Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

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

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Abstract:  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.

Keywords:  citizenship; critical media literacy; Eritrean status holders; inclusive communication; integration; reflexivity; street-level bureaucrats



© Rosanne van Kommer, Joke Hermes. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.