Call for communication

Questioning public policies in media education


The Center for Youth and Media Studies (« Centre d’Etudes sur les Jeunes Et les Médias ») gathers researchers from various disciplines around emerging issues in the field of media education. In order to reinforce this research network, each year, since 2013, its members organise an international event around themes of media education, youth media use, educational media, and critical pedagogy. In partnership with the Canada research chair for media education and human rights, this new edition will focus on public policies regarding media education. Relying on various levels of analysis (local, territorial, national and international level) as well as various disciplines and methods, the conference will confront theoretical, epistemological, axiological and socio-political positions that orient research on media education. The relations between public policies, training systems, stakeholders and publics (politicians, educators, scientists, students…) will particularly be investigated.

Media education is a rich and complex field that emerged through educational practices (not only at school and in the family, but also during extracurricular activities), research, and public policies. Indeed, since it exists, media education has been trying to not only be integrated into school curricula, but also in official phrasing regarding social issues that have long been addressed by the educational community.

While the media were developing, the movement for media education integrated these evolutions as new challenges for the school system. For example, since 2012, media education and information education have been put together to form EMI in France (“éducation aux médias et à l’information”), and MIL – Media and Information Literacy – on an international level. The current efforts towards data literacy also reflect the evolutionary nature of issues addressed by media education, skills that should be developed in the field, and public policies and supporting educational practices that are needed in order to deal with the complexity of the media landscape.

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 media education. 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. The discourses as well as the modalities of these programs are in close connection with socio-political contexts and the specificities of the educational systems that support them. 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 policies 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’ representations, educational resources and available training, national requirements, 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.

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 think constantly about discourses accompanying these transformations (prophetic speeches about general access to knowledge, to quote only this one). As part of this constant technological development, data, traces and algorithms (as well as artificial intelligence) are crucial. Let us emphasize that these technical phenomena play an essential role in ordinary communication practices and reveal that a real communicational engineering has been developed by the individuals.

The questions about changes in media use lead us, more broadly, to reflect on the imbrications between cultural and political aspects of media education, and investigate how these aspects are taken into account by public policies.

To investigate the relations between media education and public policies, 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:

1- Institutional discourses about media education

The institutionalisation phase of media education is central in its acknowledgment and development. At different moments of its history, and in various places, it has been presented both as an educational opportunity - or necessity - and as a way to deal with crucial societal issues. Thus, the presence of media education in institutional discourses is both a proof of its role in social projects, whose modalities and ideologies depend a lot on the local context, and a way to orient its potential development on a given territory. It is therefore 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 also be investigated while tensions and debates raised by these pedagogical orientations (for instance, the role of informatics in digital education) can be addressed.

2 - Territorial levels and stakeholders’ 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.

3 - Competency frameworks in public policy

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 economic 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.

4- 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. ,

Media education meets educative and societal issues that can be addressed by school systems, popular education, or private organisations. How these various stakeholders are coordinated has an impact on the capacity of public policies to evaluate and build this education. 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).

A historical perspective would be useful to determine how these institutions rely on the results of these evaluations to make their educational strategies evolve.

5- 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.

Abstract submissions


Abstracts must be submitted before January, 7th 2020 in French or English (maximum of 7500 characters, including spaces and bibliography, Times New Roman, font size 12, simple line spacing, 5 keywords, and a title) only through the website


In the abstract, we ask you to remain anonymous, including when you refer to previous publications. They will be double-blind peer reviewed by the scientific committee. Abstracts, and communications, may be given in French or in English but there will be no translation nor interpretation during the event.


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After a new evaluation, a selection of papers will be gathered in a scientific publication, which terms will be specified later on.


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