Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Literacy definitions

A literacy is a stable coherent, identifiable configuration of practices such as legal literacy, or the literacy of specific workplaces. (Barton 2007:38)

Looking at different literacy events it is clear that literacy is not the same in all contexts: rather, there are different literacies…within a given culture, there are different literacies associated with different domains of life. Contemporary life can be analysed in a simple way into domains of activity such as home, school, work-place. (Barton and Hamilton 1998: 9)

Some of these literacies have become powerful and dominant, while others have been constrained and devalued. The problem is not so much a lack of literacy, but a lack of social justice. Local knowledge is not always appreciated and local literacies are not always recognised. (Taylor 1997: 4)

... the traditional view of literacy as the ability to read and write rips literacy out of its sociocultural contexts and treats it as an asocial cognitive skill with little or nothing to do with human relationships. It cloaks literacy's connections to power, to social identity, and to ideologies, often in the service of privileging certain types of literact and certain types of people (Gee 1996: 46)

Academic writing is one type of literacy. (Ivanic 1998: 75)


Barton, D. (2007 2nd ed.). Literacy. Oxford: Blackwell

Barton, D. and Hamilton, M. (1998). Local Literacies. London: Routledge.

Ivanic, R. (1998). Writing and Identity: The discoursal construction of identity in academic writing. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Lankshear, C. (1987). Literacy, Schooling and Revolution. London: Falmer Press

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