Why Critical Media Literacy?

Today, media culture is one of the most dominant forces in society. It contributes to defining our sense of self, driving our understanding of the ‘Other,’ and providing “symbols, myths and resources” for generating a common culture (Kellner, 1995). Mass media has become the corporate and political elites' domain to consolidate their power. Through the world of entertainment, corporate media control the content, production, and distribution of cultural texts, while simultaneously using their influence to gain control over the production of knowledge in such social outlets as cyberspace, newscasts, and political spectacles.  Consequently, mass media supports the corporate elite's ideologies and practices and denigrates and ignores what cannot fulfill their agendas (McChesney, 1999, 2008). 

Corporate elites infiltrate the lived, experiential worlds of consumers in order to sell their goods and services and perpetuate a corporatist worldview. Despite this power, some youth, schoolteachers and citizens not only hold the critical capacity to use Western cultural products as reflective tools to critique formations and values ensconced within their own society, but they have also remade themselves as social advocates who are committed to challenging the constitutive forces and actors behind corporate control over segments of our social life. 

In this vein, this conference is designed to aid educational leaders, current and future teachers, youth, and other concerned citizens in their understanding of the mass media and its impact on the events that shape our lives.  
Promoting media literacy is essential to excavating social inequalities and fostering participatory democracy during the 21st century.


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