Skip to main content

Uncertain springs of activism: Walking with Hoggart.

McDougall, J., Bennett, P. and Potter, J., 2022. Uncertain springs of activism: Walking with Hoggart. In: Lee, C., Bailey, C., Burnett, C. and Rowsell, J., eds. Unsettling Literacies: Directions for literacy research in precarious times. Singapore: Springer Nature, 181-194.

Full text available as:

Chapter 12_McDougall_et_al_footnote_added.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1007/978-981-16-6944-6_12


This chapter, in presenting adapted extracts from a book length project, revisits Richard Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy (1957) and argues for a theoretical, sociomaterial reclaiming of media literacy, a now established strand of the new literacies, through a return to Hoggart’s concerns and his connecting of literacy to personal, community and cultural lives. Hoggart was writing about the transition between literacies experienced at a time of great uncertainty by, in his words, the working classes. From their perspective, and through his own lived experience of this uncertainty, he sought to write about the benefits of ‘mass literacy’ for education and mobility, as well as about the dangers of persuasion and cultural debasement and the uncertainty of identity experienced by those ‘moving up’ through their uses of literacy. Revisiting what we see as Hoggart’s contribution to the project of ‘drawing attention to the discursive frames that shape everyday lives and the literacy practices that are a part of them’ (Jones, 2018) serves both to unsettle the seemingly neutral, competence and skills-based framings of media literacy and to consider the extent to which the uses of media unsettle literacies. Whilst there is much to challenge in Hoggart’s observations, we argue that going beyond the focus on class to ‘walk with’ an intersectional, dynamic ‘take’ on the socio-material approach taken in Hoggart’s Uses has much to offer research in our current times that seeks to better understand the lived experiences of the benefits and risks of digital, media literacies as well as the precarity of digital inequalities (Helsper, The digital disconnect: the social causes and consequences of digital inequalities (Sage, 2021).

Item Type:Book Section
ISBN:978-981-16-6943-9, 978-981-16-6944-6
Series Name:Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education
Number of Pages:204
Uncontrolled Keywords:Media; literacies; inequalities; precarity; ethnography
Group:Faculty of Media & Communication
ID Code:37011
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:06 Jun 2022 14:44
Last Modified:05 Mar 2024 01:08


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -