Toppling hierarchies? media and information literacies, ethnicity, and performative media practices.

This article suggests how we should study media and information literacies (MIL) and do so at a time, when young people nurture these literacies through multiple media practices and across spaces of learning. Our basic argument is this: in order to gain a robust knowledge base for the development of MIL we need to study literacy practices beyond print literacy and numeracy, and we need to study these practices beyond formal spaces of learning. The argument is unfolded with particular focus on ethnic minority youth since this group routinely figures as under-achieving in studies of school literacy, such as Programme for International Student Assessment. Based on a brief overview of literacy studies in view of digitization and a critical examination of recent studies of youthful media practices and ethnicity, the argument is illustrated through an empirical analysis that draws on results from a nationally representative survey of media uses among Danes aged 13–23 years. The analysis demonstrates that ethnic minority youth offer the most serious challenge to existing literacy hierarchies found in formal education. We discuss the implications of these results for educational policy-making and for future research on MIL, advocating inclusive approaches in terms of media for learning and spaces of learning.

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