Changing engagement of youth in old and new media literacy: Patterns, functions and meanings

Dissertation | Full-text | Claudia van Kruistum

The goal of this dissertation is to examine the changing engagement of youth in the large variety of out-of-school literacy practices, including uses of old and new media. The main focus is on Dutch youth from the lower tracks of prevocational secondary education, who often struggle with the literacy demands of the school curriculum. In line with a socio-cultural perspective on literacy this dissertation moves away from a research tradition that approaches literacy as a set of individual reading and writing skills. An alternative way of conceptualizing literacy is proposed in terms of family resemblances, a notion borrowed from the German philosopher Wittgenstein: Literacy activities do not share one common set of features, but throughout activities similarities – great and small – crop up and disappear. From this perspective, which underpins the research presented in this dissertation, literacy is a broad and complex concept that encompasses traditional print-based media, new (digital) media and their various but sometimes interrelated uses.