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Social Media and Social (In)Justice in Higher Education: Twitter and Social Media as critical media pedagogy “tools”

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Publication date19/03/2020
Host publicationLocating Social Justice in Higher Education Research
EditorsJan McArthur, Paul Ashwin
ISBN (print)9781350086777
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Information that students read on social media globally comes from a fantastic range of resources and platforms (Burnett and Merchant, 2011). Students use social media significantly in relation to discussing and finding information related to academic or any personal matter (Junco, 2014). As such, these media, albeit all media are social, have become a fundamental part of students’ experience; a part of being a student at university. “Being at university” (participation) is what McLean (2019) sees as one phase where social injustice of higher education occurs. Other two phases include students’ access to university and moving to post-university life (McLean, 2019). With regards to the mentioned “being at university”, such being does not happen only via curricular academic engagement and a student’s physical presence, but also virtually via a student’s online presence and engagement that connects to their real life experiences. I propose that the injustice the students might experience, concerning their social media presence, is linked to their lack of access to critical media pedagogy and literacy practice. Regardless of the subject, this would enhance students’ understanding of social media’s varied nature, roles and functions. I also argue that this type of pedagogy, practice and training is necessary for any subject, discipline and programme, and goes beyond transactional media literacy role of acquiring some literacy “skills” (Mihailidis, 2018). Rather, it should also support Higher Education’s civic role in building more socially just societies (McArthur, 2010). This view aligns with “civic media literacy” to “produce and reproduce the sense of being in the world with others towards common good” (Mihailidis, 2018, p.1) I develop the rationale for the aforementioned arguments in the remainder of this chapter, mainly building on the work in critical social media by Christian Fuchs (2017), related perspectives by Paul Mihailidis (2018) and Jan McArthur (2010). The overall approach adopted is one of critical theory of social media.