This article addresses the reluctance of mainstream corporate and commercial media to critically address major environmental and conservation issues. The resulting public pedagogy largely reproduces the neoliberal ideology informing much conservation practice and discourse. Nonetheless, the media retains an unrealised critical educative potential that needs to be drawn upon by critical media practitioners and educators. To do this, educators need to be cognisant of the phenomenological experience of spectatorship, the aesthetic form and relational contexts of media consumption, production and informal learning. Referring to the work of Vivian Sobchack, Henry Giroux, Pierre Bourdieu and Gilles Deleuze, the article argues that if critical practitioner-educators apply an analytic framework informed by critical realism, counter-hegemonic elements found within corporate and independent media productions and conservation initiatives may be rearticulated and re-presented in a more positive manner. For this to occur, critical media practitioners-educators need to recognise that feasible political and normative alternatives are both available and practically possible. The article ends by discussing some relatively recent non-fiction productions that express a commonality between human and non-human animals and so form the basis of a critical environmental education-media practice.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Blewitt, J. (2011). Critical practice and the public pedagogy of environmental and conservation media. Environmental education research, 17(6), 719-734. Environmental education research 2011 © Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13504622.2011.618625