Documentary filmmaking as critical pedagogy
Yng-ruey Jiing, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
University of California, Los Angeles . Awarded
Since the advent of portable video technology in the 1980s, not only have researchers had access to new types of visual information about people, places, and interactions, but people from all walks of life have begun to make films of their own—among them longtime victims of media exploitation and under-representation. In Taiwan, in particular, the portable video camera has been popularized and adopted by social and political activists as a tool of political activism to resist the mainstream media domination. Numbers of community colleges, NGOs, and other non-formal educational agencies have adopted new PH curricula to teach citizens to make documentary films. This process has contributed not only to the democratization of Taiwanese society but also to the democratization of the media, which in turn has enabled ordinary citizens to have a voice of their own and speak for themselves.
Through Participatory Action research, this study examines the value of community-based documentary filmmaking as a learning tool for adults, especially with respect to consciousness-raising and community building. This study provides insight into the effectiveness of this Deweyean “learning by doing” type of instructional technique that has contributed to the critical understanding of the media. Accordingly, I argue that participatory action research can advance the project of developing critical media literacy, as well as to the construction of subjectivity, in the end, the development and reconfiguration of democracy in Taiwan.
My intellectual inquiry tries to answer the following questions: (1) In what way can community-based filmmaking contribute to community development and the formation of a civil and democratic society in Taiwan? (2) In what way can the process of documentary filmmaking be a socially and politically transformative experience for the learner? (3) In what way can local documentary filmmaking experiences be applied to a present-day global context and contribute to the development of critical media literacy and pedagogy?
My exploration of documentary filmmaking at community colleges in Taiwan can be viewed by others in order to disseminate knowledge on media as pedagogy, adult education, and social transformation.
Jiing, Y.r. Documentary filmmaking as critical pedagogy. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, Los Angeles.
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