Interview for “Connections” – Center for Media Literacy Newsletter
by Tessa Jolls (Published on Nov. 2019). [Original source]
Dr. Mateus is an associate professor and researcher at the University of Lima (Peru) and a guest lecturer at universities in Peru, Spain and Ecuador. He received his PhD in Communication from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. His research focuses on media education and digital cultures. Dr. Mateus is co-editor of Media Education in Latin America (London/NY, Routledge, 2019) and MayéuTIC@: 28 ideas to hack the school (Lima, Fundación Telefónica, 2019). His works have been published in journals such as Culture & Education, New Approaches in Educational Research, The Journal of Media Literacy and the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education.
Center for Media Literacy (CML): Julio-Cesar, in your book Media Education in Latin America you noted that, although the development of media literacy education has gone in different directions in Latin America and the “Northern” European-U.S. practitioners, there is still an intertwining that is central to media literacy practice. For example, Len Masterman’s framework and approach to media literacy also incorporates Paulo Friere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed to the point where there is a merging of ideas and approaches. How do you see these shared perspectives? Where do you see similarities? Where do you see differences?
Julio-Cesar Mateus (JCMB): Although there has not been a high level of exchange, there are common ties in ideas and thoughts, such as those you pointed out. It is a pity that authors such as Jesús Martín-Barbero, Teresa Quiroz or Valerio Fuenzalida, who have done fruitful research at the intersections of popular culture and education, have only been vaguely read in the North. But neither do authors like Len Masterman, David Buckingham or Tessa Jolls usually appear in the bibliography of works from most Latin American universities. I would say that, in the last decade, this has begun to change. For instance, it is inevitable that the new generations of Latin American researchers will start publishing in English. But still, the number of exchanges is not ideal.
As for the epistemological and theoretical approaches, the academic interest in relations between communication and education in Latin America – which Paulo Freire and his liberating pedagogy had a foundational voice– have been undertaken with “deep misunderstandings.” As Martín Barbero wrote, there is a discourse hegemonized by instrumental conceptions of the media and by illustrated ideas of education. In practice, this translates into the fact that many countries in this part of the world continue to take into account the margin of educational systems and practices of the media. The work of many authors in this region has marked the sociological or anthropological exploration of the material and affective bonds that young people create with technological devices. This is something we share on both sides.