The Classroom as Praxis: An Autoethnographic Approach Towards a Critical Journalism Assignment in Turkey

This chapter provides an analysis of an undergraduate classroom assignment experience on journalism which is based on the critical elaboration of news discourses in Turkish media. For this purpose, it examines how students, studying public relations in a Turkish state university, relate themselves to the assignment in several ways. By referring to the theories of “scholar-activism” and the Marxist concept of praxis, this chapter discusses media, journalism, and academia in line with the contemporary developments in Turkey during the 2010s. Afterwards, the conceptual discussion points out that a journalism assignment can be used as a teaching method to attract the students’ attention towards issues of subordination faced by under-privileged social classes along classed, ethnic, sexual and gendered lines. As a research method, I apply an autoethnographic approach to critically discuss my role as a scholar-activist and the potential effects of this praxis-oriented teaching approach on students. The data gathered in the fieldwork show that the majority of students were positively affected by the assignment in varying degrees as an opportunity for critical reflection, resistance, and empowerment. However, there are also potential limitations of praxis in classroom due to the neoliberal university setting. In sum, this chapter argues that journalism education can be used in any social sciences discipline to foster students’ critical reflections and ultimately contribute to the democratization of transitional countries.

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