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The current political climate is characterized by an alarming pattern of global democratic regression driven by authoritarian populist leaders who deploy vast misinformation campaigns. These offensives are successful when the majority of the population lack skills that would allow them to think critically about information in the political sphere, to identify misinformation, and therefore to fully exercise democratic citizenship. Political science has theorized the link between information and power and information professionals understand the cognitive decision-making process involved in processing information, but these two literatures rarely intersect. This paper interrogates the links between information literacy (IL) and the rise of authoritarian populism in order to advance the development of a new transtheoretical model that links political science (which studies power), information science, and critical pedagogy to suggest new paths for teaching and research. We call for a collaborative research and teaching agenda, grounded in a holistic understanding of information as power, that will contribute to achieving a more informed citizenship and promoting a more inclusive democracy.
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