'Anyone can cook': Critical literacy in the workplace

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines the conceptual links between critical literacy and the view that information literacy is the basis of practice. Informational resources, about which learners in any setting are required to make critical judgments, are in a constant state of dynamic evolution as the result of the dialogues taking place within communities of practice and the information landscapes they inhabit. These dialogues draw on, and consequently shape, these resources. Thus, communities of practice collectively play a role in stewarding the resources which they use for learning.

However, authority over these processes, and associated information practices, can become concentrated in only a small subset of the community, or taken out of the community’s purview altogether. Scrutiny over information practices is nevertheless essential, as without it, practices, and thus the bases for judgments about information (information literacy), could not be reviewed by the community, and literacy would lack a normative core. If this happened, bases for judgments would ossify into habits and routines, becoming disconnected from the dynamic reality of the community’s informational environment.

The notion of radical information literacy is an approach to critical literacy education which is explicitly dialogic, seeing it as the methods and processes which redistribute authority over information practices and, thus, maximise the capacity for stewarding within all members of a community. The approach is polyphonic and democratic. Critical literacy must be taught by critical pedagogies, which innately permit the scrutiny of authority and its redistribution among the community of learners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Literacy for Information Professionals
EditorsSarah McNicol
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
PublisherFacet Publishing
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)978-1-78330-082-2, 978-1-78330-105-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • workplace learning
  • critical literacy
  • practice
  • radical information literacy
  • stewarding


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