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Digital technologies and education scholarship tend to focus on either individual creative design or analysis of the political economy. To better understand how ideologies travel across networks, critical digital literacies must focus on enactments beneath the screen, as the linguistic constructs known as software can enact interests across scales of activity to “disembed” local actions and meaning. Investigations of these mobilities and disembedding effects challenge popular notions of digital technologies as neutral, rendering overt the ways that algorithms can naturalize manifestations of power and social arrangements. Such a framework allows for descriptive analyses of the ways hegemonic discourses are enacted through electronically mediated semiotic activity to shape possibilities in local contexts. Examples of such disembedding effects from the United States educational and justice systems are explored, and it is argued that scalar analyses can contribute to future generative critical and descriptive digital literacies scholarship.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Educational Media International, volume 54, issue 4, in 2017, available online at DOI: 10.1080/09523987.2017.1391523. It may differ slightly from the final version of record.

Peer Reviewed



Taylor & Francis



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