Traditional and digital literacy. The literacy hypothesis, technologies of reading and writing, and the ‘grammatized’ body

This article discusses, from a theoretical and philosophical perspective, the meaning and the importance of basic literacy training for education in an age in which digital technologies have become ubiquitous. I discuss some arguments, which I draw from the so-called literacy hypothesis approach (McLuhan, Goody, Havelock, Ong), in order to understand the significance of a ‘traditional’ initiation into literacy. I then use the work of Bernard Stiegler on bodily gestures and routines, related to different (traditional and digital) technologies, in order to elaborate and criticize the claims the literacy hypothesis makes. Bringing together insights from both the literacy hypothesis approach and Stiegler's work, I defend the view that there exists an essential difference between traditional and digital literacy, and I try to argue for the introduction of a spelling and grammar of the digital in the educational curriculum.

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