Media Practice and Everyday Agency in Europe

Title chapter: Imagining Alternative Agency in Techno-Society: Outlining the Basis of Critical Technology Education
Author: Minna Saariketo
Keywords: Agency, Critical Technology Education, Digital Literacy, Media Education, Technology
Abstract: Ubiquitous technology has set new challenges for media education. On the one hand, digitisation has rendered the techno-structures invisible in drastically new ways, technologically mediated power relations have become more difficult to see, and software and algorithms condition experiences of space in a very material way. On the other hand, technological innovations may open new possibilities of agency for individuals and society as a whole, and possibly offer citizens the means to challenge power structures. The question of what kind of media education is needed in a digital age has been answered in by introducing the concept of digital literacy. This chapter looks at how agency in a technologically mediated society is understood within the field of media education. In conclusion, the idea of 'critical technology education' is introduced, where media and technology are perceived as active shapers and organisers of our perceptions and thinking, instead of taking them as pre-given external matters, devices that are simply used, or channels that convey information. It is suggested that critical technology education could fill in a gap within media education by reflecting the inconspicuous ways in which technology shapes and conditions societies as well as people's everyday lives. This better understanding of technology is seen as providing chances to imagine how things could be otherwise, and to discover alternative forms of agency.
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