Media Education, Spectrality, and Acoustic Space: An Encounter with Derrida and McLuhan

Stuart R. Poyntz


How media educators conceive of critical agency without privileging the authoritative voice of the teacher continues to be a vexed problematic within the field. It is complicated by ongoing concerns about how to delineate the characteristics of new digital media as specific forms of mediation. In response to these issues, I suggest an encounter with Derrida and McLuhan offer media educators a way to hold different but related levels of analysis in dynamic tension. Both thinkers conceive of mediation as productive, and if Derrida helps us to understand how this produces a certain kind of emancipatory promise, McLuhan's work remains vital for locating this promise in relation to the dimensions of technological lifeworlds characteristic of modern society.


About the Author

Stuart Poyntz is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. His research focuses on children and digital culture, the history of media literacy, and theories of the public sphere. At present, he is completing a book entitled Media Education: A Critical Introduction for Blackwell. Poyntz can be contacted at

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