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Information Competences as Fetishized Theoretical Categories ‐ The Example of Youth Pro-Ana Blogs

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Scientific reflections on information literacy have emphasized that young people must develop information competences related to using the Internet. Among various approaches, in the generic approach, catalogues of competences are constructed and treated as lists of desired behaviors and skills. The article aims to criticize this approach and its characteristic fetishization of theoretical categories; because of fetishization, these catalogues of competences fail to reflect social reality. The article presents the practices of female bloggers of the pro-ana movement: young girls who consider anorexia not a disease but a lifestyle. Using the method of content analysis, the author analyzed 561 blog entries on 15 blogs and compared the collected data with a model catalogue of competencies created based on the literature. Perceived from the perspective of the generic approach, female pro-ana bloggers may be considered information-literate. This implies that this approach is deficient as the pro-ana movement negatively impacts both healthy and ill girls.
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Keywords: anorexia nervosa; digital literacy; information literacy; media education; pro-ana blogs; pro-ana movement; sociology of education; sociology of the Internet

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 2016

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