Urban Governance and Social Innovation

Aspiring to Dutchness: Media Literacy, Integration, and Communication with Eritrean Status Holders


Based on 13 interviews with Eritrean status holders and professionals in Amsterdam this article explores how paying attention to media skills and media literacies may help gain a better understanding of what matters in exchanges between professionals and legal refugees in the mandatory Dutch integration process. Media literacy needs to be decolonised in order to do so. Starting as an inquiry into how professionals and their clients have different ideas of what constitutes “inclusive communication,” analysis of the interviews provides insight into how there is a need to (a) renegotiate citizenship away from the equation of neoliberal values with good citizenship and recognising needs and ambitions outside a neoliberal framework, (b) rethink components of formal and informal communication, and (c) reconceptualise media literacies beyond Western‐oriented definitions. We propose that professionals and status holders need to understand how and when they (can) trust media and sources; how what we might call “open‐mindedness to the media literacy of others” is a dialogic performative skill that is linked to contexts of time and place. It requires self‐reflective approach to integration, and the identities of being a professional and an Eritrean stakeholder. Co‐designing such media literacy training will bring reflexivity rather than the more generic term “competence” within the heart of both media literacy and inclusive communication.

Reference van Kommer, R., & Hermes, J. (2022). Aspiring to Dutchness: Media Literacy, Integration, and Communication with Eritrean Status Holders. Media and Communication, 10(4), 317-327. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v10i4.5605
Published by  Kenniscentrum Maatschappij en Recht 28 December 2022

Publication date

Dec 2022


Joke Hermes


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