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The ability of citizens to establish the credibility of information andinformation sources through critical assessment is oftenemphasized as essential for the upholding of a democraticsociety and for people’s health and safety. Drawing on material-discursive conceptualizations, the article asks, how does criticalassessment of information and information sources play out as itis folded into a networked information infrastructure in whichdifferent types of information are mediated and shaped by thesame algorithms andflattened into the same interfaces? Theempirical material comprises dyadic interviews with 61adolescents. The interviews were analysed using an interpretativeapproach focusing on the construction of action and meaning.The analysis foregrounds trust and agency as two dimensions.This way normative assumptions become visible as stereotypes,sometimes positioned as ideals towards which to strive, othertimes as deterrent examples: the non-evaluator, the naïveevaluator, the skeptical evaluator and the confident evaluator.The created stereotypes help to comprehend differentunderstandings of critical assessment of information and howthese can bring about different actions. The article argues thatcritical assessment of information as an element in media andinformation literacy must be understood not just in relation tohow it is used to assess the credibility of information, but alsoregarding how it is performatively enrolled in the shaping ofknowledge and in the creation of ignorance and doubt.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Information Studies
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