Knowledge, Culture, and Power: International Perspectives on Literacy as Policy and Practice

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Peter Freebody, Anthony R. Welch
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993 - Social Science - 244 pages
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Literacy education has persistently been regarded as ideologically and politically neutral - as a technical matter, and as a straightforward benefit for individuals and communities. Knowledge, Culture and Power overturns these ideas through a series of original and diverse pieces that powerfully expose some of the unquestioned preconceptions that underlie literacy policies and practices around the world. From cross-national and cross-discipline perspectives, and examining societies of the North and South as well as dispossessed peoples, internationally recognised literacy scholars show how literacy policies and practices play crucial roles in accounting for and justifying differences of colour, race, language, gender, and class. The social, political and economic features of a community or nation-state form an important backdrop to each of these diverse and challenging studies. Case studies focusing on the historical role of literacy in the maintenance or suppression of marginal groups are complemented by reports of data on access to literacy competence for various sub-national minority groups. These issues are framed by close attention to important educational, policy, popular, or media accounts of literacy. Knowledge, Culture and Power is a revealing study of the cultural and political dynamics underlying literacy, and will be of interest to students of literacy, education, planning and policy studies, and cross-cultural analysis.

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