The Uses of Media Literacy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Uses of Media Literacy

1st Edition

By Pete Bennett, Julian McDougall, John Potter


176 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367190736
pub: 2020-04-02
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 2nd April 2020

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Revisiting Richard Hoggart’s classic work The Uses of Literacy (1957), this book applies Hoggart’s framework to media literacy today, examining media literacy’s various uses, the tensions between them and what this means for people, communities and the contemporary configurations of social class.

In The Uses of Literacy (1957), Richard Hoggart wrote about how his working class community, in the North of England, were at once using the new ‘mass literacy’ for self-improvement, education, social mobility and civic engagement and, at the same time, the powerful were seizing the opportunity also to use this expansion in literacy, through the new popular culture, for commercial and political ends. Working in the intersection between education, cultural studies and literacies, the authors write about media literacy as a contested, under-theorised field through Hoggart’s ‘line of sight’ to provide a perspective on media literacy and working class culture today.

This reimagining of a classic work, piercingly relevant to studies of class in Britain in 2019, will be of key interest to scholars in Media Studies, as well as interested readers in Communication Studies, Literacy Studies, Cultural Studies, Politics and Sociology.

Table of Contents

1. Who are ‘the Working Classes’?

2. Landscape with figures – a setting

3. ‘Them’ and ‘Us’

4. The ‘real’ world of people

5. The full rich life

6. Unbending the springs of action

7. Invitations to a candy-floss world: the newer mass art

8. The newer mass art: sex in shiny packets

9. Unbent springs: a note on a scepticism without tension

10. Unbent springs: a note on the uprooted and the anxious

11 Conclusion

12 Afterword by Kate Pahl

About the Authors

Pete Bennett is Senior Lecturer in post Compulsory Education at the University of Wolverhampton, where he runs a top-up degree and jointly leads the MA in Professional Practice and Lifelong Education. He writes textbooks and is involved as writer and editor in the fields of media, education and culture including Barthes’ Mythologies Today: Readings of Contemporary Culture (Routledge 2013), Doing Text: Media after the Subject (2016) and Identity and Resistance in Further Education (2018). He is co- editor of the new Routledge Research in Media Education and Literacy research series (with Julian McDougall).

Julian McDougall is Professor in Media and Education, Head of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He edits Media Practice and Education, runs the Professional Doctorate (Ed D) in Creative and Media Education at Bournemouth University and convenes the annual International Media Education Summit. He co-edits the Routledge Research in Media Literacy and Education series (with Pete Bennett).

John Potter is Associate Professor (Reader) in Media in Education at the University College London Institute of Education. His research, teaching, supervision and publications are in the fields of: media education, new literacies, creative activity and learner agency; the changing nature of teaching and learning in response to the pervasive use in wider culture of media technologies in formal and informal settings. He is the author of a number of books and papers in the field, including Digital Media, Culture and Education: Theorising third-space literacies with Prof Julian McDougall, shortlisted for the UKLA Academic Book of the Year award, 2018.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Media Literacy and Education

Media literacy is now established by Unesco as a human right, and the field of media literacy education is both growing and diverse. The series speaks to two recurring concerns in this field: What difference does media make to literacy and how should education respond to this? Research and practice has aimed to protect against negative media messages and deconstruct ideology through critical thinking, developing media literacy through creative production and a social participatory approach which focuses on developing active citizens to play a constructive role in media democracy.

This series is dedicated to a more extensive exploration of the known territories of media literacy and education, while also seeking out ‘other’ cartographies. As such, it encompasses a diverse, international range of contexts that share a conceptual framework at the intersection of Cultural Studies / Critical Theories, (New) Social Literacies and Critical Pedagogy. The series is especially interested in how media literacy and education relates to feminism, critical race theory, social class, post-colonial and intersectional approaches and how these perspectives, political objectives and international contexts can ‘decenter’ the field of media literacy education.


Please send initial expressions of interest in proposing a title for this series to [email protected] and [email protected]

Following this, authors / editors with proposals meeting the aims and scope for the series will be invited to submit full proposals to Routledge.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Social Classes
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies