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Updates in Group Developing Transnational Literacies

2011/06/10

Pedagogy beyond the culture wars De-differentiation and the use of technology and popul…

critical literacy,new_media

In recent decades there have been various calls for a pedagogical revolution in universities to address a new technology-savvy generation of students. These developments have been met with concern about the postmodern relativizing of educational achievement and accusations of the ‘dumbing down’ of course content. Moving beyond such culture war divisions between orthodox and progressive worldviews, this article outlines how reference to popular culture and utilization of its styles can result in student re-engagement with traditional learning materials and formats. Drawing on focus group interviews with students from an introductory sociology class that incorporated a specifically designed DVD, we outline the individual and societal benefits of a de-differentiated pedagogy that combines traditional rationalist education with more playful forms of learning that directly link with students’ life-worlds.

A global knowledge economy? Biopolitical strategies in India and the European Union

innovation,globalization,economy

This article critiques the notion of a cross-national convergence of institutional and policy responses to science-based technologies. The continued significance of institutional legacies is demonstrated through a comparative analysis of strategies for the biopharma industry in two radically different settings: India and the European Union (EU). Tensions are evident in both the EU ‘high’ route and the mixed strategy pursued in India. State promotion of biopharma is seen in India as a pathway to economic development, framed by a vision of India as a global power. Here, the ‘low’ route of cost advantages is combined with a ‘global’ rhetoric of innovation, modeled on US experience, and uneven forays into advanced R&D. The pursuit of product innovation was reinforced by India’s adoption of TRIPS-mandated intellectual property rights. In the EU, the aim is an integrated policy and regulatory approach to sustain and legitimize European integration, with the ultimate intent of overtaking the USA.

Mobile communication in the global south

critical literacy,development

Mobile communication has become a common phenomenon in most parts of the world. There are indeed more mobile subscriptions than there are people who use the internet. For many people outside of the metropolitan areas of Europe and North America, this is literally their first use of electronically mediated interaction. This preface to the special issue of New Media & Society examines mobile communication in a global context. Through an overview of eight articles situated in the global south, we describe how mobile communication sheds light upon notions of information, appropriation and development and how it is challenging, and in many cases changing, notions of gender. While the mobile phone reshapes development and micro dynamics of gendered interactions, it is not necessarily a revolutionary tool. Existing power structures may be rearranged, but they are nonetheless quite stable. The analysis of mobile communication in the global south helps us to understand the rise of innovative practices around information and communication technologies and, in turn, enables us to develop theory to understand these emergent empirical realities.

Making art invisible: visual education and the cultural stagnation of neo-liberal ratio…

visart,critical literacy

The popularity of visual literacy may have resulted, in part, from some school authorities rushing the process of determining school curriculum. This article argues that the haste is reflective of pressure placed on educational discourse to conform to neo-liberal reforms of the sector, and is not the result of a careful and complex debate within the education community. In Australia, such reform has contributed to the erosion of visual art as a discrete subject in the general curriculum. The article accounts for the fact that the lack of careful debate may be due to art educators rehearsing tired arguments for retaining the place occupied by visual art, which smack of sentimentality. The author examines the conceptualisation of visual art at a cultural and theoretical level, and argues that by considering the function art has traditionally played in relation to conceptions of human subjectivity, we may disclose the marginalisation of visual art as a signal of much larger threats to political
and economic structures in democratic society. The article considers whether the absorption of ‘art’ within a broader preference for visual communication, graphic design, or design and technology, is symptomatic of a long-term cultural stagnation.

Public libraries, digital literacy and participatory culture – Discourse: Studies in th…

new_media,critical literacy

In recent years public libraries have experimented with user-generated or community-contributed content through the interactive tools of Web 2.0. For some commentators this not just establishes a new relationship between libraries and their publics, but signals the end of information hegemony and an ‘expert paradigm’. Such claims need to be treated with caution. This article argues that public library experiments with user-generated content can be more usefully analysed in the context of wider institutional mandates around literacy, civic engagement and access. This article critically examines some
recent library developments in this field, with a particular focus on Australian libraries.

Global Subjects or Objects of Globalisation? The promotion of global citizenship in org…

globalization,cultural_studies

Sport for Development and Peace (sdp) has been adopted as a ‘development tool’ by Western development practitioners and a growing number of development organisations. Sport is frequently referred to as a ‘global language’ and used to promote international awareness and cross-cultural understanding—two key themes in global citizenship literature. In this paper I examine the language
adopted by organisations promoting sdp—specifically, what sdp organisations say they do as well as the nature and implications of their discourses. Drawing on a large and growing body of literature on global citizenship and post-structuralism, and on post-colonial critiques, I argue that sdp narratives have the potential to reinforce the ‘Othering’ of community members in developing countries and may contribute to paternalistic conceptions of development assistance. In so doing, they weaken the potential for more inclusive and egalitarian forms of global citizenship. The article examines the discourse of sdp organisational material found online and analyses it in the context of broader sport and colonialism literature. The work of SDP organisations is further examined in relation to global citizenship discourse with a focus on the production— and projection—of global subjects, or objects of globalisation, and what this means for development ‘beneficiaries’

The Transnational Governance of Ecuadorian Migration through Co-Development – Maisonave…

transnationalism,development,citizenship,education

The purpose of this paper is to show the relationship between co-development projects with transnational interests and the governance of migration by the Spanish and Ecuadorian governments. On one hand, the emergence of co-development is linked with the political dimension of migration, and therefore, with the challenges that its management poses for both the sending and receiving states. Simultaneously, the state exists in a context of the reconfiguration of its traditional functions, and above all, the manner in which it goes about performing them. For these reasons, co-development projects form part of state governance strategies, based on a special understanding of the nexus between migration and development in European social space, involving international organizations, state governments, and civil society, linked by migratory flows. This is demonstrated in the case of Ecuador and Spain. Since Spain stimulated co-development, the implementation of projects with Ecuador
has been emphasized, due to the dimensions achieved by Ecuadorian migration. Co-development politics and projects are analyzed in this paper as areas of intervention integrated by values, guide lines and cultural understandings about migration, including appropriate forms of control and management.

Discourses on Text Integrity: Information and Interpretation in the Contested Fallout K…

new_media,community

In an effort to further understand the nature of the productive consumption of media fans in an era of digital connectivity, this article expands on Lévy’s (1997) concept of the knowledge community as it applies to fans of the digital-game series Fallout. Lévy proposed that the age of digital-connectivity would usher in knowledge communities where participation was voluntary, aggregate, and democratic. I argue that Baym’s (2000) interpretive and informative practices, which serve as the lynchpins of fan discourse, may be understood as the lynchpins of the knowledge community as well. Further, here
interpretive and informative practices are not only used to build community and negotiate values, but also to define status and position within the contested Fallout knowledge community. By testing the knowledge community against such an environment, and integrating it into previous research on the role of fan labor in an era where producers are increasingly interested in that labor, this article proposes an understanding of the concept that may well add nuance and context beyond the theory’s utopian roots.

Struggles for memory and social-justice education in Latin America – Development in Pra…

education,critical literacy,LatAm

Popular-education programmes conducted by social movements are reshaping politics and education in Latin America. Negotiating with governments, they promote social justice while educationally challenging ‘neo-liberal’ educational standardisation. Moving from a defensive towards an offensive strategy, some movements support themselves economically while developing new educational strategies. They encounter both support and opposition from the social democratic governments in the region. They are at odds with the international bilateral and multilateral organisations that promote neo-liberal top-down policies, and some of these new social movements have moved beyond social action in specific regions and national borders creating regional alliances for their struggle.

DISCOURSES OF THE DIGITAL NATIVE – Information, Communication & Society

new_media,critical literacy

This article emerges from a long-term project investigating the BBC initiative ‘Blast’ – an on- and offline creative resource for teenagers. Designed to ‘inspire and equip’ young people to be creative, the research interrogates the assumptions behind such a resource, particularly in terms of the so-called ‘digital native’, and tests such assumptions against the populations actually using and engaging with it. It finds that the conception of a ‘digital native’ – a technologically enthusiastic, if not technologically literate – teenage population, which is operationalized through the workshop structure of BBC
Blast, rarely filters down to the teenagers themselves. Teenage delegates to the Blast workshops rarely validate interest based on technological facilities, enthusiasm or competency. Instead, it is peer groups and social alignments which shape declarations and, more importantly, enactments of interest. This suggests that while the concept of the ‘digital native’ may be pertinent for generational comparisons of technological use, or is a useful concept for the operationalization of creative media workshops, it is simply not recognized by teenagers to whom it refers, nor does it adequately define use. Further, technological competency and enthusiasm sits uneasily with social and cultural peer group norms, where certain (and very specific) technological competency is socially permitted. This means that the concept of the ‘digital native’ is problematic, if not entirely inadequate. Focusing on the BBC Blast workshops therefore raises some critical questions around teenage motivations to become technologically literate, and the pleasures teenagers articulate in such engagements per se.

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