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Educommunication: A Theoretical Approach of Studying Media in School Environments

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Educommunication: A Theoretical Approach of Studying Media in School Environments

Abstract

Edu-communication is a field of study founded by the Latin American theoretical currents of liberating pedagogy, popular communication and cultural studies. This essay reviews their foundation and recent theoretical development in Peru. The three fundamental contributions of edu-communication are as follows: recognizing inter-subjectivity as being a critical element for understanding the interactions between individuals and media, the attention assigned to cultural communicative practices and political dimensions, and its focus on the individual rather than on the technological device, deviating from the more instrumental theoretical perspectives.
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EDUCOMMUNICATION: A THEORETICAL
APPROACH OF STUDYING MEDIA IN
SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS
EDUCOMUNICACIÓN: UN ENFOQUE TEÓRICO DEL ESTUDIO DE LOS
MEDIOS EN ENTORNOS ESCOLARES
EDUCOMUNICAÇÃO: UMA ABORDAGEM TEÓRICA DO ESTUDO DOS
MEIOS DE COMUNICAÇÃO EM AMBIENTES ESCOLARES
Julio César Mateus
Doctorando en Comunicación de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona (UPF). Becario del
Departamento de Comunicación y Máster en Estudios Avanzados en Comunicación Social por
la UPF.
E-mail: julio.mateus@upf.edu
María Teresa Quiroz
Profesora principal de la Universidad de Lima (UL). Doctora en Sociología por la Universidad
Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM). Sus trabajos más importantes son: Todas las voces.
Comunicación y educación en el Perú (1993); La edad de la pantalla. Tecnologías interactivas y
jóvenes peruanos (2008), Sin muros. Aprendizajes en la era digital (2013).
E-mail: tquiroz@ulima.edu.pe
153
153
AbstrAct
Edu-communication is a eld of study founded by the Latin American theoretical currents
of liberating pedagogy, popular communication and cultural studies. is essay reviews their
foundation and recent theoretical development in Peru. e three fundamental contribu-
tions of edu-communication are as follows: recognizing inter-subjectivity as being a critical
element for understanding the interactions between individuals and media, the attention
assigned to cultural communicative practices and political dimensions, and its focus on the
individual rather than on the technological device, deviating from the more instrumental
theoretical perspectives.
Keywords: Edu-communication; mEdia Education; Latin amErica; PEru.
rEsUMEN
La educomunicación es un campo de estudio fundado por las corrientes teóricas latinoa-
mericanas de la pedagogía liberadora, la comunicación popular y los estudios culturales.
Este trabajo revisa sus fundamentos y desarrollo reciente en el Perú. Las tres contribuciones
fundamentales de la educomunicación son: el reconocimiento de la intersubjetividad como
elemento crítico para la comprensión de las interacciones entre individuos y medios, la aten-
ción a las prácticas culturales comunicativas y su dimensión política, así como su enfoque
centrado en las personas antes que en los dispositivos tecnológicos, diferenciándose de otras
perspectivas más instrumentales.
PaLabras cLavE: Educomunicación; Educación mEdiática; américa Latina; PErú.
rEsUMO
A educomunicação é um campo de estudo fundado por correntes teóricas latino-americanas
da pedagogia libertadora, da comunicação popular e dos estudos culturais. Este trabalho revê
os seus fundamentos e o desenvolvimento recente no Peru. As três contribuições fundamen-
tais de educomunicação são: o reconhecimento da intersubjetividade como um elemento
crítico para a compreensão das interações entre indivíduos e os media, a atenção às práticas
culturais de comunicação e a sua dimensão política, bem como o seu foco primeiramente
centrado nas pessoas do que nos dispositivos tecnológicos, opondo-se às teorias mais instru-
mentais.
PaLavras-chavE: Educomunicação; Educação dE mídia; américa Latina; PEru.
154
2. A Brief Historical Review
Since there is evidence regarding educommu-
nication from the rst half of the twentieth cen-
tury in terms of initiatives and projects in dier-
ent parts of the world, it is impossible to attribute
a specic nationality to this concept. For political
and idiomatic reasons, the Anglo-Saxon con-
cept of “Media Literacy” became the most wide-
spread. Even today, it is almost impossible to nd
publications in English related to Latin Ameri-
can authors—including Mario Kaplún, Francisco
Gutiérrez, or Daniel Prieto Castillo—who be-
gan developing the concept of educommunica-
tion during the 1960s. Other Southern authors,
such as Paulo Freire, Luis Ramiro Beltrán, Jesús
Martín-Barbero, or Néstor Garcia-Canclini, have
achieved more recognition, albeit delayed.
Educommunication diers from others in its
focus on the political and cultural dimensions of
the communicational processes, considered to be
a characteristic feature of the theories developed
in Latin America. Various authors agree about
the existence of a paradigm in communication
research conceived from this region (Barran-
quero, 2011; Waisbord, 2014; Dutta, 2015). is
development is a product of a set of “historical
singularities”—military dictatorships, economic
dependency, cultural imperialism, exclusion of
popular sectors—which conceived communi-
cation as being a instrument central to social
change and entrenchment in the democratic sys-
tem. (Barranquero, 2011, p. 4).
In addition to the aforementioned “historical
singularities,” the process of theoretical construc-
tion of a Latin American paradigm was marked
by its fundamental criticism about the hegemon-
ic paradigms of those years, similar to Harold
Lasswell’s functionalism or Everett Rogers’ diu-
sionist approach. As indicated by Beltran (2004),
the Latin American theorists were the rst to
contradict these ideas that dominated the com-
1. Introducción
e increasing penetration of mass media since
the middle of the previous century has created
an intense bond with the school as a site for ex-
perimentation and the society’s cultural forma-
tion. e most recent technological innovations
have invigorated this relationship by alternating
between two theoretical interests: on the one
hand, it explains how media can contribute in
improving the learning quality, and on the oth-
er hand, it describes the method of empower-
ing citizens to live in a mediated environment.
From this dual interest, during the mid-80s, a
theoretical eld called educommunication has
developed in Latin America, and currently con-
stitutes a dynamic line of research with a life of
its own. Initially, it was a eld where the dis-
ciplines of education and communication con-
verged; subsequently, it became a eld of inter-
disciplinary interest with theoretical tensions.
is article addresses these issues. We present
the Latin American characteristics of educom-
munication from its origins to contemporary
times and its recent development with respect
to academic output in Peru.
At the outset, it is important to recognize that
there is great conceptual dispersion in referring
to the same problem of the study, that is, the re-
lationship between media and school. Concepts
such as media education or media pedagogy;
media, visual, or informational literacy; new
literacies; and digital or informational skills ap-
pear in the literature, sometimes as synonyms
or as dierent models. For the purpose of clar-
ity, we dene educommunication as being a
theoretical eld interested in the dialogic rela-
tionship between media (so-called “mass” or
“traditional,” “new” or “social,” or “information
and communication technology [ICT]”) and its
impact on the educational environment or on
its main actors: students, teachers, and parents.
155
these traits nurtured the educommunicative ap-
proach.
3. eoretical Bases of Educommunication
In 1980, with the UNESCO’s publication of
the McBride report, two important points are
indicated: rst, the need of a fairer global com-
municative model is institutionalized, wherein
the marginalized countries—which includes the
Latin American countries—have a relevant par-
ticipation in the production of messages, and
second, the recognition of certain media inu-
ences over people initiated a cross-disciplinary
convergence between education and communi-
cation. is convergence, which acquired the la-
bel of educommunication in Latin America, was
introduced in response to media power with the
objective of providing students with the tools to
develop a critical reception. ereon, Ismar de
Oliveira (2009) denes educommunication as
being a dialog eld on four issues: qualied re-
ception, popular education, collective articula-
tion for social change, and its recognition as a
right that must be included in public policies, in
recent years.
A theoretical reference for educommunica-
tion is the work of Paulo Freire; this is because it
rescues the political dimension of social change-
oriented education and its liberating function,
which enables students to produce and con-
struct knowledge related to their environment
through dialog. Furthermore, Freire (1970) crit-
icized the vertical and authoritarian sense of the
education system, proposing the construction
of a dialog enriched by the students’ experiences
and their way of viewing the world. Likewise,
he highlighted the orality as being the begin-
ning which links the learner’s emotion with the
written word, introducing new types of textual-
ity beyond the canonical. In its proposal, com-
munication is not limited to the printed culture,
but includes all the orality and media that al-
munication studies: “e gross failure of the clas-
sic development model was soon acknowledged
everywhere. […] ere was now ample recogni-
tion that without major structural changes secur-
ing equity, within nations and between nations,
a genuine, democratic, and widespread develop-
ment was impossible.
e failure of many projects supported by these
models facilitated the creation of alternative pro-
posals; this further led to the emergence of com-
munication for social change founded on the
ideas of popular participation and the empow-
erment of citizens through the appropriation of
media (Dutta, 2015).
According to Waisbord (2014), in contrast to
the academy in the USA or Europe, the research
in Latin American communication shares com-
mon theoretical roots, built from an interdisci-
plinary, and not limited, interest in the study of
human communication, a subject that occupied
the main scientic interest of “developed” coun-
tries. is feature allowed a more dynamic—and
sometimes chaotic—view of the mass communi-
cation phenomena and the technological impact
on social life, analyzed from more complex cul-
tural and political perspectives.
While the global impact of the theory pro-
duced in Latin America has been limited—due
to the epistemological marginalization of ap-
proaches dierent from positivists or function-
alists, the existence of a scarce dialog between
Northern and Southern authors, and the cul-
tural barriers that have prevented its proper
broadcasting—some of its constituent elements
have also been recognized: the insistent search
between theory and practice, critical nature of
its production, its interest in power relations or
the censorship of the communicative depen-
dency and its research agenda based on culture,
identity, or social and political development is-
sues, among other characteristic features (Bar-
ranquero, 2011). It is observed that many of
156
system leads to the emergence of a dierent cul-
ture, dierent manner of viewing and reading,
and dierent manner of learning and knowing.
e defensive attitude is limited to identifying the
best of the traditional teaching model with the
book and anathematizing the audiovisual world
as a world of frivolity, alienation, and manipula-
tion (Martín-Barbero, 2003) For Martín-Barbe-
ro, new cultures and other methods of viewing
and reading as well as learning and knowing
emerge. Mass media alters the hierarchies and
circuits of knowledge within the family (to pro-
vide access to all types of information, for exam-
ple, as media promotes childrens participation in
the aairs of the elders) and school (to break the
rigid sequentiality with which information was
delivered). On similar lines, he emphasizes that
these changes constitute dening “revolutionary
movements” that indicate the need for upgrading
an educational system that does not respond to
the social system, where media plays a dynamic
cultural role at all levels.
Finally, for supporting popular communica-
tion, Latin American educommunication un-
dertakes a fundamental role of reducing social
inequalities and overcoming the obstacles to
accessing knowledge, ideas from which diverse
tele-education projects emerged mainly through
community radio stations. e disinterest of
many Latin American governments to provide
quality education—understood as training of
critical citizens—stoked the need of using mass
media for these purposes. Media, from this per-
spective, is seen as an opportunity for encoun-
ter, expression, and citizenship training; further,
educommunication was interested in these pro-
cesses (which include citizen journalism and lit-
eracy through media experiences) (Renó, 2015).
To summarize, educommunication proposes
its model based on dialog—as an expression of
horizontal communication—and the recogni-
tion of political and cultural contexts from which
lows free expression for individuals.
Len Masterman (2001), British theorist of Me-
dia Literacy, published a conceptual framework
that acknowledges the inuence of educational
thought of Freire and allows us to identify at least
ve relevant aspects that act as theoretical prem-
ises of educommunication: (i) the recognition
of media messages as social constructions; (ii)
the development of self-hermeneutic languages,
codes, genres, and conventions of any type of
text; (iii) the role that the audience plays in nego-
tiating the meaning of textual signiers; (iv) the
problematization of the representation process in
media linked to power and ideology issues; and
(v) the political, economic, and cultural impact
of a for-prot media industry existence.
Another pivotal reference to the educommu-
nicative proposal, from the cultural studies, is
proposed by Martín-Barbero who stated that
printing had dened a paradigm of commu-
nication marked by the linearity of the written
text, which determined the development of the
modern school institution. is linear model re-
sulted—as criticized by Freire—in subordination
of learners to reading one unique type of text,
i.e., the printed text. In this context, the school
has consistently refused to accept the cultural
o-centering traversed by the book as an intel-
lectual hub and as a privileged tool for accessing
information, ignoring the changes in the circu-
lation paths of knowledge as a profound social
transformation. Further, that is where the second
dynamic that congures the communicative eco-
system in which we are engaged is situated: it is
dispersed and fragmented, and it can circulate
outside the sacred places and social gures who
administered it. Moreover, the school orients to-
ward adopting defensive attitudes against com-
munication ambients that are extraneous to edu-
cation or toward disguising underlying problems
with technology:
e challenge posed by a communicative eco-
157
consumption of mass media among students was
initially motivated by a growing concern among
teachers and parents, as well as educational au-
thorities, regarding the eects that audiovisual
media consumption could produce among stu-
dents (Quiroz, 2013). It became increasingly
more logical to think that education is not only
a pedagogical and psychological process through
which one can acquire knowledge but is also me-
dia that broadens the perspective of the world,
impacting the methods of socialization and
communication, value reality, as well as certain
behavioral patterns and attitudes. According
to Marshall McLuhan (1957), the walls of the
schools begin to erode with the intrusion of me-
dia into peoples lives.
e initial researches allowed the confron-
tation of the immediatist vision regarding the
harmful eects of media on the youth. Similarly,
they inspired and promoted further studies in
extracurricular areas that young people associ-
ate with media and the weight of these condi-
tions while interpreting the changes that arose.
e images and sounds supported by media al-
lowed for new perspectives and knowledge of
the outside world, permeating the imagination
of children and youngsters, accustomed to the
discourse imposed by adults. Technologies are
conceived as supporting new links and new pos-
sibilities of access and knowledge production. At
all times and from the beginning, the purpose
was mainly to rethink education by integrating
new resources to achieve a quality education, to
abandon moralistic stances and convictions of
media, and focus on the points of the necessary
transformations that education should promote.
As noted by Martín-Barbero, the most useful
theoretical approaches hinder the understanding
of cultures originating outside the school system
or the ones that are expressed in media:
e divorce of the culture used by teach-
ers to think and talk from the culture that
it conceives learning as being a liberating pro-
cess that assumes knowledge to be a collective
creation. It endorses the concept that society is
inherently mediated and that the school can-
not be a mute spectator when faced with such a
condition. Considering this view, media plays a
mediation or intermediation role that does not
necessarily facilitate the communication pro-
cess but creates new problems and challenges
which require more complex viewings. us, this
theoretical perspective discusses the notion that
technology is, implicitly, an end in itself, and in-
stead, it proposes a dialogic approach based on
communication as a tool for reection and not
just for the transmission of content along with
the consequences that it entails. (Barbas, 2012)
4. Research on educommunication
In Peru, education is a recurring topic on the
local research agenda for two important reasons:
the poor results obtained by the country in in-
ternational tests, such as the PISA report, and
the growing penetration of media technologies
in society. us, this leads to, on the one hand, a
stronger discussion regarding the quality of edu-
cational service in the country, and on the other
hand, the urgency to have public policies about
educational technology. Since the 1990s, succes-
sive governments initiated large-scale technol-
ogy purchase projects: models of satellite tele-
education, the creation of technological resource
centers (computer laboratories) and one-on-one
projects, such as One Laptop per Child (OLPC).
is stimulated the development of empirical
research aimed at evaluating the communicative
processes, based on the access and characteristics
of media use, as well as for recognizing the mate-
rial and symbolic barriers presented by the inte-
gration and technological appropriation process-
es in school contexts. is evidence has allowed a
dialog between authors and various theories.
Work assessing the availability, access, and
158
nication process decisively mediates the way in
which power relationships are constructed and
challenged in every domain of social practice, in-
cluding political practice.” (Castells, 2009, p. 4).
In the eld of communication, Latin American
authors have been busy building a political per-
spective on media and its role in society. Martín-
Barbero (1993, 2006) proposed a theory of me-
diation1 in which the people have a vital role in
negotiating the meaning as well as in creating an
identity from the messages produced by media.
Unlike the functionalist proposal, Martín-Bar-
bero (2006) defends peoples ability to resist, ap-
propriate, and subvert these messages: “e place
that culture occupies in society altered when the
technological mediation of communication was
discontinued from being merely instrumental to
becoming structural” (p. 285).
Carlos Scolari (2015) believes that the concept
of mediation allowed for a central category of
analysis beyond the communicative eld, pre-
senting culture as a negotiation process and sym-
bolic transaction. Additionally, he proposes that
the interventions can be understood as cultural
interfaces in which it is possible to analyze the
interactions of people to learn about their per-
ceptions and desires so that media can propose
dialogs with their users from representations that
are part of the popular culture. us, the theory
of mediations bridges gaps with other contempo-
rary theories such as the theory of convergence of
Jenkins et al. (2009) as they reject technological
determinism and underscore the role of media as
creators of culture. Further, they focus on people
and not on technological artifacts.
All theoretical production in educommuni-
cation, so far, had prioritized mass media. e
considerable growth of the Internet and the de-
1 As noted by Couldry & Hepp (2013): Martin-Barbero “decisively
opened the door to a “media research” that traversed a wider domain
of inquiry than only mass media messages, although sadly his book
remained little noticed in the English-speaking communications re-
search eld for more than a decade aer its translation.” (p. 194).
the youth uses to perceive and sense grows
deeper every day. In the meanwhile, the
school attempts to cover its communication
crisis by implementing rituals of techno-
logical modernization and by reducing its
conict, with the audiovisual and computer
cultures, to a discourse of moral lamenta-
tions (Quiroz, 1993, p. 17).
Educommunication provides a perspective
that exceeds the moralist and defensive criticism
against media, and particularly, against televi-
sion, which has led to gaining control of its con-
tent or regulating its consumption in schools. For
educommunication, the critical use of television
and other media triggers participation allowing
new senses and meanings. is implies the con-
sideration of the public in its heterogeneity, given
the unequal distribution of material and symbol-
ic goods, and admitting that the link between us-
ers and media is not primarily rational and cog-
nitive but emotional. e critical reception leads
to a perspective that signies the return to the
subject and its logical and crucial possibilities;
this issue will be much more important for the
development of the Internet. Nowadays, the dis-
cussion regarding the genuine role that audiences
perform prevails and demands more theoretical
attention because of its dynamic statute. (Liv-
ingstone, 2015) In a similar manner, nowadays,
the role of collective participation is discussed:
Participatory culture shis the focus of literacy
from one of individual expression to community
involvement (Jenkins et al., 2009, p. 4).
From the educommunication perspective,
technology has always played an important social
role, linked to notions of progress and power. e
control of the technological means and the cul-
tural changes generated through them are topics
of great interest to the social science and political
science disciplines. Manuel Castells, in his book
Communication Power, argues that “the commu-
159
and political hegemonic discourse, the access
perspective prevails (Mansell, in press).
For multilateral organizations such as the
World Bank, incorporation of technologies in
schools is “the most expeditious, economical, and
extended manner of reducing the digital divide
internally within the country and also between
countries. It is precisely in schools, especially in
public schools, where access can be democra-
tized” (Sunkel, Trucco & Espejo, 2013, p. 5). Con-
sequently, investment in educational technology
is worth millions of dollars in the Latin Ameri-
can region. Considering the approach to skills,
the type of digital skills that the new generations
should be trained with and, above all, the pur-
pose of such training (whether to be consumers,
citizens, or both) is debated world over. As noted
by Warschauer (2010), the digital divide is not
binary but involves several degrees of control. In
the same way, it is also not limited to the supply
of computers or Internet but implies observing
new ways of creating a sense in multimodal and
multimedial forms.
ere is consensus in various authors that to-
day’s digital divide is a complex problem of social
inclusion that incorporates the three approaches,
not in an exclusive but in a combined manner:
access, use, and appropriation. e role that me-
dia plays, as a facilitator and promoter of par-
ticipation and collaboration cannot, however, be
exempt from a critical perspective about every-
thing that involves participation. e production
of personal data or media content of a dierent
kind in transmedia platforms also entails prob-
lems related to ethical or legal aspects and must
be part of media educational oer that should ex-
ist in schools.
e second concept under discussion was the
digital native, which allowed for extensive—but
valid—debating and sharp criticism for being
founded on a biologic and children essentializing
premise, as if digital abilities were innate with-
velopment of new mobile technologies led to
a new phase of cultural acceleration that had a
denitive impact on the school; moreover, new
discourses focused on school revolution owing
to the integration of digital devices that aim to
solve all emerging educational problems. e
school becomes a test to demonstrate the method
in which technology can positively impact soci-
ety and therefore occupies an important place in
the contemporary theoretical debate. Education
begins technologizing its speech focusing on the
importance of devices: rst through computers
and subsequently through portable technologies
such as laptops and more recently through tablets
and phablets. But while educational authorities
discussed the best method of assimilating these
new media in the classroom, technological pen-
etration in society continues to erode the culture
at a dierent pace: from the manner of accessing
information, previously limited to books, to even
the way we communicate, with a resignication
of time and space.
5. Digital Gaps and Natives: Concepts
under Discussion
eoretically, it has been widely reported that
two concepts were incorporated into the research
and discussed from the eld of educommunica-
tion. On the one hand, the concept of digital di-
vide, which explains the asymmetries in access
and appropriation of digital technologies and
their consequences (Warschauer, 2010), and on
the other hand, digital native, which explains the
behavior and attitudes of a generation born in a
highly-digitized environment (Prensky, 2001a,
2001b). All this was accompanied by a narrative
of society 2.0, which became the epitome of theo-
retical production since then.
e digital divide concept is based on three
successive approaches: physical access, the ability
to use new technology and the customs and prac-
tices generated by technologies. In the scientic
160
istence of discursive and practical dierences
among school actors: students, teachers, and par-
ents. For example, many opportunities that the
Internet provides for the development of knowl-
edge, access to modernity and even globaliza-
tion, according to parents, are far from the con-
crete practices of students, who nd a space to
recreate the relationship with their peers in this
situation by playing, experimenting and having
fun (Ames, 2015; Quiroz, 2013). Indeed, “the
main reason for using a computer is recreation,
through games and consumption of media; they
base in this their almost immediate assessment of
the potential of the XO-12in its ability to facilitate
these tasks” (Villanueva & Olivera, 2012).
Another signicant erosion, advised by Martín-
Barbero in his theory of mediation, is related to
the reconguration of power. e growing pres-
ence of ICT acquires a particular dimension in
day-to-day practice: “now children and adoles-
cents are the ones who know the most, not adults,
which inverts a well-established knowledge hier-
archy” (Ames, 2016, p. 13). Similarly, the evidence
collected in the Peruvian case allows the recogni-
tion that many of the practices of technology inte-
gration tend to be arbitrary. ey do not consider
the voice of the actors and end up causing severe
distortions in social structures; they undermine
the gure of teachers against students or parents
against teachers (Cano, 2015; Mateus, 2015).
Additionally, a “contemporary myth” shared by
parents and students leading them to have a high
degree of trust on the internet as a quick solution
to the problems (Quiroz, 2013) has been estab-
lished. In the same way, they believe that “knowl-
edge that is accessed through traditional education
is not sucient and that this is required to have
an added value, which is obtained through new
2 It is the name given to the laptops used by the project One Laptop
per Child, which Peru was part of. Other countries in the region par-
ticipated in the project too: “Plan Ceibal” is conducted in Uruguay
and “Conectar Igualdad” in Argentina, among other projects.
out considering cultural and political variables
that distinguish types of access and use (Helsper
& Eynon, 2009; Quiroz, 2013; Ames, 2016). As
demonstrated theoretically and empirically,
children and young people surng the Internet
quickly, for downloading music, online gaming,
and searching information does not imply that
they are ready to take full advantage of ICT or
that they can handle it all that well for access and
knowledge production purposes (Ames, 2016).
Prensky (2010), almost 10 years aer coining the
term, partially acknowledged that its theoretical
denition deserved a review.
6. Cultural Transformations: Some Findings
in Peruvian schools
In the last decade, Peruvian researchers (Ames,
2014, 2016; Cano, 2015; Mateus, 2015; Quiroz
2013; Trinidad, 2005; Trinidad & Zlachesvsky,
2013; Villanueva y Olivera, 2012) were inter-
ested in understanding the cultural transforma-
tions caused by media technologies. e prevail-
ing methodology of their work is ethnographic,
which allows focusing on the inter-subjectivity of
the actors in more detail. In addition to exploring
uses and practices, they incorporated the symbol-
ic dimension for explaining the meaning of me-
dia technologies in everyday use. Peggy Ertmer
(1999) noted the need of addressing two types of
barriers that prevent the integration of ICT in the
educational context: rst-class—extrinsic, relat-
ing to time, access to resources, and training that
the actors possess—and second-class—intrinsic,
which refer to the attitudes, beliefs, and resis-
tance. While relations between the two barriers
are interdependent (Bingimlas, 2009), there is a
theoretical interest in understanding the subjec-
tive considerations by the educational actors, as
they seem to be “signicant predictors” of success
or failure of technology integration in the school
ecosystem (Mueller & Wood, 2012).
Successive studies have demonstrated the ex-
161
in Grünwald, in 1982; in Paris, in 2007; and in
Braga, in 2011 have insisted on the requirement
of explicitly betting on a primary media educa-
tion that is intended to empower citizens to fully
exercise their freedom in a democratic state. Seen
as a fundamental civic requirement, the theoreti-
cal eld of educommunication is valid as well as
necessary to understand, from a less instrumen-
tal and more dialogic perspective, the role of me-
dia in contemporary society, characterized by an
increasing medialization.
Meanwhile, much of the research produced in
Western countries focuses on evaluating the e-
ciency of media to convey messages, or in the eld
of education, to improve the quality of learning; in
the South, however, over the last decade, research
has mainly focused on understanding the com-
plexity of the interactions between people and me-
dia from a cultural and political perspective. e
educational context has been an important space
for understanding these practices and the corre-
lation between a greater technological penetra-
tion—in and out of the school—and certain edu-
cational results—both in the acquisition of specic
media skills and the construction of shared mean-
ings about these technological practices.
e educommunication eld has proved to be
a fertile territory for problematizing the tensions
generated by the penetration of technological
media in the society; however, it has been poorly
disseminated, which has resulted in only a limited
impact. Many Latin American states have focused
on the execution of large-scale projects related to
the purchase of technologies to solve educational
problems, without understanding the cultural and
political consequences derived from this. Some
of these projects, such as the OLPC in the Peru-
vian case, proved to be a failure, similar to what
several diusionist projects had faced decades be-
fore. “Unfortunately, the introduction of XO seven
years ago did not change the inequalities that Pe-
ruvian education suers from: poorer schools still
technologies” (Trinidad, 2005, p. 14). For them,
technologies represent the opportunity of know-
ing the world and, perhaps by doing so, compen-
sating for the enormous scarcities resulting from
the poor educational quality of public schools in
the country. On the other hand, for many teachers,
ICT represents too much of a pressure, which in
many cases leads them to reject them and experi-
ence fear (Mateus, 2015). erefore, the criticism
made by the limited impact of the technologies in
schools, condensed on the idea that they insist on
the same transmissive and unidirectional practic-
es, but using new devices. is is another conse-
quence of top–down technological interventions
that neither serves the socio-cultural contexts nor
the perceptions of the actors.
e interaction of individuals with media—as
cultural products—constitutes a formative expe-
rience. Even though we discuss the essentialism
of the concept of the digital native, we agree on
the idea that the own interaction is educational
in itself: Individuals, acquire an awareness about
certain languages and codes that we then imitate,
but this is in addition to the commercial dimen-
sion of media or at least it is suspected as such.
Research with children who, in a self-taught
manner, learn to create and consume certain me-
dia content on dierent platforms permeated by
advertising revealed that they could develop an
ability to identify it, especially when it is intrusive
and interferes with their recreational purposes
(Trinidad & Zlachesvsky, 2013, p. 172) While
we discussed the concept of essentialism digital
native, we agree on the idea that the interaction
itself is educational: In this regard, several coun-
tries in the region, including Peru, have begun to
dene media skills that are required for this pur-
pose in their national curricula.
To Conclude: Educommunications
7. Contribution
Multilateral statements promoted by UNESCO
162
have poorer education, and their very poverty and
lack of resources prevents a better use of this new
resource” (Ames, 2015, p. 6374). Technology inte-
gration policies imposed top–down are, according
to evidence, counter-productive.
In brief, we can indicate three fundamental
ideas from the eld of educommunication. First,
the interest in knowing the voice of the actors
that implies the recovery of inter-subjectivity as
a basic notion for studying the impact of tech-
nology on society. e eciency in the transmis-
sion of content is evident, in a functionalist sense
but fathoming the emotions and the particular
worldviews of each individual, as proposed by
Freire is dicult. Second, educommunication
serves the political and cultural dimensions of
communicative practices, which means explor-
ing how the power relations and hierarchies alter
in the spaces where the meanings of technolo-
gies, their content, and the processes involved
are negotiated. ird, educommunication ac-
cords priority to the human being as an objective
and, as such, ensures that it is of importance not
only as a consumer but also as a citizen; further,
it seeks empowerment rather than protectionism
because it believes that the education of free indi-
viduals with high critical sense is possible.
Finally, it is important to remember that me-
dia education is the result of an interdisciplinary
convergence: the problem of technology integra-
tion as well as ownership, skills development, and
training of critical subjects, demand more than
a communication theory, a theory of interaction
that combines theoretical contributions.
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Recebimento: 22/03/2017
Aprovação: 23/06/2017
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The study of media audiences has long been hotly contested regarding their supposed power to construct shared meanings, to mitigate or moderate media influences, or to complete or resist the circuit of culture. Transformations in the media environment add further grounds for contestation over audience activity or passivity, so-called, given the increasing mediation and digitalization of all dimensions of modern societies. Yet despite such persistent contestation, audiences are often taken for granted within communication theory as, implicitly, an invisible and indivisible mass. The article notes that the audience project-and thus a grounded recognition of significance of ordinary people's collective and individual experiences of living in a digital age-seemingly must be reasserted for each generation of scholarship, rearticulating their role in relation to each new phase of sociotechnological change and, perhaps most interesting, reflexively rethinking "audiencing" as the very conditions of modernity are globally reconfigured. After reflecting on the possibility that Western audience researchers have come to take for granted the wider context of audiences' lives, the article observes that one benefit of globalization is a renewed necessity for researchers to articulate that which is taken for granted and thus seek ways to reinsert audiences into the wider analysis of the circuit of culture.
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The role of communication in planned social change is portrayed as a linear conduit for inducing pro-development behavior change in the “undeveloped” world. Later versions of social change communication started incorporating culture and participation into multicultural participatory development programs. This essay suggests that development discourses, including their later incarnations incorporating culture and participation, serve as vehicles for capitalist market promotion. These new forms of planned social change communication, scripted in the narratives of local empowerment, community-based participation, and entrepreneurship, work to systematically erase subaltern communities. Building on the theoretical framework of the culture-centered approach (CCA), I examine the ways in which dialogues with the margins of development discourse resist these dominant conceptual categories of development. The subaltern, standing in for the popular, resists neoliberal interventions through her active participation in popular politics.