Debates on what "literacy" is and should be predate the current pervasiveness of "onlife" digital media environments. This contribution seeks to disentangle different perspectives on (media) literacy that emerge as different, and at times ambiguous, possible interpretations within media education frameworks such as the digital civic education curriculum (MIUR, 2018) or the digital citizenship curriculum (James et al., 2019). Based on past discussions, two tendencies can be distinguished that result in either the (1) broadened use or the (2) restrictive figurative use of literacy terminology. A broadened conception of literacy has been thematized within critical pedagogy (Freire & Macedo, 1987) as well as in subsequent discussions linked to multiliteracies and new literacy studies (Gee, 2009; New London Group, 1996; Street, 2017), where literacies are viewed in the context of shared social and cultural practices. With that, literacy has been conceptualised in conjunction with its cultural and critical dimensions (Green, 1988). In media education, these aspects have been recovered as integral elements of media competency and media literacy concepts (Baacke, 1996; Buckingham, 2015), foregrounding the importance of digital agency and participation. On the other hand, however, a variety of scholars have criticised reductive metaphorical uses of literacy that merely refer to the skill of using a determinate device, e.g. as in "computer literacy" (Postman, 1995) or as in "letteracy" being traditional literacy centering around the mere use letters (Papert, 1993). It has been noted that instrumental and deficit-oriented conceptions of digital competence are prone to reemerge in pedagogical practice, for example in "protectionist" or "propagandistic" teaching units (Buckingham, 2019, ch. 3). Digital civic education, through its interdisciplinary configuration and linkage to a certain kind of civic intentionality (Mihailidis, 2018), has the potential to cultivate agency, consciousness and emancipatory approaches necessary for taking up the challenges of onlife democracy. This implies, however, finding ways of integrating creative media production, consumption, critique and reflection within pedagogical practice and highlights further issues in how to translate the digital civic education curriculum to teaching.
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