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Literacy, Media Literacy and Social Change. Where Do We Go From Now?


Over the years research on literacy has progressively moved away from a narrow definition of the term in strictly psycholinguistic terms expanding it so as to recognize its inevitable embeddedness within particular social relationships and practices. In this paper, after a short historical overview of the scientific debate developed around this expanding notion of literacy, we are going to focus on the role media technologies have played in accelerating this expansion towards media literacy. To be media literate today means to be able to cope efficiently with the flood of information in contemporary highly mediated societies and act as critical, creative and responsible digital citizens. Eventually, we are going to question the techno-utopist and instrumentalist drift that often inspires the adoption of media technologies in educational contexts, and make some short conclusive re-marks on the risks and limits of the recent media literacy policy agendas as developed by public authorities and private companies.