Engagement with the mainstream media and the relationship to political literacy: The influence of hegemonic education on democracy

Paul R Carr, Gary W. J. Pluim, Lauren Howard


This article focuses on teacher candidates' perspectives of media literacy in the context of education for democracy as a possibility to enlighten students to address the mainstream media’s predisposition towards the neoliberal privatization and corporatization of education. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative data from research at two campuses of a university in Ontario, Canada, we illustrate how this sample of future educators demonstrates a normative inclination to embed media literacy in their teaching; however, real barriers exist that can diminish their engagement with controversial issues, alternative media, and, even, democratic education, and education for democracy, itself. This contradiction, we argue, underscores the difference between media awareness that many teacher candidates possess, and media literacy, a quality that requires greater focus at education institutions. Set against the backdrop of the television news media’s largely imperceptible neoliberal predisposition towards education, education for democracy must necessarily incorporate a critical approach that enables future teachers to identify and critique the mainstream media’s support of, and entanglement with, the neoliberal cooptation of education. The article ends with several proposals to address the democratic deficits created through limited engagement with media literacy.



Democracy; Mainstream Media; Media Literacy; Teacher Education; Political Literacy; Education for Democracy; Neoliberalism; Corporatization; Privatization; Media

Full Text: PDF

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education