Sociocultural Approaches to Information Literacy: Space Races, Wish-Cycling and Squabbling Siblings

Sociocultural approaches to information literacy, which recognise that information literacy is shaped through dialogue and debate, have not always been welcomed within our field, being variously critiqued as ‘fashionable,’ of no interest to practitioners or as irrelevant given the availability of other conceptual work. Yet, it could be argued that these ideas have irrevocably changed the direction of information literacy research and practice, not least by challenging ingrained assumptions about ways of knowing- and how we teach for these ideas. This keynote presentation critically analyses the legacy of information literacy’s sociocultural turn by reflecting on how these ideas have been developed since the early 2000s, how they have been integrated into information literacy discourse and narratives and their contributions to information literacy research and practice. In further examining gaps and silences, or the places where sociocultural ideas are sidelined, this presentation also reflects on future challenges for both research and practice, including the risk of stagnation, the lure of aspiration and the responsibilities of progress. In effect, where have sociocultural approaches to information literacy been, where might they be going and why does it matter to our field?

Alison Hicks
University College, London, United Kingdom

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