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A Review of the Concept of Visual Literacy

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Many people from very diverse disciplines have attempted to define the concept of Visual Literacy (VL), but with little general consensus so far. This is probably due to the fact that those representing the different disciplines and paradigms are each wanting to interpret Visual Literacy in a way that reflects and flatters their contribution or way of thinking. As a consequence, a theoretical concept with seemingly little practical value has been created, but cannot be used productively until an agreed definition is established.

It is self evident that if a concept does not have a broadly accepted definition, if the theory behind it is confusing, and if its viability on practical terms is a matter of continuing controversy, then the only reasonable way to cope with it is to abandon it. Nevertheless, with the exception of very few and of minor importance cases, no serious attempt has ever been made towards discarding VL altogether.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: School of Education, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK

Publication date: October 1, 1997


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