Media – science – education
Tomáš Sigmund, Department of Systems Analysis, University of Economics, Prague
Media, science and education have ambiguous effects on man. On the one hand they can improve man´s situation, contribute to his self-realization, liberation and emancipation, on the other hand they can turn into their opposites and limit the evolvement of man´s full potential.
Our time characterized as information society puts a lot of emphasis on information, its transport, processing, storing and distribution. For that media are necessary and their importance increases. This development was enabled by the invention of mass content reproduction in modern media accompanied by the loss of individuality and specificity (W. Benjamin uses the term “auraticity”). The penetration and ubiquity of media allow spreading valuable artefacts like works of art among people and provide man with the possibility to express his creative powers. This is can lead to man´s empowerment, media have the potential to provide man with a space for the realization and presentation of his powers and potentials which can be viewed and enjoyed by many without much effort. However the potential of media is not always used and the result may be alienation and exploitation of man, his mass character and commodification of media at the expense of non-commodified free culture. We can enjoy free presentation of valuable content by the media, but we also face the cult of distraction, spectacle, celebrity, cultural populism, banality TV and promotion of superficial details over substantive ideas.
With science the situation is similar. The emphasis we put on sciences and education seems to fulfil the ideals of the Enlightenment. Science has been originally aimed at helping man, it provides understanding of the world and can support the formation of meaning if it is based on the life-world experience and provides man with explanation of both the subjective (phenomenological) and objective (cosmological) world. On the other hand there is a latent danger that science would become one-sided, concentrated on the objective mathematized part of the world only, that it would support technization, mathematization, formalization at the expense of other aspects of experience, that it would abstract the subjective part and result in specialization without relevance for the life-world. The tools and instruments science invents can improve man´s situation in the world, can enrich the full meaning of man´s life, but they can be also used for manipulation and governing where nothing is respected but man´s own will. There is the risk that science would help man realize his ideas in the matter of nature without explanation what these tools mean and how they hide the full presence of the life-world. Many presuppositions of science are results of the process of sedimentation which was forgotten. We need to reveal the presuppositions of science in order to open its full potential. If our presuppositions are not questioned nor doubted we may become trapped in our orientation to the future expressed in the hope for never-ending economic growth.
Education should spread science among men. The system of education was criticised after the Second World War for the lack of availability of education for all social groups and for making elite out of the educated group. As a consequence science became opened for general public and new universities were established. That provided many people with the possibility to learn and understand the world better. Education has positive effects because it forms man´s personality. The unpleasant consequence of the availability of education may however be levelling of education, mass production of graduates and decrease of the standards in universities. In the market economy education may become commodity which can have unfavourable consequences.
Subjects and scope
Key topics which will be addressed are not limited to the following:
- How to support the positive and avoid the negative influences of media, science and education on society?
- Why isn´t the potential of media and science always used? What reasons and causes can we identify? Who bears responsibility for it? Media? The audience? Science? Politicians?
- What is the role of media in information society? How can it be secured? Do we need state regulation of media?
- What to do about the low standard of current media? Is there a way out of the dilemma between popularity and quality?
- How has the medial content changed with the introduction of media allowing mass reproduction? Has the Benjamin´s “auraticity” disappeared completely?
- How to deal with the media literacy? How to deal with alienation? How to deal with information overflow? How to deal with hyperreality? How to deal with the relation of media to reality? How to deal with the loss of privacy? How to deal with other ethical issues related to media?
- What concepts of science could substitute the current trends in science? Is there a universal concept of science?
- What does objectivity in science mean? Is science culture-specific?
- Can science be free of contradictions?
- Can science be independent from profit?
- Can science deal with specificity and singularity?
- Can science be practical and not profit oriented at the same time?
- How to transform education in order to evolve man´s individuality and potential?
- What are the risks and opportunities of the situation when education becomes a commodity?
Both empirical and theoretical papers are welcome of scholars interested in the topics, willing to present their ideas concerning media, science and education and to discuss them in a friendly environment.
Submission deadline: 27 February 2015
Notification of acceptance: 20 March 2015