Skip to content
CO:RE
Vlog-Renee-Hobbs-Featured-Image-KB.png
Vlog Theories CO:RE at LSE Published: 03 Aug 2022

Renee Hobbs on media literacy education

In this vlog, Prof Renee Hobbs discusses the theoretical journey of her interest in digital and media literacy education and how different paths through theory shape the choices we make as scholars and researchers.

Her use of theory is almost autobiographical as she goes through the different periods of her life marked by the scholars who inspired her at the time. Her understanding of the nature of learning in relation to mass media and communication has been shaped by many ideas over the years, including by theoreticians like Jerome Bruner, Noam Chomsky, Seymour Papert, Susan Sontag, and Donna Alvermann, amongst others.

When I think about theory I think about the legacy of scholars who have contributed to advancing my own thinking. This is what theories really are – they are guesses, they are ideas that come from the intersection of evidence and imagination.

Renee Hobbs talks about her long-term work on exploring the theoretical origins of media literacy, which have been combined in a book she edited “Exploring the roots of media and education literacy through personal narratives”.  The work on the book seemed to have surprised her by the multidisciplinarity of the theories unearthed and how different approaches come together in the work and personal narratives of the different scholars.

My way of managing theory was kind of through juxtaposition and through putting ideas together that might not have been put together before.

Based on the book Renee Hobbs identified six strands of media literacy theory:

  • Arts and social activism

  • Awareness, form, content and context

  • Dialectic of protection and empowerment

  • Learning and literacy

  • Learning as a means to engage the head, heart, hands and spirit

  • Social nature of representation and interpretation

All these strands of theory have been updated with the development of digital technologies and new media. For example, art and social activism theorising has shifted to incorporate engagement through social media where children participate initially as part of having fun but then begin to realise its political potential. Art is a means of bringing people together and unifying them for a cause but new media enabled everyone to take part in this, with different levels of awareness and social responsibility, she argues.

Discussing the application of theory to practice, Renee Hobbs shares her experience of working with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum on an exhibit called The State of Deception. Focusing on the history of Nazi propaganda, the exhibit allowed her to join theories of propaganda with theories of education and apply them to a practical setting. This was an opportunity to combine the historical understanding of propaganda with contemporary experience where “there are no gatekeepers and anyone can be a propagandist, anyone can send a meme and or participate in a movement with the use of a simple hashtag”.

Creating a new theory or concept is really about trying to look at how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and looking for the synergies between them.

We end the conversation with a discussion of how to create theoretical novelty and the challenges of changing pedagogy.

Watch the full vlog with Renee Hobbs

Please allow external media cookies to access this content.

Video: CO:RE theories vlog series - an interview with Renee Hobbs.
If you are experiencing issues with the video player, please watch the video here on our YouTube channel. We are in the process of fixing this issue. Please excuse the inconvenience.

Renee-Hobbs-photo.png

Renee Hobbs is the author of many books and articles about media literacy education and her work has influenced a generation of new scholars and teachers. She spent 18 years teaching media studies at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where she developed the Felton Scholars Program in collaboration with Elizabeth Thoman of the Center for Media Literacy in Los Angeles. With Thoman and others, she helped to found the national organization that evolved into the National Association for Media Literacy Education. Hobbs collaborated with the Maryland State Department of Education and Discovery Communication to create Assignment: Media Literacy, a comprehensive K-12 media literacy curriculum created in 1998. Appointed to a professorship at Temple University's School of Communication and Theater in 2003, Hobbs established the Media Education Lab. In 2007, Hobbs became founding co-editor of the online open access journal, the Journal of Media Literacy Education. Today, she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in media literacy, digital authorship, children and media, media education and contemporary propaganda to students in Education, English, Communication Studies and Library and Information Studies at the University of Rhode Island. 


Further reading by Renee Hobbs

Hobbs, R. (2021). Media Literacy in Action: Questioning the Media. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Hobbs, R. (2020). Propaganda in an age of algorithmic personalization: Expanding literacy research and practice. Reading Research Quarterly 55(3) 521 – 533. doi:10.1002/rrq.301

Hobbs, R. (2020). Mind Over Media: Propaganda Education for a Digital Age. New York: W.W. Norton.

Hobbs R. (2017). Create to Learn: Introduction to Digital Literacy. New York: Wiley.

Tuzel, S. & Hobbs, R. (2017). The use of social media and popular culture to advance cross-cultural understanding. Communicar 25(51), 63 – 72. DOI: 10.3916/C51-2017-06

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Hobbs, R. (2016). Renee Hobbs on Jerome Bruner In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 180 - 196). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Hobbs, R. (2016). Historical Roots of Media Literacy. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 9 - 36). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Martens, H. & Hobbs. R (2015). How Media Literacy Supports Civic Engagement in a Digital Age, Atlantic Journal of Communication, 23:2, 120-137, DOI: 10.1080/15456870.2014.961636

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Hobbs, R., & Jensen, A. (2013). The Past, Present, and Future of Media Literacy Education. Journal of Media Literacy Education, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.23860/jmle-1-1-1

Further reading by other authors

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Alvermann, D. (2016). Donna Alvermann on Simone de Beavoir. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 161 - 169). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

Bruner, J. S. (1991). “The Narrative Construction of Reality.” Critical Inquiry 18 (1): 1–21.
Herman, E. & Chomsky, N (1988) Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books.

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Cappello, G. (2016). Gianna Cappello on Theodor Adorno. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 107 - 125). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Domine, V. (2016). Vanessa Domine on Neil Postman. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 197 - 207). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Dyehouse, J. (2016). Jeremiah Dyehouse on John Dewey. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 170 - 179). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Gutierrez, P. (2016). Peter Gutierrez on Scott McCloud. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 208 - 221). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Jenkins, H. (2016). Henry Jenkins on John Fiske. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 138 - 152). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Jensen, A.P. (2016). Amy Petersen Jensen on Bertolt Brecht. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 153 - 160). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Kellner, D. (2016). Douglas Kellner on Herbert Marcuse In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 126 - 137). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Lewis, C. (2016). Cynthia Lewis on Mikhail Bahktin. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 77 - 84). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Moeller, S. (2016). Susan Moeller on Roland Barthes. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 222 - 232). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Polan, D (2016). Dana Polan on Roland Barthes. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 66 - 76). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Ramasubramanian. S. (2016). Srividya Ramasubramanian on Gordon Allport. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 85 - 93). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ RobbGrieco, M. (2016). Michael RobbGrieco on Michel Foucault. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 94 - 106). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ ] Strate, L (2016). Lance Strate on Marshall McLuhan In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 49 - 65). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

image/svg+xml art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos Open Access logo, converted into svg, designed by PLoS. This version with transparent background. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Open_Access_logo_PLoS_white.svg art designer at PLoS, modified by Wikipedia users Nina, Beao, JakobVoss, and AnonMoos http://www.plos.org/ Weinberger, D. (2016). David Weinberger on Martin Heidegger. In R. Hobbs (Ed.) Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative (pp. 37 - 48). Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 

Full expert interviews from the theories vlog series

Question-based excerpts from the theories vlog series

Explore further CO:RE resources on theory

Share this post:

Authors

LSE_Mariya-Stoilova.jpg
Team member, CO:RE at LSE

Mariya Stoilova

Mariya Stoilova is a post-doctoral researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) working on children’s rights, online risks and opportunities, and well-being. She is member of the CO:RE work package 5 on theory.

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
CO:RE at LSE
Theories

The team at the LSE works on theory, providing a series of mutually cross-fertilising mechanisms to coordinate and support the theoretical dimension of research. The team identifies valuable theoretical concepts that offer multidisciplinary breadth and depth in understanding the long-term impact of digital media on children and youth, and coallates all in a comprehensive theories toolkit that provides guidance throughout the theory pathway, from (research) question to generating theory.

Leave a comment

Required fields are marked with a *
Your email address will not be published.
Leave a comment

Cookie preferences

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential, while others help us to improve this website and your experience.