Purpose. The purpose of this paper is to explore the aptness of “information literacy”, conceptualized as a socially contextualized phenomenon, for analyses of interdisciplinary scholarly communication.
Design/methodology/approach. The paper presents a conceptual analysis. Two influential representatives of the social turn in the information literacy literature are taken as starting points: Annemaree Lloyd’s conceptualization of “information literacy practice”, and Jack Andersen’s conceptualization of information literacy as “genre knowledge”. Their positioning of information literacy as a socially contextualized phenomenon – by use of practice theories and rhetorical genre theory, respectively, – is analysed against an illustrative example of interdisciplinary scholarly communication.
Findings. Conceptualizations by Lloyd and Andersen explain information literacy as socially contextualized in terms of stable norms and understandings shared in social communities. Their concepts have the potential of explaining changes and innovations in social practices including scholarly communication. If we combine genre-theoretical and practice-theoretical concepts – and accentuate the open-endedness of social practices and of genres – we can enhance the understanding of information literacy in settings of interdisciplinary scholarly communication where the actors involved lack shared conventions and assumptions.
Originality/value. The paper suggests that the fluid features of social contexts should be accounted for in the information literacy literature. By combining genre-theoretical and practice-theoretical concepts in a novel way it offers such an account. It provides a useful framework for understanding the phenomenon of information literacy in interdisciplinary scholarly communication.