1887

The Social Uses of Literacy

Theory and Practice in Contemporary South Africa

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Abstract

This book details the findings of a research project investigating the social uses of literacy in a range of contexts in South Africa. This approach treats literacy not simply as a set of technical skills learnt in formal education, but as social practices embedded in specific contexts, discourses and positions. What this means is made clear through a series of fine-grained accounts of social uses and meanings of literacy in contexts ranging from the taxi industry in Cape Town, to family farms, urban settlements and displacement sites, rural land holdings, and various sites during the 1994 elections, and among different sectors of South African society, Black, Colored and White.<br />Since the view of literacy presented here is so dependent on context, the book provides not only descriptions of literacy practices but also rich insights into the complexity of everyday social life in contemporary South Africa at a major point of transition. It can be read as a concrete way of understanding the emergence of the New South Africa as it appears to actors on the ground, focused through attention to one central feature of contemporary life &#8212; the uses and meanings of literacy. <br />&#8220;Using fascinating and carefully documented case-study material, this book raises vital questions about literacy and illiteracy, and about adult education. Above all, it questions the efficacy of any literacy programme which fails to acknowledge the many ways in which uneducated and so called &#8216;illiterate&#8217; people already use reading, writing and numeracy in their everyday lives.&#8221; <i>Jenny Maybin, The Open University, Milton Keynes</i><br />

Subjects: Writing and literacy

References

References

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