Critical Information
Literacy and
Political Agency
Lauren Smith
PhD Researcher
The University of Strathclyde
lauren.n.smit...
Introduction
• Background
• Research Approach
▫ Critical pedagogical theory
▫ Phenomenography
• Research Questions
• Metho...
background
• Decline in political participation
• Political disengagement of young people
• Disempowerment of citizens
• A...
“Critical pedagogy currently offers the best,
perhaps the only, chance for young people to
develop the knowledge, skills, ...
Critical information literacy aims to
“reverse trends of exclusion from political
participation and enable people to parti...
Research questions
1. What sources of information influence young
people’s political opinions and worldviews?
2. In what q...
Research methods
• Questionnaires
• Repertory grid interviews
• Focus groups
• c.35 participants aged 14-15 from a seconda...
questionnaire
• Introductory exercise
• 11 ‘quiz’ questions about politics/civic rights
• Insight into levels of political...
9
How interested in politics would you
say you are?
Very 1
Somewhat 10
Neither interested nor
uninterested
9
Not very 9
No...
10
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0
Levelofinterestinpolitics
Level of political knowledge
Repertory grid
interviews
• People “seek to predict and control the course of events in
their environment by constructing ...
Repertory grid
interviews
• People “seek to predict and control the course of events in
their environment by constructing ...
Elements
13
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Sources of Political Information
14
constructs
• Ways of assessing value
• Relationship
• Judgements about purpose
• Emotional engagement
• Practical issue...
Emerging themes and issues Critical theory
Understanding of media bias (omission,
selection, placement, labelling, spin)
M...
16
conclusions
• Further analysis needed to structure findings in
phenomenographic outcome space
• Critical pedagogy relev...
References
• Giroux, H.A. (2013), Segment: Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics, Bill Moyers Show [Video and transcript]. Avail...
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Critical Information Literacy and Political Agency

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Presentation for ifutures conference held at the University of Sheffield on 21st July 2014.

Full text: https://www.academia.edu/7754790/Young_peoples_critical_information_literacy_and_political_agency

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Critical Information Literacy and Political Agency

  1. 1. Critical Information Literacy and Political Agency Lauren Smith PhD Researcher The University of Strathclyde lauren.n.smith@strath.ac.uk
  2. 2. Introduction • Background • Research Approach ▫ Critical pedagogical theory ▫ Phenomenography • Research Questions • Methods ▫ Questionnaires ▫ Repertory grid interviews ▫ Focus groups • Findings • Conclusions 2
  3. 3. background • Decline in political participation • Political disengagement of young people • Disempowerment of citizens • Assumptions about young people’s information use knowledge and lack of critical thinking • Criticism of approaches to information literacy that do not fulfil purported aims of democracy and social justice in LIS 3
  4. 4. “Critical pedagogy currently offers the best, perhaps the only, chance for young people to develop the knowledge, skills, and sense of responsibility needed for them to participate in and exercise the leadership necessary for them to govern the prevailing social order.” Giroux 2012, pp.116-7 4
  5. 5. Critical information literacy aims to “reverse trends of exclusion from political participation and enable people to participate in the decisions and events that affect their lives.” Whitworth 2009, p.118 5
  6. 6. Research questions 1. What sources of information influence young people’s political opinions and worldviews? 2. In what qualitatively different ways do young people conceive of ‘political’ information? 3. Do young people think about political information critically? 4. What aspects of critical pedagogy may be of most use to those seeking to support political agency through critical approaches to information literacy? 6
  7. 7. Research methods • Questionnaires • Repertory grid interviews • Focus groups • c.35 participants aged 14-15 from a secondary school in South Yorkshire 7
  8. 8. questionnaire • Introductory exercise • 11 ‘quiz’ questions about politics/civic rights • Insight into levels of political knowledge • Question about level of interest in politics • Question about lowering voting age from 18 to 16 8
  9. 9. 9 How interested in politics would you say you are? Very 1 Somewhat 10 Neither interested nor uninterested 9 Not very 9 Not at all 6 No response 1 Total 36 Do you think the voting age should be lowered from 18 to 16? Yes 15 No 16 I don’t know 0 I don’t care 4 No response 1 Total 36 results
  10. 10. 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 6.0 7.0 8.0 9.0 10.0 Levelofinterestinpolitics Level of political knowledge
  11. 11. Repertory grid interviews • People “seek to predict and control the course of events in their environment by constructing mental models of the world” (Latta and Swigger 1992) • Asked for participants to give ten places, people or things they get information about politics, current events and the world around them 11
  12. 12. Repertory grid interviews • People “seek to predict and control the course of events in their environment by constructing mental models of the world” (Latta and Swigger 1992) • Asked for participants to give ten places, people or things they get information about politics, current events and the world around them 12
  13. 13. Elements 13 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Sources of Political Information
  14. 14. 14 constructs • Ways of assessing value • Relationship • Judgements about purpose • Emotional engagement • Practical issues • Reasons for engagement • Format • Politics R: “Do you always believe what’s being reported?” P9: “No. I guess I do more in the newspaper, I know it’s probably wrong but, it does seem like there’s more facts to back it up whereas on the radio they’re not really giving you the full story, they’re just giving you a little bit of it.” P23: “I think, mum would have more reliable information, not perfect though because obviously either way it’s coming from somebody else’s mouth so it’s gonna be different and it’s what they interpret it as.”
  15. 15. Emerging themes and issues Critical theory Understanding of media bias (omission, selection, placement, labelling, spin) Media literacy (Giroux, 2007, pp.229-241) View of schooling as preparation for work, not learning how to be a citizen Marketisation of education, democratic public spheres (Giroux, 2012, pp.36-37) View of young people as not knowledgeable or responsible enough to participate in politics Manufactured cynicism (Giroux, 2006, p.83) Trust in media to report all ‘important’ news, faith that media will tell truth Media literacy (Giroux, 2007, pp.229-241), critical pedagogy (Giroux, 2011) Influence of images in the media on how participants feel about current events and world conflict Culture of fear (Giroux, 2006, pp.200-201) Interpretation of violence and formation of political attitudes relating to it Consumerism, masculinity, violence, politics , gender relations (Giroux, 2006, pp.205-225) Debating and understanding structure of arguments – applying this to own lives Politics of possibility (Giroux, 2006, pp.229-236) Concerns about welfare, benefits and immigration. Knowledge or understanding of economic situation Ideological hegemony (Giroux, 2011, p.22) View of young people as a group influenced by media portrayals Youth panic (Giroux, 2011, p.91) 15
  16. 16. 16 conclusions • Further analysis needed to structure findings in phenomenographic outcome space • Critical pedagogy relevant to information literacy • Research will contribute methodological and theoretical recommendations for practice, development of IL theory and application of critical theory to under-theorised area of LIS
  17. 17. References • Giroux, H.A. (2013), Segment: Henry Giroux on Zombie Politics, Bill Moyers Show [Video and transcript]. Available at: http://billmoyers.com/segment/henry-giroux-on-zombie-politics/ [Accessed 20 July 2014]. • Giroux, H.A. (2012a), The War Against Teachers as Public Intellectuals in Dark Times. Truthout [Blog] 17 December, 2014. Available at: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13367-the-corporate-war-against-teachers-as-public-intellectuals-in-dark- times [Accessed 20 July 2014]. • Giroux, H.A. (2012b), Education and the Crisis of Public Values: Challenging the Assault on Teachers, Students, & Public Education. New York: Peter Laing Publishing. • Giroux, H.A. (2011), On Critical Pedagogy. London: Continuum. • Giroux, H.A. (2010), Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism. New York: Peter Laing Publishing. • Giroux, H.A. (2007), Chapter Twenty-one: Drowning Democracy: The Media, Neoliberalism, and the Politics of Hurricane Katrina. In: D. Macedo and S.R. Steinberg, eds. Media Literacy: A Reader. New York: Peter Laing Publishing. • Giroux, H.A. (2006), America on the Edge: Henry Giroux on Politics, Culture, and Education. Palgrave Macmillan: New York. • Giroux, H.A. (2002), Educated Hope in an Age of Privatized Visions. Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 93–112. • Latta, G.F. and Swigger, K. (1992). Validation of the repertory grid for use in modeling knowledge. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 43(2), p.115. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1097- 4571(199203)43:2<115::AID-ASI2>3.0.CO;2-I [Accessed 18 July 2014]. • Whitworth, A. (2009). Teaching in the relational frame: the Media and Information Literacy course at Manchester. Journal of Information Literacy, 3 (2), pp.25–38. Available from: http://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/JIL/article/view/PRA-V3-I2-2009- 2 [Accessed 18 July 2014]. Image: CC www.xkcd.com 17
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