danah boyd om media literacy
En läsvärd, och tankeväckande, essä av danah boyd (eg. hennes keynote vid SXSW Edu nyligen). Hon tycker, från amerikansk horisont, att media literacy i klassisk mening, eller källkritik, faktakoll osv inte räcker långt inför de nya utmaningarna. Det handlar om ett kulturkrig, olika epistemologier, som behöver hanteras med bredare ansatser. Fakta överbryggar inte polarisering, eller tilltagande ”gaslighting”, hackande av uppmärksamhetsekonomin och ”weaponization” av misstänksamhet mot etablissemangets ”sanningar” som alltfler nu driver på, ofta med bäring långt in i bl.a ungdomskulturen. Att exempelvis kräva mediekritik av ungdomar, för att i nästa andetag förkasta deras ifrågasättanden, är bara en av många paradoxala positioner man lätt hamnar i. boyd tycker att läget är mycket knepigt, men hon har några förslag om vart pedagogiken borde gå, det cirklar kring ”cognitive strength”, ”help students truly appreciate epistemological differences”, ”conversations about confirmation bias”. I grund och botten olika ”cognitive strengthening exercises”.
Hon utgår från detta citat av Cory Doctorow:
We’re not living through a crisis about what is true, we’re living through a crisis about how we know whether something is true. We’re not disagreeing about facts, we’re disagreeing about epistemology. The “establishment” version of epistemology is, “We use evidence to arrive at the truth, vetted by independent verification (but trust us when we tell you that it’s all been independently verified by people who were properly skeptical and not the bosom buddies of the people they were supposed to be fact-checking).”
The “alternative facts” epistemological method goes like this: “The ‘independent’ experts who were supposed to be verifying the ‘evidence-based’ truth were actually in bed with the people they were supposed to be fact-checking. In the end, it’s all a matter of faith, then: you either have faith that ‘their’ experts are being truthful, or you have faith that we are. Ask your gut, what version feels more truthful?”
”What’s common about the different approaches I’m suggesting is that they are designed to be cognitive strengthening exercises, to help students recognize their own fault lines, not the fault lines of the media landscape around them. I can imagine that this too could be called media literacy and if you want to bend your definition that way, I’ll accept it. But the key is to realize the humanity in ourselves and in others. We cannot and should not assert authority over epistemology, but we can encourage our students to be more aware of how interpretation is socially constructed. And to understand how that can be manipulated. Of course, just because you know you’re being manipulated doesn’t mean that you can resist it. And that’s where my proposal starts to get shaky.
Let’s be honest — our information landscape is going to get more and more complex. Educators have a critical role to play in helping individuals and societies navigate what we encounter. But the path forward isn’t about doubling down on what constitutes a fact or teaching people to assess sources. Rebuilding trust in institutions and information intermediaries is important, but we can’t assume the answer is teaching students to rely on those signals. The first wave of media literacy was responding to propaganda in a mass media context. We live in a world of networks now. We need to understand how those networks are intertwined and how information that spreads through dyadic — even if asymmetric — encounters is understood and experienced differently than that which is produced and disseminated through mass media.
Above all, we need to recognize that information can, is, and will be weaponized in new ways. Today’s propagandist messages are no longer simply created by Madison Avenue or Edward Bernays-style State campaigns. For the last 15 years, a cohort of young people has learned how to hack the attention economy in an effort to have power and status in this new information ecosystem. These aren’t just any youth. They are young people who are disenfranchised, who feel as though the information they’re getting isn’t fulfilling, who struggle to feel powerful. They are trying to make sense of an unstable world and trying to respond to it in a way that is personally fulfilling. Most youth are engaged in invigorating activities. Others are doing the same things youth have always done. But there are youth out there who feel alienated and disenfranchised, who distrust the system and want to see it all come down. Sometimes, this frustration leads to productive ends. Often it does not. But until we start understanding their response to our media society, we will not be able to produce responsible interventions. So I would argue that we need to start developing a networked response to this networked landscape. And it starts by understanding different ways of constructing knowledge.”