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N° 22 | Questioning public policies in media education

Special issue editors: Sabine Bosler (Université de Haute-Alsace, Cresat) Isabelle Féroc Dumez (Université de Poitiers, Techne), Sarah Labelle (Université Paris 13, LabSIC) Marlène Loicq (UPEC, Céditec, Présidente du Centre d’études sur les jeunes et les médias) and Aude Seurrat (Université Paris 13, LabSIC) | May 2021

This special issue, initiated by The Center for Youth and Media Studies (Centre d’études sur les jeunes et les médias), aims at confronting theoretical, epistemological, axiological and socio-political positions that orient research on public policies in media education. The articles may address the question of public policies at different levels (local, territorial, national and international); authors are invited to question the relations between public policies, various apparatuses (related to education, the media or to the economic field, for instance) and stakeholders (politicians, educators, scientists, students…).

A general movement in favour of media education emerged in the eighties at the local, national and international level. In many countries, educational reforms enabled the creation of programs dedicated to it. Depending on the context, they were more or less integrated or transversal, responding to different strategies, and unevenly deployed. More and more countries have progressively developed media education in their curricula. They are supported by institutional discourses and prescriptive programs of various quality, complexity and ambition. Moreover, since the beginning of the century, the emergence of digital media and a diversification of formats have diversified the ways information is produced and spread, which in turn have changed media use and media culture.

These changes mean that we need to broaden the field of intervention in media education and analyse whether these issues are addressed by public policies. In their own way, and together with actual educational practices and media education research, these policies are “saying” what media education is today. Investigating public politics in media education thus means asking ourselves what this education is, how it is imagined, built and deployed, and how it is used in the field of practice according to specific local contexts, stakeholders’s representations, educational resources, national injonctions, international recommendations, and so on. Eventually, it means to question global socio-educative projects as well as political and economic interests that are involved since they may follow different, or even conflictual goals.

The institutionalisation phase of media education is central in the acknowledgment and development of the field. Presented as an opportunity or an educational necessity, it seems to meet a major societal issue. It is thus possible to question, among other things, the axiological dimensions of media education in institutional discourses and how they legitimize it. Also, how they take professional practices and research into account can be investigated while tensions and debates raised by these pedagogical orientations (for instance, the role of informatics in digital education) can be addressed. International and comparative approaches are welcome since they can identify global phenomena and put light on local specificities.

Propositions can be related to the following themes:

Territorial levels and stakeholders’s strategies

Depending on the country and on the school system, media education is institutionalized on different territorial levels. Some nations may deploy educational policy strategies at the national level relying on a centralised political system, presupposing a homogeneous territory in terms of equipment, training and dedicated staff. Other nations develop these policies on more local levels, under various modes of governance due to specific administrative procedures, or even socio-political or cultural specificities of their territories (regions, states…). These variations allow networks to be developed, as well as institutional, political, educational and cultural stakeholders’ strategies dealing with specific educative and cultural realities. As part of this movement, supra-national organisations try to initiate a collective and global dynamic, aiming, among other things, at integrating curricula into national public policies. The strategies of stakeholders who set up media education projects, whether they be public (schools, public media institutions, but also the police, for instance), controlled by a Ministry, or private (insurance companies, commercial or media groups, and so on) can thus be investigated.

Competency frameworks in public policies

For about twenty years, following changes in the media landscape, discourses and frameworks about competencies and their qualification were developed: they refer, for instance, to informational, media or digital skills, e-skills, coding or programming skills… At an international or national level, public policies rely on competency frameworks that aim at accompanying individuals “their whole life”. These frameworks are produced to determine which skills should everyone possess. It is interesting to observe that they share both a political and an economical perspective. On the one hand, these skills are considered necessary for empowering individuals and developing a critical mind, which are both essential to act as a citizen in a democracy. On the other hand, their role in “employability” and career development, in a perspective of economic growth and competitiveness, is emphasized. Moreover, it is possible to question the norms that are visible in them; how do these frameworks present skills as a ​pharmakon, a form of intervention on men and women so that they can meet the needs and expectancies of society? Their process of creation and inscription in official education instances can be put into question.

Questions surrounding certification and evaluation of public policies

How media education is integrated into the curricula, and its level of integration, can be very different, depending on the school system. In this regard, the institutional construction of tools aiming at evaluating their “effects”, the indicators chosen, and the certification of the students involved can be analysed.

The critical analysis of these certifications and evaluations may lead the researcher to investigate the underlying norms that determined their conception, as well as the knowledge and skills they do not cover. Building on this, it will be relevant to observe whether they take informal skills into account and integrate them, and on the other hand, to study how they divide skills using various qualification processes (certified, formal, school competencies).

Resources and training facilities

Questioning public policies also leads us to investigate training schemes, and pedagogical resources through which they become operational. Media education can be apprehended through discourses that define it, assign it to certain norms, accompany it; or through the social and educational intervention measures that give it shape. These measures include pedagogical resources that can take various forms (toolkits, dedicated websites, manuals, games, and so on). Depending on the stakeholders and on the public (at school or not, children, adults, seniors, and so on), they may or may not integrate the frame prescribed by public policies. The papers in that area can be about analysing forms and use of pedagogical

resources regarding media education, and their links with public policies. They can also use comparative approaches between various training systems, in order to show to which extend they treat media and information education differently.

Article submissions

Articles must be submitted before October, 1rst in French or in English (maximum 35 000 characters, including spaces and bibliography, Times New Roman, font size 12, simple line spacing, 5 keywords and a title) at jeunesetmedias(at) (you will receive a notification that your submission has been received).

In the article, we ask you to remain anonymous, including when you refer to previous publications.

The article can be written in French or English.

It will double-blind peer-reviewed by an international scientific committee.


Important dates

  • Article submission deadline: October 1rst, 2019

  • Notification of evaluation: December 2020

  • Final full-texts: February 2021

  • Planned publication: End of April 2021

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