The unlikely advocates of media literacy education: Jean-Jacques Rosseau and John Stuart Mill
(Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre for Social Sciences, Hungary)
ABSTRACT: Media literacy is defined as a set of competencies that helps people critically analyze, understand and create media messages. Teaching children to become media literate emerged as a new field of education in second half of the 20th century. While the pioneering work of Dewey, Freinet, Gerbner, Hall and Whannel (as cited by Cappello et at., 2011) was influential in the developement of media literacy, this article argues for the importance positioning media literacy in a broader theoretical context. Therefore, this article presents an analysis of media literacy education by relying on two of the founders of modern social though: Rousseau and Mill. The article demonstrates how Rousseau’s treatise is as timely as ever when it comes to understanding the importance of media literacy education not only in school curricula, but also in many other aspects of social life.