Wang, Yinhan; 2011, ‘Media Literacy Dossier: research review 9 (Grant 2007), LSE Media Policy Project, April

12. Full reference details of reviewed article: Grant, L. (2007). Learning to be part of the knowledge economy: digital divides and media literacy. London: FutureLab. Conceptions/definition of media literacy (or related concept) used -Digital divide means ‘the difference between those with access to new technologies and those without’ (p.1). - Literacy ‘is not just a set of functional, cognitive skills to be acquired, but a set of social practices by which cultural information is encoded and communicated’…’Meaningfully and effectively engaging with ICTs can be seen as a form of literacy’ (p.5). Key arguments - ‘Digital divide’ needs a more refined re-conceptualisation: access to which technologies (as one could have access to one technology but not the other one); a distinction between ‘theoretical’ (or ‘formal’) and ‘effective access’; the differential uses of technology for entertainment/consumption purposes or for developing various kinds of capital that might be beneficial to one’s life. - Although economic capital is the first and foremost mediating factor in digital divide, cultural and social capitals are also important factors as the possession of them means having the know-how and resources to operate and engage with technologies meaningfully at the personal level. - Participating in the ‘knowledge economy’ through the use of ICTs is important as, at a personal level, it helps make one ‘self-programmable labour’, join in alternative networks and set agendas for themselves. Key implications for research and policymaking - Discussion of digital divide should move beyond the simple dichotomy of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ to look deeply into the differential access and uses. - There should be more explicit elaboration of why people should engage more with digital technologies, and how they might benefit. - To truly solve the digital divide, not just the digital technologies or the economic factor should be involved, cultural and social factors should also be taken into account.

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