A genealogy of media studies
Australian Association for Research in Education
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Communications and Multimedia
This paper seeks to explain why the subject media studies looks and sounds the way it does today through the production of a genealogy of the subject. The questions addressed are first, why was this subject introduced into the curriculum in the 1970s? Secondly, how has knowledge in the subject been defined and contested, how and why has it changed in the course of the subject’s history? Thirdly, which knowledge attains the status of truth and becomes the accepted definition of what the subject is about? The theoretical perspective adopted in this study draws from both postmodernist critiques and sociologies of subject knowledge. It presents a critical sociology of knowledge that draws insights from both social historians of school subjects and the work of Michel Foucault. The study draws a distinction between knowledge as defined by formal educational authorities (articulated in syllabuses) and knowledge defined by those practising the subject (teachers and curriculum advisors).