published quarterly by the university of borås, sweden

vol. 22 no. 1, March, 2017

Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Uppsala, Sweden, June 27-29, 2016

Resistant spectatorship and critical information literacy: strategies for oppositional readings

Eamon Tewell

Introduction. This paper considers how the theory of resistant spectatorship, developed in the field of media studies, can allow librarians and researchers to better understand or encourage individuals’ opposition to commoditised information environments. Resistant spectatorship theorises that instead of passive acceptance, individuals have the ability to reinterpret, substitute, or entirely reject the message of the information they encounter according to their lived experiences.
Method. Resistant spectatorship is applied to the setting of academic libraries, sites subject to increasing corporatisation but still aligned with ideals of access and intellectual freedom, and thus with the potential to encourage resistant readings of dominant information structures such as commercial search engines and global publishers. Critical information literacy is proposed as a practice aligned with resistant spectatorship that holds possibility for librarians and students to recognise and act upon oppressive information in their own contexts.
Conclusions. The practice of critical information literacy, a pedagogical approach relating to the ideas of resistant spectatorship, is a promising mode for encouraging students of higher education to become resistant readers of information in its increasingly corporate-mediated forms.


It is essential that the library and information science professions respond to the intensifying commercial ownership and production of information. Information’s shift to a position of utmost socioeconomic importance has occurred in line with the imperatives of corporate hegemony and private profit. The rise of major search engines based in the United States in particular contributes to the maintenance of inequality across social and economic conditions. The commercial nature of online search governs one’s results: the outcome of a given search is inevitably advertising and search engines’ own products and interests at the top of the page, while audiences are delivered to advertisers via attention and clicks (Noble, 2012, p. 39-40). By focusing on the acquisition and use of high-priced subscription resources, privileging certain types of resources due to format, and leaving the ideological functions of these same commercial information providers unquestioned, despite our positive intentions academic librarians have struggled to reveal the greater information landscape as consisting primarily of corporate-owned media that functions behind a façade of objectivity. As a result, learners in library and higher education settings are less likely to fully understand and be able to challenge such sources.

Though appearing to be ensnared in existing hegemonic constructions of information, information seekers may have the ability to fight back. The theory of resistant spectatorship, first introduced in 1973 by cultural theorist Stuart Hall, offers alternative ways of knowing and negotiating these systems. These choices are predicated upon re-evaluating the non-problematic interactions with media use that many people have, from the companies that manufacture search technologies to the ways that information is deemed relevant or useful. Resistant spectatorship contends that a person engaging with a media object, from a book to an online video, may be able to read it from one of three positions: dominant, negotiated, and oppositional. In taking the dominant position, a text’s message is decoded in accordance with the creator’s intent. In this position the reader shares with the text an acceptance of the dominant ideology. A reader in the negotiated position accepts some aspects of the text but not others. An argument’s basic premise may go unopposed, but it is not fully accepted and the reader challenges and reconfigures the text in small ways that reflect their own understandings. A reader may also have the ability to resist the text, rejecting the dominant message and supplying their own interpretation. The reader comprehends the intended message but derives their own meaning from the text by reading it against itself. This third position is that of resistant spectatorship, which defies dominant cultural values as they are presented. The theory of resistant spectatorship recognises that information is deciphered in culturally situated contexts, and an understanding of a given text is shaped by one’s personal identity and lived experiences. By placing the reader/viewer in a position of potential agency, resistant spectatorship argues that individuals are far from being unresponsive consumers of mass media content and that every text contains multiple meanings contingent upon the reader.

The concept of information literacy has received a great deal of attention in library and information science, and particularly academic libraries, since the 1980s. It has featured prominently in a large number of international research studies and reports, contributed to the revitalisation of instructional practise, facilitated the assessment of student learning, and functioned as a means of professional legitimisation. As it has been understood, whether by the documents that guide information literacy practice and assessment such as SCONUL’s Seven Pillars of Information Literacy or by the great number of studies present in the library literature which seek effective ways to impart skills to students, information literacy largely lacks the politicised comprehension of information environments that is necessary to know and contend with the ways that corporations such as Google or Elsevier make content findable and accessible. Critical information literacy responds to traditional formulations of information literacy by asking library educators and students to engage with these social, political, and economic dimensions of information. Putting the ideas of resistant spectatorship into practice, critical information literacy prompts learners to recognise and be able to resist dominant information modes. Resistant spectatorship is a useful frame for understanding interactions with information as personal, contextualised, and potentially contested, while critical information literacy urges librarians to think, act, and teach in ways that account for the underpinnings of information structures and support learners’ agency in the educational process.

Resistant spectatorship and the information age

The present-day ‘information society’ or ‘information age’ occurred through a shift from economies driven by traditional industry to ones propelled by networked information and knowledge. The names associated with this turn toward economies based on immaterial labour and information’s capture, packaging, and distribution disingenuously infer a break from the past. As opposed to an era in which the market has been superseded by a proliferation of information, capital’s reach has instead been extended into new realms with the rise of digital content. Philosopher Bernard Stiegler (2014) argues that our contemporary period should be known as the ‘hyperindustrial epoch’. Hyperindustrialism signifies the industrialisation of all things, including the expansion of industrial production to technology in order to encompass additional features of the human experience. Isolated from the production of knowledge, individuals in hyperindustrial societies act primarily as consumers. Relatedly, the emergence of what media theorist Jonathan Beller (2006) calls the ‘attention economy’ is the result of the Internet’s advent. The attention economy acts as a type of digital interpellation, producing the subject through constantly requiring the bending to commercial will through small and continuous acts of persuasion, assurance, and repetition. The consumer in the attention economy manufactures value through their attention. Attention is a commodity that is attracted and sold by advertisers such as Google or any other company that relies on page views, clicks, and other forms of online attention reliant on accumulation. Attention may be sold in many ways, Beller warns, and there are companies working on discerning what exact form the capturing of attention’s value can take. We can expect that these advances into the commodification of all personal activities conducted online will continue until there remain no more actions to be captured or mined for monetary value. The concepts of hyperindustrialism and the attention economy point to the fact that a vast majority of the cultural knowledge in our era is produced, mediated, and made discoverable through commercial providers.

Information’s ownership and extensive distribution by profit-driven entities necessitates the nuanced understanding of information processes. Resistant spectatorship offers a unique lens through which to view the problems of information literacy and how to critique content, sources, and platforms. The theory promotes the conception that one’s interactions with information are influenced by the myriad ways in which one identifies, and encourages us to acknowledge that the information seeking and evaluation process is inherently situated within raced, gendered, and classed environments. Resistant spectatorship has been referred to by a number of similar phrases, all of which allude to its central notion of defiance against dominant ideologies as expressed through media: counter-reading, the resisting spectator, reading against the grain, the oppositional gaze, and radical viewing. Resistant spectatorship theorises real viewers who accept, negotiate, or oppose a media object’s message. The theory has been very impactful in film and cultural studies, where it has disputed the prevalent idea of monolithic and unengaged viewerships (Steiner, 1988; Pillai, 1992; Bobo, 1998). Far from passively accepting content, audiences and individuals interpret and recast intended messages to suit their own needs and interests. It is the recognition of this dynamic interaction in the meaning-making process between people and media that positions the viewer as one with potential agency.

Resistant spectatorship is largely derived from cultural theorist Stuart Hall’s (1973) widely influential theory of the encoding/decoding model of communication, which has been cited upwards of 7000 times and is a touchstone text for the fields of cultural and media studies, appearing in a number of collections (Durham and Kellner, 2006). Hall’s decoding model recognises that behavioural understandings of media and information tend to reduce the choices possible in the process of information negotiation, which rely on the assumption of an indifferent viewer who internalizes any media message they are presented with. In order for a message to have an effect, satisfy a need, or be put to a use, Hall explains, ‘it must first be appropriated as meaningful discourse and be meaningfully coded’(1973, p. 93). Hall proposes three stages of reading media texts, later applied to resistant spectatorship: dominant, negotiated, and oppositional. When a viewer decodes the meaning of a film, newscast, or other text in the manner that its producer intends, that person is operating within the sphere of dominant ideology. Hall describes the negotiated reading as ‘acknowledg[ing] the legitimacy of the hegemonic definitions’ while simultaneously questioning some of the ground rules’ (1973, p. 102). One may fully understand the intended meaning of a text but choose to interpret it within an alternative framework, as occurs in an oppositional reading. Because it entails the active interruption of hegemonic narratives on a small scale, this position is most significant in terms of a viewer’s agency. Hall states that ‘one of the most significant political moments is the point when events which are normally signified and decoded in a negotiated way begin to be given an oppositional reading’, for this is where the struggle in discourse is joined (1973, p. 103).

The intended meanings of a text ‘are hegemonic precisely because they represent definitions of situations and events which are ‘in dominance’’ and, importantly, convey a type of legitimacy to appear as natural, inevitable, or otherwise ordinary (Hall, 1973, p. 103). For example, consider the ways Google imbues its primary product, Google Search, with a sense of technological legitimacy and objectivity through the careful design choices of a white neutralized homepage and a single search box. Conducting a search will retrieve approximately 10 cleanly arranged results per page, while the searcher is notified of the milliseconds it took the algorithm to retrieve these results from Google’s server farms located across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Any semblance of complexity is removed from the search process so that individuals are presented with one interpretation of the web that appears entirely ordinary. A dominant position accepts the Google interface as it appears, and as a relatively objective resource. A negotiated position might question why the interface fails to include additional search options, such as advanced search, or consider how Autocomplete affects the ways in which people conduct searches. A resistant position turns a critical eye to not only these features of Google’s homepage and results, but recognises and resists the ideologies that underpin the search engine’s function and guide user choices toward those which profit hegemonic forces.

These three positions constitute the primary ways of interpreting a text produced through major media channels. As summarised by film scholar Judith Mayne, ‘the dominant reading is one fully of a piece with the ideology of the text, while the negotiated reading is more ambivalent…the oppositional reading, then, is one totally opposed to the ideology in question’ (1993, p. 93). Manthia Diawara and bell hooks later expanded upon Hall’s theory of oppositional reading. From a perspective of African American spectatorship, both authors delineate possibilities for resistance to films representing dominant ideologies of patriarchy and white supremacy. Though Hall outlined the general positions, the term ‘resistant spectatorship’ was formulated and explored by theorist Manthia Diawara. Diawara argues that spectators are ‘socially and historically as well as psychically constituted’ (1988, p. 66). For Diawara, independent African American cinema offers an alternative to primary modes of filmmaking and destructive racist representation, as ‘resisting spectators are transforming the problem of passive identification into active criticism which both informs and interrelates with contemporary oppositional filmmaking’ (1988, p. 75-76). Author and activist bell hooks explores the ‘oppositional gaze’ in relation to African American women spectators, stating that this act of defiance draws the individual’s attention to the oppressive social field and offers the possibility of agency. From a black feminist perspective hooks argues against Diawara’s expression of resistant spectatorship, asserting that African American female spectators do more than resist and ‘create alternate texts that are not solely reactions…as critical spectators, black women participate in a broad range of looking relations, contest, resist, revise, interrogate, and invent on multiple levels’ (1992, p. 128). hooks recognises that viewers may have ‘the ability to manipulate one’s gaze in the face of structures of domination that would contain it’, and are unlikely to be in full accordance or opposition (1992, p. 116). Mayne usefully reconsiders Hall’s decoding positions as strategies, thus placing emphasis on active engagement in the reading and sense making of decoding cultural texts. Dominant and oppositional readings are better considered as ‘horizons of possibility’ as opposed to rigid categories based on a stable and inert text (Mayne, 1993, p. 92).

Resistant spectatorship has undergone a great deal of discussion and revision within film studies since its introduction in the 1970s, but this theory has a great deal to offer in considering how individuals approach other forms of media in our information saturated society, particularly information online. Applied to libraries and literacy, it reveals that approaches to information literacy that take a decontextualised and skills-based approach result in a lack of engagement with the complexities inherent in contemporary information landscapes. Resistant spectatorship can serve to remind the library profession that hegemonic information structures can and should be read along resistant lines, and that library and information science practitioners and researchers have the ability to encourage oppositional readings of information.

Critical information literacy and resistant readings of information

The concept of information literacy has shaped and been shaped by the library profession, as well as factors external to libraries but influencing their values and operations. Since its widespread acceptance in the 1980s and 90s information literacy has been broadly conceived of as the set of abilities required to identify an information need and subsequently find, evaluate, and use information to fulfill a particular need, as expressed in the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education produced by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Though the ACRL Standards remain in place, the recently developed Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education can be seen as a necessary advancement for thinking about information literacy education in academic settings, as it attempts to move from a perspective imbued in skills-based teaching to one more amenable to critical thought. The Framework’s development and adoption has been a contentious process, as parties both in support of and seeking to stop the document from approval have argued their respective viewpoints. If the Framework is eventually selected by ACRL as the guiding document for information literacy it may help the library profession move towards teaching more complex understandings of information, but as a national standard it does not and cannot contain a truly critical or radical understanding of information literacy, as this work requires the efforts of librarians on local levels ( Seale, 2016).

Information literacy’s commonly held definitions, in the ACRL Standards, Framework, and elsewhere, fail to account for the fact that information literacy is a contested and circumstantial term. Christine Pawley skilfully exposes an intrinsic tension in the term, observing that ‘“information literacy” is indeed an activity greater—or at least different than—the sum of its parts in that “information” signifies control while “literacy” connotes democratic empowerment’ (2003, p. 424). This contradictory tension has the benefit of providing an opportunity for librarians to ‘be explicit about the moral and political commitment to flattening rather than reinforcing current information and literacy hierarchies’ (Pawley, 2003, p. 448). Limberg, Sundin, and Taljia usefully examine three theoretical understandings of information literacy, and describe information literacy as ‘purposeful information practices in a society characterised by an almost limitless access to information and where information practices in digital environments shape and constitute important elements in most people’s lives in our part of the world’ (2012, p. 95). Here, ‘information’ signifies both the content and the physical object carrying or transmitting this content, while ‘literacy’ is inclusive of actions related to understanding and evaluating texts. Information literacy is a challenged term interpreted in numerous ways, greatly dependent upon the theoretical perspective from which it is viewed as well as the institutions, organisations, and discourses within which these practices are performed.

The dominant discourses of information literacy continue to be preoccupied with the attainment of skills—in particular a set of proficiencies performed in a library or online setting—which has the effect of neutralising dialogue regarding the concept by ‘professionalising’ it and rendering it in technical terms, far from Pawley’s hope of a productive hierarchy-flattening tension. As it has developed through professional organisations and its practice by librarians, information literacy operates within information structures sans critique of such arrangements, functioning most effectively for accreditation and assessment purposes. Attempts at a broader understanding of information resources and the roles that they play have been essentially ignored for more discrete and compartmentalised skills such as retrieving peer-reviewed journal articles from subscription databases. A consideration of information literacy’s introduction will illustrate how it came to be an apolitical and decontextualised theory and practice instead of a resistant one.

Information literacy originated in the industrial and governmental sectors, instead of, as one might presume, in the educational domain. Paul Zurkowski’s (1974) formation of information literacy privatises the concept from its very introduction, as it is rooted in a commercial environment where the private sector is charged with the primary responsibility to generate both information (capital) and the skills of information literacy within the public (to produce capital more effectively). Zurkowski’s paper describes the need for American governmental organisations to develop business and workplace information competencies in its citizens, as well as the skills these employees require to operate in the rapidly expanding information services industry. This establishment of the term has played a significant part in defining information literacy as it currently exists. Since Zurkowski’s introduction of the idea it has come to be adopted most widely by educational institutions, which have traditionally expressed goals far different than that of industry.

One publication from the early days of information literacy takes a very different approach to the subject. The political nature of information literacy is made clear from the outset of Cees Hamelink’s paper, which states: ‘A new “information literacy” is necessary for liberation from the oppressive effects of the institutionalised public media’ (1976, p. 120). Instead of a characteristic to be cultivated so that citizens may more effectively uphold the status quo, Hamelink hypothesises information literacy as a mindset to counter the effects of information provided by hegemonic forces (Whitworth, 2014). Information can function as an oppressive tool due to the disconnected ways that content is presented and delivered, while the ‘pre-digested’ nature of dominant information sources ‘preclude[s] the insight of the world as something problematic and changeable’ (Hamelink, 1976, p. 120). This pre-digestion of information has only intensified, evidenced by the development of corporate departments responsible for bypassing traditional media outlets and distributing content using their own platforms and social media. The science fiction podcast ‘The Message’ is one instance of this. Produced by General Electric’s marketing department to capitalize on the podcast boom, the series has been downloaded more than one million times and currently rates as the number one most popular podcast on iTunes, with an accompanying alternate reality game tie-in.

Given information’s continued commodification and dissemination through corporate channels, an alternative to the ways in which information literacy is conceived becomes essential if learners are to navigate such a complex information landscape. As a model emphasising one’s capacity to defy and reformulate dominant media messages, resistant spectatorship could help to oppose the common notion of a monolithic group that unthinkingly accepts content and consider a substitute to such easy interpretations of users’ experiences with information. One approach to information literacy with parallels to resistant spectatorship is critical information literacy, a theoretically informed approach to information literacy that actively acknowledges the political nature and situatedness of one’s engagement with information.

Taking issue with the oppressive functions of information literacy and the accompanying educational activities of libraries, critical information literacy considers how librarians and students can engage with and act upon the power structures facilitating information’s construction and distribution. Critical information literacy primarily uses critical theory frameworks to re-evaluate information literacy’s conventions, from the lack of involvement with the socio-political dynamics that form scholarly communication to the notion that information literacy is an educational obstacle to be achieved. Allen Luke and Cushla Kapitzke’s (1999) poststructuralist examination of information literacy frameworks and standards is among the first of many ensuing appeals in the literature for critical information literacy. The authors argue that existing information literacy documents enforce a generic and hierarchical approach when it is information’s variety and diversity that requires attention. James Elmborg proposes critical information literacy as ‘a way for libraries to change [their] trajectory and more honestly align themselves with the democratic values that they invoke’, thus contributing to the resolution of longstanding uncertainties regarding information literacy’s importance as well as the library’s purpose in the academy (2006, p. 93). This work toward the identification of ways that educational institutions, and by extension, libraries, act as cultural agents and enact dominant ideologies would have a wide range of implications for librarians and students alike.

Critical information literacy entails not just reflection and awareness, but action. Encouraging librarians to develop an information literacy praxis that recognises students’ personal agency, critical information literacy involves a commitment to social justice and the interrogation of dominant beliefs. It advances information literacy’s potential to develop people’s abilities to become politically informed and engaged, particularly considering that information literacy is in some ways already aligned with and demonstrative of values of information access and democracy (Jacobs and Berg, 2011). A critical approach to information literacy education would entail a greater awareness of making meaning within libraries as opposed to the efficient transfer of knowledge from teacher to student, an idea closely linked to that of the resistant reader who derives significance from texts according to their own historical, cultural, and personal identities.

As it is generally conceived in national standards and research, information literacy focuses upon commonalities among information practices and cultivating effective information retrieval practices. As Alison Hicks notes, a critical approach to information literacy takes a step back to question the global flows of information while developing ‘the learner’s understanding of who she is (identity) and what she can do (agency)’ (2015, p. 218). Critical information literacy ‘engages learners with the broader social and cultural contexts of information questioning’ while also advancing ‘a personal approach to learning, drawing from the learner’s past experiences to develop their ability to critically construct, shape and negotiate knowledge, practices, and identities’ (Hicks, 2015, p. 220). Academic librarians have taken to these challenges in a number of ways. Librarians may teach the economics of scholarly communication by asking students to jot down whenever they encounter a paywalled article and reflect on the barriers that these costs create to accessing such information (Warren and Duckett, p. 2010). The white, patriarchal, heteronormative assumptions of library classification systems provide a concrete example of how information organisation and access is rife with systemic discrimination when subject headings are examined (Drabinski, 2008). Librarians may employ feminist or critical teaching methods that decentre the teacher and promote collaborative classroom environments to position students’ lived experiences as valid ways of knowing (Accardi, 2013). Incorporating ‘alternative’ and counterculture resources into existing library practices and collections, such as zines, can be one effective way of not only making marginalised viewpoints more widely known, but of showing students through the presence of these materials that recording and publishing their knowledge may be more possible than they had previously thought.

In providing these examples of how critical and resistant approaches are adopted in academic library instruction, I would like to relate one instance of a resistant reading that occurred while I was teaching. During one library instruction session, I worked with students individually as they looked for resources regarding how their neighbourhoods had changed historically in terms of demographics. One student, searching the Historical New York Times database for articles from the newspaper of record’s back issues, realised that when she searched for the neighbourhood in Brooklyn she grew up in and currently lives, the database attached subject descriptors such as ‘African-Americans’, ‘poverty’, and ‘handgun crime’ to articles referencing it. Not only did the database classify the neighbourhood in demeaning ways, but the first article in the list of search results made reference to the community’s appearance in a piece that had nothing to do with the topic but everything to do with the author and publication’s classist assumptions, including the presence of trash and lack of general maintenance. The student was upset but not surprised at these characterisations of her home, and mentioned the media’s tendency to focus on the negatives in her community while never printing a story about the positive things there. Based on these sources she revised her topic. Her research paper would now address negative representations of her neighbourhood and how communities that are considered impoverished or crime-ridden are likely to be made of up strong bonds among families and community members. This student was reading complex information from a resistant position: critiquing the assumptions behind the dominant information sources of a proprietary database and major news company, reinterpreting the messages of negativity and dismissal that they conveyed, and contributing her own narrative of community and hope.


Resistant spectatorship, as it pertains to information literacy and academic libraries, encourages a reconceptualisation of library instruction and argues for the necessity of recognising the array of contexts that learners work within. Library researchers ‘tend to separate students from economic and social contexts, thereby detaching them from school, teacher, and society’, Elmborg argues, while in actuality we need to take into account personal conceptions of information and cultivate an understanding of ‘how individual students in specific contexts and communities encounter information generally and the library specifically’ (2006, p. 194). Whether in the context of libraries or outside of them, information is never met in depoliticised and generalisable conditions. Resistant spectatorship asks both practitioners and researchers to consider these terms, including how individuals contest prevailing information sources according to their views. In regards to research implications, resistant spectatorship contributes to a critical discourse of librarianship that could, as Henry Blanke states, ‘provide us with a language and analytical framework with which to critique the promotion…of information as a commodity’ (1991, p. 12-13). Due to the highly contextual nature of resistant spectatorship, research implications could also include the advancement of sociocultural understandings of information use. Such research would further consider information literacy as it exists outside of academic settings, such as workplaces or other everyday information-seeking contexts, as the work of Annemaree Lloyd, Christine Bruce, and many others has investigated (Partridge, Bruce and Tilley, 2008; Lloyd, 2010; Lundh, Limberg and Lloyd, 2013).

While libraries contend with trends relatively new to higher education that are at odds with the profession’s values of intellectual freedom and sharing, the information landscape at large continues down a commoditised path. As dominant search engines function increasingly as highly profitable tools that transmute information needs into consumption, one possibility for resistance is based in social conceptions of information that are informed by resistant spectatorship and put into practice at libraries using a critical information literacy approach. Understanding and being able to promote resistant readings of information will be key to educating individuals who are not merely able to know how to find the right information for an assignment or to complete a task, but can effectively interrogate and resist the information that they encounter. Furthermore, a critical approach to information literacy and the work that libraries do will enable them to better function as organisations committed to the public good instead of to privatised commerce. Being members of a profession that must deeply understand how knowledge and claims to truth are organised and evaluated, academic librarians occupy a unique space in the academy that arguably makes them best equipped to encourage students to question the myriad forces that govern information access and use.

The obstacles to such a realisation are many, and range from a lack of knowledge among librarians regarding how to incorporate critical information literacy into the constellation of their practices to structural and organisational barriers resulting from the increasing corporatisation of higher education. Taking action upon these oppressive formations is key to the realisation of resistant reading practices but difficult to actualise within the limited space of the library or university. As with spectatorship, information literacy ‘is in constant flux and embedded in cultural situations, each situation nuanced and different from others’ (Elmborg, 2006, p. 195). And like resistant spectatorship, critical information literacy involves critical interpretations ranging from a text to an entire system. Resistant spectatorship can contribute to the theoretical understanding of people’s engagement with hegemonic information modes, while critical information literacy can translate this understanding into library and education contexts, and provide a starting point for the everyday practice of oppositional reading. Despite their different potential uses, they share fundamental connections. Both approaches demand the recognition of individuals’ agency and emphasise the capacity we hold to create change, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Both approaches make the consideration of power relations, corporate domination, and stratification that we contend with in society central to understanding the ways that information is created, received, and used. The challenge is to create opportunities that empower learners to define their education and create change on their own terms. This is a major undertaking that demands a great deal of effort and understanding. But it is not impossible using concepts and practices such as resistant spectatorship and critical information literacy to inform our everyday work, and most importantly, when this work is done with the support of one another.

About the author

Eamon Tewell is a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Long Island University, Brooklyn, where he supports the teaching and learning activities of the campus community. Eamon’s research interests are critical information literacy, popular media in library instruction, and televisual representations of libraries. He can be contacted at eamon.tewell@liu.edu.


How to cite this paper

Tewell, E. (2016). Resistant spectatorship and critical information literacy: strategies for oppositional readings. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Uppsala, Sweden, June 27-29, 2016 Information Research, 22(1), paper colis1610. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/22-1/colis/colis1610.html (Archived by WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/6oJce3ivp)
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