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Lecture: John Downing on Media and Social Change

JOHN DOWNING, media professor at Southern Illinois University, gave a lecture at MEDEA where he explored the relation between media, communication and social change. Listen to the full lecture below (or here). His presentation (40 min) is followed by a Q&A with very interesting questions.

If you prefer to listen to this presentation as an audio podcast, please subscribe to the podcast Media, Communication and Design on iTunes or click here for more alternatives.

In this presentation, professor Downing explores the subject from three perspectives:

Firstly, that social movement media typically place political clashes front and center.

Secondly, the frame ‘development media’ which very often presumes a fundamentally benign political order disfigured by crushing economic and health care needs. What we mean by ‘political’ also factors into this arena, not least in gender terms. (What is in view here is not politics in the sense of partisan party politics, except where that is one of the obstacles to constructive social change.)

Finally, the ‘knowledge-sharing’ frame often seems totally obsessed with ‘facts’ and ‘information’.

Are these three frames incompatible? In framing community media projects, local, national and transnational, should their respective adherents try to learn from each other?

About John Downing
John Downing is Founding Director of the Global Media Research Centre and emeritus Professor of International Communication, College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, Southern Illinois University. He is also vice-president of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR). From August-December 2010 John Downing is visiting professor at Aarhus University, Denmark. John Downing’s research fields include global media, international communication, alternative media and social movements; racism, ethnicity and media.

John Downing’s most influential book is “Radical Media” from 1984, revised and published in a new edition in 2001. Prof. Downing recently completed editing of an encyclopedia on social movements and the media.

This lecture was a joint arrangement between MEDEA and Ørecomm

2 thoughts on “Lecture: John Downing on Media and Social Change”

  1. This is great. I am a doctoral student at Central Saint Martins , University of the Arts London. this lecture has been extremely informative for me as it is very close to my research . My research title is “Graphic communication as an instrument of change:development and interaction in Pakistan” I am looking at how Pakistani indigenous popular art help create effective as communication tools for a low literacy target audience. This lecture really helped me contextualize my research within the frame of employment of public art as cultural expression.
    Thanks again for a wonderful lecture.

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