriented toward British media material and thus may also not transfer well to North American settings.

. Searching the Internet for material devoted to media literacy and multiculturalism discloses a wealth of resources, including bibliographies, teaching material, and addresses of individuals and groups committed to these topics.

. Wired magazine is a good source for statistics and data concerning growing computer and internet use among all sectors of youth and documents the vicissitudes of cyberculture. The main story in the business press during the mid-1990s is the consolidation of the information and entertainment industries, so the daily newspapers are also full of copious material on adventures in cyberspace which may be the locus of the next stage of the postmodern adventure.

. On the attack on youth in contemporary society and culture, see Giroux 1996; Manes 1996; and Best and Kellner, forthcoming.

Back to Education 253a Resources

Media Literacies and Critical Pedagogy in a Multicultural Society

by

Douglas Kellner

A large number of educators and theorists recognize the ubiquity of media culture in contemporary society, the growing trends toward multicultural education, and the need for media literacy that addresses the issue of multicultural difference. There is growing recognition that media representations help construct our images and understanding of the world and that education must meet the dual challenges of teaching media literacy in a multicultural society and sensitizing students and publics to the inequities and injustices of a society based on gender, race, and class inequalities and discrimination. Recent critical studies see the role of mainstream media in exacerbating these inequalities and the ways that media education and the production of alternative media can promote a healthy multiculturalism of diversity and more robust democracy. They thus confront some of the most serious challenges and problems that face us as educators and citizens as we move toward the twenty-first century.

In this paper, I first discuss how critical pedagogy can promote multicultural education and sensitivity to cultural difference, and then focus on the importance of a wide range of types of critical literacy to deal with the challenges of the cultural and technological revolution that we are currently involved in. Such concerns are part of a critical pedagogy which challenges educators, students, and citizens to rethink established curricula and teaching strategies to meet the challenge of confronting and dissecting cultural representation in our increasing multicultural and technological society. The project involves teaching the skills that will empower citizens and students to become sensitive to the politics of representations of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and other cultural differences in order to empower individuals and promote democratization. My argument is that education today needs to foster a variety of new types of literacy to empower students and to make education relevant to the challenges of the present and future. My assumption is that new technologies are altering every aspect of our society and we need to understand and make use of them both to understand and transform our world.

Multiculturalism and Media Pedagogy

A recent reader Shared Differences demonstrates how media of cultural representation such as film, video, photography, and multimedia can be used to promote multicultural education (Carson and Friedman 1995). The text opens with a statement by co-editor Diane Carson that a sense of urgency concerning America's increasingly multicultural society drove her and Lester Friedman to investigate how multicultural education can help us invigorate education for the contemporary era: "A teacher's inclusion of multicultural pedagogy and an active engagement with diverse ethnic, racial, and national issues is critical to America's social well-being... We must put our beliefs into practice, aware that the defining characteristics and enabling understanding of ethnic, racial, and national groups can and ought to be taught. Teachers must acknowledge uniqueness and difference as they also applaud similarity, for the strength of small communities and also society at large derives from celebrating our diversity" (ix).

Carson expands her pitch for multicultural education as a response to deal creatively with growing diversity, which facilitates "strategies for sharing, understanding, and enjoying" our proliferating cultural multiplicities and differences (x). She urges developing strategies for action, that will promote multicultural understanding, that will empower students, and that will strengthen education. Carson's and Friedman's dual project is to argue that the issues of multiculturalism are central to academic disciplines from literature to anthropology, and that media pedagogy can serve to promote the goals of multicultural education and critical media literacy. They accordingly assemble a broad array of studies by teachers who use media technology to promote multiculturalism in a number of disciplines in two and four year colleges. Each of their 14 contributors outlines course goals, discusses how they use media and media education to promote these goals, and analyzes their course experiences. Each also presents the syllabus used in the course to provide practical models of how to organize courses in multicultural education and media pedagogy.

The result is a very useful collection of models of practical criticism that will enable teachers in various fields to use media education to promote goals internal to their discipline. On the whole, the collection advances the social goals of making teachers and students sensitive to the politics of representation, to how media audiences' images of race, gender, sexuality, and cultural differences are in part generated by cultural representations, how negative stereotyping presents harmful cultural images, and the need for a diversity of representations to capture the cultural wealth of contemporary America. Teachers can gain insight into how media can serve their pedagogical goals and how they can both use media to promote multicultural education and to use this material to teach media literacy as well.

Following Carson's Preface and overview of the project, the collection opens with an essay by co-editor Lester Friedman, "Struggling for America's Soul: A Search for Some Common Ground in the Multicultural Debate." Friedman notes the current conflicts over multiculturalism in American society and the debates over multicultural education in the academic world. In this contentious and conflicted terrain, he suggests, we must seek common ground, to articulate what unites as well as divides us, and come to appreciate our commonalties as well as our differences. Indeed, the rancor in some of the education wars over curricula, pedagogy, and education in general are part and parcel of broader cultural wars between competing groups and ideologies fighting over the future of U.S. society and culture. Since educational debates are often intimately connected with political struggles, it is necessary to articulate clearly the different positions within the debates and if possible and appropriate to seek a common ground for consensus.

Indeed, I have long believed that there is no necessary conflict between traditional and multicultural education, that the education process is strengthened with the incorporation of voices, viewpoints, and perspectives excluded from traditional canons, and that multicultural curricula, deployed wisely, can improve many academic courses. Friedman attempts to articulate some principles that would enable multicultural education to enrich rather than replace the traditional curriculum and that would provide a common ground for both traditionalists and multiculturalists to rethink education. Reaching a common and higher ground in the debates over education require, in Friedman's view: acknowledging that while knowledge is constructed and transmitted from specific locations that "knowledgeable, well-trained teachers can generate discussions about cultures other than their own," (3). For Friedman this entails accepting that multicultural curricula need not "be taught only, or even primarily, to members of ethnic minorities," nor that "one monocultural approach (e.g., Eurocentrism) [be replaced] with another monocultural methodology (e.g., Afrocentrism)" (3).

If multicultural education is to promote genuine diversity and expand the curriculum, it is important both for groups excluded from mainstream education to learn about their own heritage and for dominant groups to explore the experiences and voices of minority and excluded groups. Moreover, as Friedman stresses, while it is important and useful to study cultures and voices excluded from traditional canons, dead white European male authors may have as much of importance to teach all students as excluded representatives of minority groups whom multiculturalists want, often with good reason, to include in the curriculum. Thus, Friedman convincingly argues that: "Western culture, despite its myriad faults, remains a crucial influence on American political, intellectual and social thought and, as such, should play an important role in classrooms" (3).

Indeed, few advocates of multicultural education call for jettisoning the traditional canon and altogether replacing the classics with new multicultural fare. Genuine multicultural education requires expanding, not contracting, the curricula, broadening and enriching it, not impoverishing it. It also involves, as Friedman stresses, including white ethnic groups in the multicultural spectrum and searching out those common values and ideals that cut across racial and cultural boundaries. Thus, multicultural education can both help us understand our history and culture, and can move toward producing a more diverse and inclusive democratic society.

Shared Differences suggests how multicultural education can be used to enrich the subject matter of many traditional disciplines, ranging from literature to anthropology. In addition, traditional disciplines and texts can themselves be taken as the topic of critical scrutiny and inquiry, and can thus be used to promote the pedagogical goals of developing sensitivity to cultural difference. The emphasis in the reader is on using a medley of media material to present aspects and effects of the politics of representation from a variety of perspectives. Thus, an anthropologist discusses how media culture can be used to teach ethnography and cultural critique which is sensitive to cultural representation and difference (Michael M.J. Fischer); writing teachers present a course dedicated to writing about literature and various forms of popular media which helps make students aware of the forms of cultural rhetoric and difference (Margaret Himley and Delia C. Temes); an English professor (Linda Dittmar) discusses how the English curriculum can be transformed by the addition of film and media culture; a public health professor (Clarence Spigner) discusses how negative media representations can contribute to problems of health and social well-being; and historian Carlos E. Cortes discusses how media education can contribute to better historical understanding and socio-political sensitivity.

These studies provide a variety of arguments for the importance of including media texts in the curricula and how using and studying the media can advance the aims of a variety of pedagogic practices. The teaching of writing, for example, as Himley and Temes stress, is enhanced by engaging students in analyzing cultural rhetoric and difference in various domains of social discourses. Print journalism, film, television, photographic images, advertising, and political rhetoric are all forms of writing, all cultural texts that influence how we see the world, and the practice of critically dissecting these writings helps us to see how all of these cultural forms represent different modes of writing with their own biases and perspectives. Attending to the representation of difference within the broader field of society and culture can enable students to avoid manipulation by cultural rhetorics and to empower students to find their own voices within the cacophony of competing and conflicting discourses of the present age. Critically dissecting cultural materials also empowers students to reflect upon their own commonalties and differences, and to respect their differences from others, while becoming critical of those who would suppress differences or present some differences (racial, gender, class, etc.) negatively, stereotypically, and pejoratively.

The authors in Shared Differences thus present arguments legitimating the use of media materials in a number of disciplines to promote both traditional pedagogic goals (the transmission of knowledge, the cultivation of reading and writing skills, the mastering of fields and disciplines), as well as to contribute to the production of a more diverse democratic polity that appreciates and affirms differences between ethnic, racial, and cultural groups. On the other hand, many of the teachers who are using multicultural media as a tool to promote their own disciplines downplay the importance of cultivating media literacy as an important tool in developing students' critical and analytical skills. One needs to be aware that each media technology (film, video, photography, multimedia, and so on) have their own biases, their own formal codes and rules, and that the ways in which the media themselves construct and communicate meaning needs to be an explicit focus of awareness and analysis.

Indeed, media culture constructs models of multicultural difference, privileging some groups, while denigrating others. Grasping the construction of difference and hierarchy in media texts requires learning how they are constructed, how they communicate, and how they influence their audiences. Textual analysis of media artifacts helps to reveal their codes and conventions, their values and ideologies, and thus their meanings and messages. In particular, a critical cultural studies should analyze representations of class, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual preference, and other identity markers in the texts of media culture, as well as attending to national, regional, and other cultural differences, how they are articulated in cultural representations, and how these differences among audiences create different readings and receptions of cultural texts.

On the whole, the contributions to Shared Differences focus on using media to promote multicultural education and downplay theorizing and developing the skills of media literacy. Most of the contributors focus on the politics of positive/negative representations and do not present more complex methods of gaining media literacy, or articulate more general principles or models. Although many of the practical course curricula and syllabi present materials for developing media literacy, this topic is not overtly theorized and is merely mentioned in passing. In the next section, therefore, I will engage a series of books published over the past decade that contribute to developing a critical pedagogy of media literacy. The argument for developing such skills as part of standard educational training is that the media themselves are a form of cultural pedagogy and thus must be countered by a critical media pedagogy that dissects how media communicate and effect their audiences and how students and citizens can gain skills to critically analyze the media.

Media Literacy and the Challenges of Contemporary Education

While Shared Differences focuses on multicultural media pedagogy as a response to the challenge of developing multicultural education and understanding, a large number of books on media literacy over the past decade start from the premise of the ubiquity of media culture in contemporary society and produce a more general argument for critical media literacy as a response to media bombardment. "Media literacy" involves knowledge of how media work, how they construct meanings, how they serve as a form of cultural pedagogy, and how they function in everyday life. A media literate person is skillful in analyzing media codes and conventions, able to criticize media stereotypes, values, and ideologies, and thus literate in reading media critically. Media literacy thus empowers people to use media intelligently, to discriminate and evaluate media content, to critically dissect media forms, and to investigate media effects and uses.

A critical media literacy is necessary since media culture strongly influences our view of the world, imparting knowledge of geography, of technology and the environment, of political and social events, of how the economy works, of what is currently going on in our society and the world at large. Media entertainment is also a form of cultural pedagogy, teaching dominant values, ways of thought and behavior, style and fashion, and providing resources for constituting individual identities (Kellner 1995a). The media are both crucial sources of knowledge and information and sources of entertainment and leisure activity. They are our story tellers and entertainers, and are especially influential since we are often not aware that media narratives and spectacles themselves are a form of education, imparting cultural knowledge, values, and shaping how we see and live our social worlds.

Consequently, media literacy is an important part of multicultural education since many people's conceptions of gender, race, ethnicity, and class are constituted in part by the media which are often important in determining how people view social groups, conceive of gender roles of masculinity and femininity, and distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, attitudes and behavior. Since the media also provide role models, conceptions of proper and improper conduct, and provide crucial cultural and political information, they are an important form of pedagogy and socialization. A media literate person is thus able to read, understand, evaluate, discriminate and criticize media materials, and ultimately, as I shall suggest below, produce media artifacts, in order to use media as means of expression and communication.

Sometimes "the media" are lumped into one homogeneous category, but it is important to discern that there are many media of communication and forms of cultural pedagogy, ranging from print media such as books, newspapers, and magazines to film, radio, television, popular music, photography, advertising, and many other multimedia cultural forms, including video games, computer culture, CD-Roms, and the like. Media literacy thus requires traditional print literacy skills as well as visual literacy, aural literacy, and the ability to analyze narratives, spectacles, and a wide range of cultural forms. Media literacy involves reading images critically, interpreting sounds, and seeing how media texts produce meaning in a multiplicity of ways (Kellner 1989c and 1995a). Since media are a central part of our cultural experience from childhood to the grave, training in media literacy should begin early in life and continue into adulthood, as new technologies are constantly creating new media and new genres, technical innovations, aesthetic forms, and conventions are constantly emerging.

Len Masterman has been associated with helping inaugurate a media literacy movement and his book Teaching the Media (1989 [1985]) is frequently cited in the literature on the topic as a key text. Masterman makes the case that the ubiquity of the media in transmitting knowledge requires educators from primary schools to post-school to impart critical knowledge of how the media work, construct meaning, and function in everyday life. Yet Masterman's focus is on "delineation of a number of general principles for teaching across the media" (1989: vii i-ix) and he does not really develop a concept or practical pedagogy of media literacy in his book. Rather, drawing heavily on British cultural studies, he provides a comprehensive overview of media education, discussing such topics as media institutions, text and rhetoric, ideology, audiences, and approaches to media education.

Masterman's text provides a useful general introduction to teaching the media, though his British-oriented approach might provide blocks to using his book in a North American setting. Moreover, while a general media literacy may be of some use in transmitting some general ideas and principles, one needs to develop a media literacy that is sensitive to the differences among the specific media, engaging students in critically analyzing and dissecting a wide range of media materials, including such disparate phenomena as TV news, rock music, action-adventure film, advertising, and multimedia web sites. Hence, the principle of difference should not only be part of a multicultural education making students sensitive to social and cultural difference, but one should also see how different media construct their materials in different ways. One also needs to construct different forms of media literacy according to the age, interests, needs, and capacities of specific students. Obviously, teaching media literacy in kindergarten through the elementary grades is going to involve different strategies and pedagogy than teaching media literacy to high school, college, or adult audiences.

Contributions of a critical pedagogy of difference are found in recent contributions to expanding media literacy by scholars influenced by post-structuralist theory. Allan Luke and Carmen Luke have pointed to the usefulness of post-structuralist thought in rethinking education under contemporary conditions (see, inter alia, Luke and Luke 1990). Carmen Luke has shown how difference is often occluded in mainstream media culture and how cultural studies in the classroom can generate alternative readings and critically valorize difference. In turn, Allan Luke has shown how a post-structuralist-inspired discourse analysis can help dissect the construction of difference in cultural texts and be an important instrument in a critical pedagogy (forthcoming).

Although we are moving into an increasingly global media culture, critical media pedagogy should probably engage in classroom instruction media and cultural material familiar to students in different countries and parts of the world. In the 1990s, for instance, a series of books have been published in the United States dealing with various dimensions of media literacy and education which engages North American media material. Thus, whereas earlier cultural studies and models of media literacy often engaged material from English and Australian contexts that were not always accessible to individuals in the North American context, there is now a burgeoning tradition of cultural studies engaging material from a variety of cultures, ranging from the United States to Taiwan, in what might be seen as the globalization of cultural studies. Thus, whereas John Fiske's earlier works primarily dealt with the English and Australian materials and the contexts in which he was himself living, teaching, and researching, his more recent books focus on North American media culture and contexts, reflecting his new domicile (Fiske 1993, 1994). Henry Giroux (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997), Peter McLaren (1995, 1996), and others have linked cultural studies with critical pedagogy and systematically elaborated theoretical principles and models, while carrying out practical studies of contemporary media culture. In all of these cases, the issue of multiculturalism and the analysis of gender, race, and class in terms of the politics of representation and audience reception are stressed. Similar emphases are also found in the cultural studies of Grossberg (1992), Kellner and Ryan (1988), Kellner (1990, 1992, and 1995), and a number of other works in North American cultural studies (see the collections edited by Grossberg, Nelson, and Treichler 1992; Giroux and McLaren 1994; and Dines and Humez 1995).

Other note-worthy attempts to develop a critical pedagogy focusing on cultivating media literacy and multicultural education include the work of James Schwoch, Mimi White, and Susan Reilly (1992) who recognize that the media are a form of pedagogy which construct social knowledge and requires critical dissection of its mode of teaching. The authors demonstrate how media images, discourse, symbols, and narratives constitute social meanings and subjectivities. Critically scrutinizing the dominant forms of media culture, the authors develop a critical pedagogy of representation that dissects the values, meanings, and ideologies constructed in media texts. Combining analysis of news/information and entertainment, the authors see "media as perpetual pedagogy" and provide critical insights into the sort of pedagogy provided by mainstream media while providing a counterpedagogy of their own.

In the same critical spirit, David Sholle and Stan Denski discuss media education and the (re)production of culture, critically analyzing the social production of knowledge through mass media of communication and proclaiming the need for a critical pedagogy that criticizes its limitations, distortions, and biases. The authors stress the importance of building bridges across disciplines, using theory to connect media education with the empowerment of students and the promotion of radical democracy. Combining the critical theory of the Frankfurt school with British cultural studies, feminism, and postmodern theory, Sholle and Denski call for contextualizing education within the framework of its functions in U.S. society, and they connect critical pedagogy and media education with transformative practice and the goal of producing a more democratic society.

In addition, Sholle, Susan Reilly, Peter McLaren, and Rhonda Hammer have published a co-authored text Rethinking Media Literacy (1995) which provide theoretical models of critical media literacy, practical studies that exemplify the project, and attempts to develop the literacies that will help make possible more critical and empowerment students and citizens. In particular, Hammer indicates how student video projects can empower students to learn the conventions and techniques of media production and use the media to advance their own aims. Whereas film production involves heavy capital investment, expensive technology, and thus restricts access, video production is more accessible to students, easier to use, and enables a broad spectrum of students to actually produce media texts, providing alternative modes of expression and communication. Video technology thus provides access to a large number of voices excluded from cultural production and expression, materializing the multicultural dream of democratic culture as a dialogue of a rainbow of voices, visions, ideas, and experiences.

The books that I have discussed all address the issue of promoting multiculturalism and media literacy on a University level. They are geared for the most part to college undergraduate and even graduate teaching and thus are on a fairly high level of sophistication. Yet one could argue that multicultural and media literacy should be taught at all stages of education, that it is extremely important to begin teaching multiculturalism and media literacy at early levels. Moreover, I would suggest that media material can be especially valuable in teaching multiculturalism and positive social values to young children, in view of the important role of media culture in their lives. There are indeed associations, groups, and texts that are oriented toward teaching multicultural education and media literacy to younger students. Survey of this vastly expanding material goes beyond the limits of this study, and here I merely want to mention the scope of importance of teaching media literacy and multiculturalism on all levels from kindergarten through graduate school and beyond. We live in a world of media and new technologies, and our social world is increasingly multicultural, providing new opportunities to enjoy richness and diversity, but also producing new social conflicts and problems.

It is the challenge of education and educators to devise strategies to teach media literacy while using media materials to contribute to advancing multicultural education. For, against McLuhan who claims that the younger generation are naturally media literate (1964), I would argue that developing critical media literacy requires cultivating explicit strategies of cultural pedagogy and models of media education. Yet within educational circles, there is a debate over what constitutes the field of media pedagogy, with different agendas and programs. A traditionalist "protectionist" approach would attempt to "inoculate" young people against the effects of media addiction and manipulation by cultivating a taste for book literacy, high culture, and the values of truth, beauty, and justice. Neil Postman in his books Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) and Technopolis (1992) exemplifies this approach.

A "media literacy" movement, by contrast, attempts to teach students to read, analyze, and decode media texts, in a fashion parallel to the cultivation of print literacy. Media arts education in turn teaches students to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of media and to use various media technologies as tools of self-expression and creation. Critical media literacy, as I would advocate it, builds on these approaches, analyzing media culture as products of social production and struggle, and teaching students to be critical of media representations and discourses, but also stressing the importance of learning to use the media as modes of self-expression and social activism.

Critical media literacy not only teaches students to learn from media, to resist media manipulation, and to empower themselves vis-a-vis the media, but it is concerned with developing skills that will empower citizens and that will make them more motivated and competent participants in social life. Critical media literacy is thus tied to the project of radical democracy and concerned to develop skills that will enhance democratization and participation. Critical media literacy takes a comprehensive approach that would teach critical skills and how to use media as instruments of social change. The technologies of communication are becoming more and more accessible to young people and average citizens, and they should be used to promote education, democratic self-expression, and social progress. Thus, technologies that could help produce the end of participatory democracy, by transforming politics into media spectacles and the battle of images, and by turning spectators into cultural zombies, could also be used to help invigorate democratic debate and participation (Kellner 1995a and 1995b).

Indeed, teaching critical media literacy should be a participatory, collaborative project. Students are often more media savvy, knowledgeable, and immersed in media culture than their teachers and thus can contribute to the educational process through sharing their ideas, perceptions, and insights. On the other hand, critical discussion, debate, and analysis should be encouraged with teachers bringing to bear their critical perspectives on student readings of media material. Since media culture is often part and parcel of students' identity and most powerful cultural experience, teachers must be sensitive in criticizing artifacts and perceptions that students hold dear, yet an atmosphere of critical respect for difference and inquiry into the nature and effects of media culture should be encouraged.

Another complexity in developing critical media pedagogy results from the fact that in a sense it is not a pedagogy in the traditional sense with firmly-established principles, a canon of texts, and tried-and-true teaching procedures. Critical media pedagogy is in its infancy, it is just beginning to produce results, and is thus more open and experimental than established print-oriented pedagogy. Moreover, the material of media culture is so polymorphous, multivalent, and polysemic, that it requires sensitivity to different readings, interpretations, perceptions of the complex images, scenes, narratives, meanings, and message of media culture which in its own ways is as complex and challenging to critically decipher as book culture.

I have, in fact, so far downplayed hostility toward media education and the media themselves. Educational traditionalists conceive of literacy in more limited print-media paradigms and, as I suggested above, often adopt a "protectionist" approach when they address the issue of the media at all, warning students against corruption, or urging that they limit media use to "educational" materials. Yet many teachers on all levels from kindergarten to the University have discovered that media material, judiciously used, can be valuable in a variety of instructional tasks, helping to make complex subject matter accessible and engaging. Obviously, media cannot substitute for print material and classroom teaching, and should be seen as a supplement to traditional materials rather than a magic panacea for the failures of traditional education. Moreover, as I argue in the next section, traditional print literacy and competencies are more important than ever in our new high-tech societies.

It is also highly instructive, I would argue, to teach students at all levels to critically engage popular media materials, including the most familiar film, television, music, and other forms of media culture. Yet, here one needs, however, to avoid an uncritical media populism, of the sort that is emerging within certain sectors of British and North American cultural studies. In a review of Rethinking Media Literacy (McLaren, Hammer, Sholle, and Reilly 1995), for instance, Jon Lewis attacked what he saw as the overly critical postures of the contributors to this volume, arguing: "If the point of a critical media literacy is to meet students halfway -- to begin to take seriously what they take seriously, to read what they read, to watch what they watch --teachers must learn to love pop culture" (1996: 26). Note the authoritarian injunction that "teachers must learn to love popular culture" (italics are Lewis'), followed by an attack on more critical approaches to media literacy.

Teaching critical media literacy, however, involves occupation of a site above the dichotomy of fandom and censor. One can teach how media culture provides significant statements or insights about the social world, positive visions of gender, race, and class, or complex aesthetic structures and practices, thus putting a positive spin on how it can provide significant contributions to education. Yet one should also indicate how media culture can promote sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, and other forms of prejudice, as well as misinformation, problematic ideologies, and questionable values. A more dialectical approach to media literacy engages students' interests and concerns, and should, as I suggested above, involve a collaborative approach between teachers and students since students are deeply absorbed in media culture and may know more about some of its artifacts and domains than their teachers. Consequently, they should be encouraged to speak, discuss, and intervene in the teaching/learning process. This is not to say that media literacy training should romanticize student views, however, that may be superficial, mistaken, uniformed, and full of various problematical biases. Yet exercises in media literacy can often productively involve intense student participation in a mutual learning process where both teachers and students together learn media literacy skills and competencies.

It is also probably a mistake to attempt to institute a top-down program of media literacy imposed from above on teachers, with fixed texts, curricula, and prescribed materials. Teachers and students will have very different interests and concerns, and will naturally emphasize different subject matter and choose examples relevant to their own and their student interests. Courses in critical media literacy should thus be flexible enough to enable teachers and students to constitute their own curricula to engage material and topics of current concern, and to address their own interests. Moreover, and, crucially, educators should discern that we are in the midst of one of the most intense technological revolutions in history and must learn to adapt new computer technologies to education, as I suggest in the following section.

New Technologies, Multiple Literacies, and Postmodern Pedagogy: The New Frontier

The studies on multicultural education and critical media literacy that I have examined up to this point neglect to interrogate computer culture and the ways that the Internet and new computer technologies and cultural forms are dramatically transforming the circulation of information, images, and various modes of culture. And so in this concluding section that is looking toward education in the next century, I want to argue that students should learn new forms of computer literacy that involve both how to use computer culture to do research and gather information, as well as to perceive it as a cultural terrain which contains texts, spectacles, games, and interactive media. Moreover, computer culture is a discursive and political location in which they can intervene, engaging in discussion groups, creating their web sites, and producing new multimedia for cultural dissemination. Computer culture enables individuals to actively participate in the production of culture, ranging from discussion of public issues to creation of their own cultural forms.

It is indeed a salient fact of the present age that computer culture is proliferating and so we have to begin teaching computer literacy as well from an early age on. Computer literacy, however, itself needs to be theorized. Often the term is synonymous with technical ability to use computers, to master existing programs, and maybe engage in some programming oneself. I want, however, to suggest expanding the conception of computer literacy from using computer programs and hardware to developing, in addition, more sophisticated abilities in traditional reading and writing, as well as the ability to critically dissect cultural forms taught as part of critical media literacy. Thus, on this conception, genuine computer literacy involves not just technical knowledge and skills, but refined reading, writing, and communicating ability that involves heightened capacities for critically analyzing, interpreting, and processing print, image, sound, and multimedia material. Computer literacy involves heightened abilities to read, to scan texts and information, to put together in meaningful patterns mosaics of information, to construct meanings and significance, to contextualize and evaluate, and to discuss and articulate one's own views.

Thus, in my expanded conception, computer literacy involves technical abilities concerning developing basic typing skills, using computer programs, accessing information, and using computer technologies for a variety of purposes ranging from verbal communication to artistic expression. There are ever more implosions between media and computer culture as audio and video material becomes part of the Internet, as CD-Rom and multimedia develop, and as new technologies become part and parcel of the home, school, and workplace. Therefore, the skills of decoding images, sounds, and spectacle learned in critical media literacy training can also be valuable as part of computer literacy as well. Furthermore, print literacy takes on increasing importance in computer world as one needs to critically scrutinize and scroll tremendous amounts of information, putting new emphasis on developing reading and writing abilities. Indeed, Internet discussion groups, chat rooms, email, and various forums require writing skills in which a new emphasis on the importance of clarity and precision is emerging as communications proliferate. In this context of information saturation, it becomes an ethical imperative not to contribute to cultural and information overload, and to concisely communicate one's thoughts and feelings.

In a certain sense, computers are becoming the technological equivalent of Hegel's Absolute Idea, able to absorb everything into its form and medium. Indeed, computers are now not only repositories of text and print-based data, but also contain a wealth of images, multimedia sights and sounds, and interactive environments that, like the media, are themselves a form of education that require a critical pedagogy of electronic, digitized, culture and communication. From this conception, computer literacy is something like a Hegelian synthesis of print and visual literacy, technical skills, and media literacies, brought together at a new and higher stage. While Postman and others produce a simplistic Manichean dichotomy between print and visual literacy, we need to learn to think dialectically, to read text and image, to decipher sight and sound, and to develop forms of computer literacy adequate to meet the challenges of an increasingly high tech society.

Thus, a postmodern pedagogy requires developing critical forms of print, media, and computer literacy, all of crucial importance in the new technoculture of the present and fast-approaching future. Whereas modern pedagogy tended to be specialized, fragmented, and differentiated and was focused on print culture, a postmodern pedagogy involves developing multiple literacies and critically analyzing, dissecting, and engaging a multiplicity of cultural forms, some of which are the products of new technologies and require developing new literacies to engage the new cultural forms and media. Indeed, contemporary culture is marked by a proliferation of image machines which generate a panoply of print, sound, environmental, and diverse aesthetic artifacts within which we wander, trying to make our way through this forest of symbols. And so we need to begin learning how to read these images, these fascinating and seductive cultural forms whose massive impact on our lives we have only begun to understand. Surely, education should attend to the new image culture and teach how to read images and narratives as part of media/computer/technoculture literacy. Such an effort would be part of a new critical pedagogy that attempts to critically empower individuals so that they can analyze and criticize the emerging technoculture, as well as participate in its cultural forums and sites.

Moreover, in addition to the critical media literacy, print literacy, and computer literacy, discussed above, multiple literacies involve cultural literacy, social literacy, and ecoliteracy. Since a multicultural society is the context of education in the contemporary moment, new forms of social interaction and cultural awareness are needed that appreciate differences, multiplicity, and diversity. Therefore, expanded social and cultural literacy is needed that appreciates the cultural heritage, histories, and contributions of a diversity of groups. Thus, whereas one can agree with E.D. Hirsch (1987) that we need to be literate in our shared cultural heritage, we also need to become culturally literate in cultures that have been hitherto invisible, as Henry Louis Gates and his colleagues have been arguing in their proposals for a multicultural education.

Social literacy should also be taught throughout the educational systems, ranging from focus on how to relate and get along with a variety of individuals, how to negotiate differences, how to resolve conflicts, and how to communicate and socially interact in a diversity of situations. Social literacy also involves ethical training in values and norms, delineating proper and improper individual and social values. It also requires knowledge of the contemporary societies and thus overlaps with social and natural science training. Indeed, given the tremendous role of science and technology in the contemporary world, given the threats to the environment, and need to preserve and enhance the natural as well as social and cultural worlds, it is scandalous how illiterate the entire society is concerning science, nature, and even our own bodies. An ecoliteracy should thus appropriately teach competency in interpreting and interacting with our natural environment, ranging from our own body to natural habitats like forests and deserts.

The challenge for education today is thus to promote multiple literacies to empower students and citizens to use the new technologies to enhance their lives and create a better culture and society based on respect for multicultural difference and aiming at fuller democratic participation of individuals and groups largely excluded from wealth and power in the previous modern society. A positive postmodernity would thus involve creation of a more egalitarian and democratic society in which more individuals and groups were empowered to participate. The great danger facing us, of course, is that the new technologies will increase the current inequalities based on class, gender, and racial divisions. So far, the privileged groups have had more immediate access to the new technologies. It is therefore a challenge of education today to provide access to the new technologies and the literacies needed for competence in order to overcome some of the divisions and inequalities that have plagued contemporary societies during the entire modern age.

Yet, there is also the danger that youth will become totally immersed in a new world of high-tech experience and lose its social connectedness and ability to communicate and relate concretely to other people. Statistics suggest that more and more sectors of youth are able to access cyberspace and that college students with Internet accounts are spending as much as four hours a day in the new realm of technological experience. The media, however, has been generating a moral panic concerning allegedly growing dangers in cyberspace with lurid stories of young boys and girls lured into dangerous sex or running away from home, endless accounts of how pornography on the Internet is proliferating, and the publicizing of calls for increasing control, censorship, and surveillance of communication -- usually by politicians who are computer illiterate. The solution, however, is not to ban access to new technologies, but to teach students and citizens how to use these technologies so that they can be used for productive and creative rather than problematical ends.

To be sure, there are dangers in cyberspace as well as elsewhere, but the threats to adolescents are significantly higher through the danger of family violence and abuse than seduction by strangers on the Internet. And while there is a flourishing trade in pornography on the Internet, this material has become increasingly available in a variety of venues from the local video shop to the newspaper stand, so it seems unfair to demonize the Internet. Thus, attempts at Internet censorship are part of the attack on youth which would circumscribe their rights to obtain entertainment and information, and create their own subcultures. Consequently, devices like the V-chip that would exclude sex and violence on television, or block computer access to objectionable material, is more an expression of adult hysteria and moral panic than genuine dangers to youth which certainly exist, but much more strikingly in the real world than in the sphere of hyperreality.

New technologies are always demonized and in studying the exploding array of discourses which characterize the new technologies, I am rather bemused by the extent to whether they expose either a technophilic discourse which presents new technologies as our salvation, that will solve all our problems, or they embody a technophobic discourse that sees technology as our damnation, demonizing it as the major source of all our problems (Kellner, forthcoming). It appears that similarly one-sided and contrasting discourses greeted the introduction of other new technologies this century, often hysterically. To some extent, this was historically the case with film, radio, TV, and now computers. Film, for instance, was celebrated by early theorists as providing new documentary depiction of reality, even redemption of reality, a new art form, new modes of mass education and entertainment -- as well as demonized for promoting sexual promiscuity, juvenile delinquency and crime, violence, and copious other forms of immorality. Its demonization led in the United States to a Production Code that rigorously regulated the content of Hollywood film from 1934 until the 1950s and 1960s -- no open mouthed kissing was permitted, crime could not pay, drug use or attacks on religion could not be portrayed, and a censorship office rigorously surveyed all films to make sure that no subversive or illicit content emerged (Kellner 1997).

Similar extreme hopes and fears were projected onto radio, television, and now computers. It appears whenever there are new technologies, people project all sorts of fantasies, fears, hopes, and dreams onto them, and I believe that this is now happening with computers and new multimedia technologies. It is indeed striking that if one looks at the literature on new technologies -- and especially computers -- it is either highly celebatory and technophilic, or sharply derogatory and technophobic. A critical theory of technology, however, and critical pedagogy, should avoid either demonizing or deifying the new technologies and should inside develop pedagogies that will help us use the technologies to enhance education and life, and to criticize the limitations and false promises made on behalf of new technologies.

Indeed, there is no doubt that the cyberspace of computer worlds contains as much banality and stupidity as real life and one can waste much time in useless activity. But compared to the bleak and violent urban worlds portrayed in rap music and youth films like Kids (1995), the technological worlds are havens of information, entertainment, interaction, and connection where youth can gain valuable skills, knowledge, and power necessary to survive the postmodern adventure. Youth can create new, more multiple and flexible selves in cyberspace as well as new subcultures and communities. Indeed, it is exciting to cruise the Internet and to discover how many interesting Web sites that young people and others have established, often containing valuable educational material. There is, of course, the danger that corporate and commercial interests will come to colonize the Internet, but it is likely that there will continue to be spaces where individuals can empower themselves and create their own communities and identities. A main challenge for youth (and others) is to learn to use the Internet for positive cultural and political projects, rather than just entertainment and passive consumption.

Reflecting on the growing social importance of computers and new technologies makes it clear that it is of essential importance for youth today to gain various kinds of literacy to empower themselves for the emerging new cybersociety (this is true of teachers and adults as well). To survive in a postmodern world, individuals of all ages need to gain skills of media and computer literacy to enable ourselves to negotiate the overload of media images and spectacles; we all need to learn technological skills to use the new media and computer technologies to subsist in the new high-tech economy and to form our own cultures and communities; and youth especially need street smarts and survival skills to cope with the drugs, violence, and uncertainty in today's predatory culture (McLaren 1995).

It is therefore extremely important for the future of democracy to make sure that youth of all classes, races, genders, and regions gain access to new technology, receiving training in media and computer literacy skills in order to provide the opportunities to enter the high-tech job market and society of the future, and to prevent an exacerbation of class, gender, and race inequalities. And while multiple forms of new literacies will be necessary, traditional print literacy skills are all the more important in a cyberage of word-processing, information gathering, and Internet communication. Moreover, what I am calling multiple literacy involves training in philosophy, ethics, value thinking, and the humanities which I would argue is necessary now more then ever. Indeed, how the Internet and new technologies will be used depends on the overall education of youth and the skills and interests they bring to the new technologies which can be used to access educational and valuable cultural material, or pornography and the banal wares of cybershopping malls.

Thus, the concept of multiple literacy and the postmodern pedagogy that I envisage would argue that it is not a question of either/or, e.g. either print literacy or media literacy, either the classical curriculum or new curricula, but a question of both/and that preserves the best from classical education, that enhances emphasis on print literacy, but that also develops new literacies to engage the new technologies. Obviously, cyberlife is just one dimension of experience and one still needs to learn to interact in a "real world" of school, jobs, relationships, politics, and other people. Youth -- indeed all of us! -- needs to learn to interact in many dimensions of social reality and to gain a multiplicity of forms of literacy and skills that will enable us to create identities, relationships, and communities that will nurture and develop our full spectrum of potentialities and satisfy a wide array of needs. Our lives are more multidimensional than ever and part of the postmodern adventure is learning to live in a variety of social spaces and to adapt to intense change and transformation. Education too must meet these challenges and both use new technologies to promote education and devise strategies in which new technologies can be used to create a more democratic and egalitarian multicultural society.

Dec 1997


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Online Course Materials for 253A: Education, Technology and Society


References

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