Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Media Making as a Tool of Conscientizacao in the Israeli – Palestinian Conflict

David J Steiner.

This paper will outline the proposal of a media camp in America for young Palestinians and Israelis, as well as American Jews and Palestinians, to engage in media production which outlines their visions of themselves, their oppressors and their futures. The intellectual framework for this camp owes much to the writings of Paulo Friere and Myles Horton.

Conscientizacao, as described by Freire, is an awakening to the state of being oppressed through an understanding of economic, social and political contradictions. What I am proposing is a pedagogy of praxis, “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it,” through which media production and literacy will achieve conscientizacao and facilitate a new personal and national self-understanding in an effort to move beyond existing barriers in the on going Palestinian – Israeli conflict.

For Freire, “dehumanization, which marks not only those whose humanity has been stolen, but also (though in a different way) those who have stolen it is a distortion of the vocation of becoming more fully human.” Yet, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, dehumanization is not the clear product of the actions of one party in the conflict against the other. The barrier that now separates the West Bank from the State of Israel, has become a prison wall for the people on either side, but the subjects of this prison are not the only ones to blame for their imprisonment

It is this author’s contention that both Jews and Palestinians need to deepen their process of conscientizacao to comprehend the sources of their feelings and identities as oppressed peoples and further their understandings of the social, political and historic contradictions that shape their self-identities. We also need to go beyond the model of oppressor and oppressed to a more holistic understanding of Freire’s “subjects” within the context of fluid and varied relationships over time and space.

Media production involves skills and literacy that can, when used responsibly, facilitate the deeper investigation of personal and national experience. In this context, making media forces the creator to increase personal understandings by pursuing the media vocabulary and structure necessary to tell his or her story.

Art has been censored or suppressed because of its some times ugly representations, while artists have continually claimed that they are merely holding a mirror up to society. This deep, sometimes dark, truthful mirror will be created by both sides of the conflict and hopefully serve as praxis for positive change in self image and behavior and lead to a more expedient resolution of the conflict and a return to the vocation of being fully human.


David J Steiner  (United States)

National Louis University

  • Palestinian - Israeli Conflict
  • Praxis
  • Conscientizacao
  • Media production
Person as Subject
  • Paulo Freire Myles Horton

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)