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MMM – Mediawijs door Media Maken – Media literacy through Making Media


Forthcoming publication “Critical media literacy through making media: A key to participation for young migrants?”

cover Communications journal

This July/August, a special issue of the journal Communications. European Journal of Communication Research will be published on the theme of “Representations of migration: multiple viewpoints on migration in Europe”. This issue is guest-edited by Kevin Smets (Vrije Universiteit Brussels) and Cigdem Bozdag (Kadir Has University).

The issue will feature an article by the MMM team documenting pilot experiences. Below you’ll find the abstract:

Critical media literacy through making media: A key to participation for young migrants?

 Young migrants – particularly refugees – are commonly the object of stereotypical visual media representations, and often have no choice but to position themselves in response to them. This article explores whether making young migrants aware of the politics of representation through media literacy education contributes to strengthening their participation and resilience. We reflect on a media literacy program developed with teachers and 100 students at a Dutch “International Transition Classes” school. The educational program focusses on visual media production using smart phones, raising critical consciousness and promoting civic engagement. Ethnographic data analyzed include field notes, a focus group with teachers, in-depth and informal interviews, student produced footage, and a 10-minute ethnographic film. In our increasingly polarized mediatized world, better recognition of how needs of certain young people diverge depending on how they are situated in racialized, gendered, and classed structures of power is needed to work towards inclusive media literacy education.

media literacy education; young migrants; visual culture; media production; critical consciousness; civic engagement


Rationale of the special issue: Representations of migration: multiple viewpoints on migration in Europe:

Media representation, as the process through which media producers construct certain ‘versions’ of social reality through mediated communication, plays a key role when it comes to minority groups and their position in society. Leading research on media representations of ethnicity and migration, ranging from discursive/linguistic representations (Van Dijk, 1994) to visual representations (Wright, 2010) has revealed the profound impact of these representations. There are, for instance, clear links with issues of racism and the dehumanization of minorities. Since media representations, in the realm of mainstream mass media as well as in the context of social media, play such a vast role, it is important to look beyond representations as mere texts (words and images). Instead, this special issue approaches media representations of migration from multiple epistemological and methodological viewpoints, not only looking at the ‘content’ of (self-)representations but also at its production processes and reception among different societal actors (including those who are being represented). As such, the contributions in this special issue intend to show, on the one hand, how representations ‘operate’ in different media environments and platforms, and on the other hand what media representations ‘do’ in specific social contexts. The editorial introduction will present the topic of representations of migration by first of all giving a brief overview of recent literature on media and migration scholarship, and secondly by arguing for a conceptualization of media representations that incorporates multiple viewpoints by different stakeholders.