Participatory perspectives for the low skilled and the low educated: how can media literacy influence the social and economic participation of the low skilled and the low educated?

Paulo Moekotte, Saskia Brand-Gruwel, Henk Ritzen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We assume that social media use contributes to employability and sociality and media literacy complements a basic set of skills. Especially the low skilled and low educated lack media literacy, which contributes to their precarious situation and increases a participation gap. A database search for peer reviewed articles covering effective elements of media literacy did not return any useful results. The retrieved literature was scarce and media literacy concepts were inconclusive, conflated or ambivalent. We then broadened our scope, using a snow ball technique and Harzing’s Publish and Perish for control purposes. This approach lead to literature indicating that self-presentation and self-profiling are important literacy practices, involving knowledge and skills related to participation in social and economic contexts and understanding of the relations between sociality, employability and networks. Media literacy is best approached as hands-on, situated and experiential, taught in a democratic and critical fashion and related to the attitudes and perspective of the low educated and the low skilled. There is however no clear answer what the complementary role of informal learning is and how literacy related skills and knowledge demanded for lifelong learning may change during the life course. It is also important that policies focussing on inclusion and participation broaden their perspective beyond individualistic notions and , consider the influence of structuralizing mechanisms that create inequality and extend their explanations beyond those framed by economic theories, models and categories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-125
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017



  • media literacy
  • low educated
  • social participation
  • economic participation

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