Contextual media aesthetics as the basis for media literacy

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Abstract

The essay is an attempt to build a theoretical base that will help us understand what media literacy is and how it functions. The major argument is that contextual media aesthetics is the necessary foundation of media literacy and that we need to know how the basic aesthetic building blocks are used to create and shape our cognitive and affective mental maps. The media literacy model proffered here attempts to show the hierarchical relationship of four levels: (a) the basic aesthetic image elements and their aesthetic fields, (b) how they are structured for specific purposes, how we perceive them and how they affect us, and (d) how they fit into the various intellectual and cultural frameworks for media analysis.

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