Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
English in Education
For a Special Issue on
Critical Literacies and Social Media
01 April 2023
Critical Literacies and Social Media
The post-truth era endures. In the last decade, the rise in vocabularies for naming, describing, and interrogating an increasingly complex flow of information and texts means that terms such as fake news, misinformation, and disinformation have taken position in everyday language use. Ongoing technological developments have brought digital tools, spaces, and practices into everyday formal and informal English language, literacy, and literary education. Social media usage has soared by 227 million during the past 12 months, with 4.70 billion users estimated globally in July 2022 (see the Digital 2022: July Global Statshot Report).
The recent and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to this surge in use: both the infrastructure and usage of web-based technologies have increased in response to local, regional, and national lockdowns and travel restrictions. Greater access to online platforms has created opportunities for greater access to a broader range of texts and text types, discursive positions, interpersonal interactions and relationships, and ways to do civic participation.
Yet digital platforms are themselves positioned and positioning. The need for critical literacies continues, just as the role of social media in and out of classrooms raises questions about what English education looks like in the 21stcentury. For instance, access to diverse perspectives is not guaranteed online, given that algorithms and user selections produce curated feeds and push notifications. At some level, we risk accessing only the online media that fits with our existing beliefs, interests, and ways of thinking.
Equally, social media users (from young children to adolescents and adults) are (re)inventing ways of composing texts across modes, languages, and genres both inside and outside formal education. Marginalised groups are using social media to create communities of belonging as well as designing texts that speak back to histories of colonial erasure by foregrounding indigenous and anti-racist voices, queer culture, feminist politics, and so on. This reveals renewed possibilities for doing critical literacies in ways that are culturally sustainable and that draw on activist literacies to engage with English language, literacy, and literary education that is contextually relevant to the lives of students.
With an interest in this complex dynamic, the editors of this special edition call for submissions (including research articles, creative texts, professional reflections, and so on) from educational professionals, academics, activists, and community leaders that explore critical literacies through social media. This call seeks to explore two main questions about the relationship between critical literacies and social media:
- What are the continuing and emerging issues related to social media content and/or use that a critical literacies approach might help to address?
- What are the evident and emerging possibilities that social media texts and practices present for (re)thinking critical literacies across educational levels and contexts?
International and transnational perspectives are encouraged. Potential contributors may also find the following areas useful in conceptualising their submissions:
- Critical literacies and social media as an aspect of everyday literacies.
- The pedagogical utility in activist literacies and social justice movements.
- Multimodal composition as critical writing/designing.
- The role of social media genres and platforms in doing participatory or collaborative teaching-learning and research.
- The emergence of intersectionality, decoloniality, and queer matters across social media and their role in furthering critical literacies.
- Moments of transformation and/or resistance when working within the tensions between social media (everyday texts) and the canon (disciplinary texts).
- Social media as a means for critical self-reflexivity and professional development (including teacher education).
- Social media, multilingualism, translanguaging, and language learning.
- Doing critical literacies across both digital social media and analogue literacy texts and practices.
- Social media, redesign, and the critical imagination
Please feel free to discuss any proposed submissions with the Guest Editors: