Gramsci and Media Literacy: Critically Thinking about TV and the Movies offers a series of contemporary media analyses that use Antonio Gramsci’s theory of hegemony to explore how dominant ideologies in media delivery, historical storytelling, and gender in today’s mass media environment become the commonsense viewpoints that maintain power structures in civil society. Through a media literacy approach, case studies of ideological delivery through television and film illustrate why Gramscian media theory serves as a valuable tool for revealing the many ways hegemonic thought operates in the media sphere and in everyday life, and they offer hope for counterhegemonic understandings.
Erika Engstrom is professor and director of the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky.
Ralph Beliveau is associate professor in the Creative Media Production area of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and affiliate faculty in the Department of Film and Media Studies and the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: A Gramscian Approach to Media Literacy
Chapter 3: Gramsci, Film, TV, and Cable Streaming: Toward Counterhegemony
Chapter 4: Hegemonic Masculinity in the Mass Media
Chapter 5: The Gendered Endgame: Marvel’s New Man
Chapter 6: Conclusion
About the Authors
In their important new book, scholars and professors Erika Engstrom and Ralph Beliveau provide a crucial wake-up call along with a thoughtfully devised action plan for recognizing and combating ideologically manipulative media power. Through well-developed clear arguments and convincing evidence (underscored by dynamic prose), they wed Antonio Gramsci’s ideas about hegemony and social justice to an approach to media literacy education firmly grounded in critical activism. The authors’ in-depth, exemplary close analysis of hegemonic masculinity in the all-time highest grossing film (as of July 2019)—Marvel/Disney’s Avengers: Endgame—is a brilliant and inspiring penultimate chapter.
In this engaging work, readers are introduced to the work of a grandfather of media literacy, Antonio Gramsci. Engstrom and Beliveau ably demonstrate the power of critically analyzing representations of race, class, and gender to elucidate shifts in contemporary media culture. In framing cultural studies as a form of media literacy, readers learn how the act of interpreting media may transform our own understanding of power as it impacts many aspects of everyday life.
Gramsci and Media Literacy is grounded in three key concepts—hegemony, media literacy, and semiotics—in the pursuit of demonstrating how the study of Gramsci is still relevant in mass media studies. Co-authors Erika Engstrom, professor and director of the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, and Ralph Beliveau, associate professor of Creative Media Production at the University of Oklahoma, apply a Gramscian/hegemonic lens to the disciplines of cultural studies, media studies, education studies, and gender studies that coalesce quite nicely as the book progresses.