Materializing Literacies in Communities: The Uses of Literacy Revisited (Hardback)
  • Materializing Literacies in Communities: The Uses of Literacy Revisited (Hardback)
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Materializing Literacies in Communities: The Uses of Literacy Revisited (Hardback)

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£110.00
Hardback 224 Pages / Published: 23/10/2014
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What is a `contemporary' understanding of literacy practices? How can `literacy' be explained and situated? This book addresses literacy practices research, understanding it as both material and spatial, based in homes and communities, as well as in formal educational settings. It addresses a need to update the work done on theoretical literacy models, with the last major paradigms such as critical literacies and multiliteracies developed a decade ago. Kate Pahl draws on case studies to highlight experiences alternate from the traditional representations of literacy. She argues that the affordances of home and familiar spaces offer fertile ground for meaning-making. These resultant literacies are multimodal and linked to space, place and community. An important evaluative resource, this book details a range of methodologies for further researching literacy, describing ethnographic, visual, participatory and ecological approaches, together with connective ethnographies. This volume will appeal to academics and professions in literacy studies and language and education.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9780567469618
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 490 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Pahl demonstrates a stunning ability to make the invisible visible. Through a complex network of interrelated narratives of children and ghosts, community stories, and abandoned and inhabited spaces, Pahl invites us to revisit, rethink, re-write and re-imagine what we know and how we make sense of our experiences as educators, as researchers, and ultimately as people. -- Catherine Compton-Lilly, University of Wisconsin Madison, USA
Pahl's work expands and extends the oft-invoked conception of literacy as a "social practice." Through her research in neighborhoods, schools, and homes, she provides a persuasive and thoughtful exploration of the ways in which the daily reading and writing practices of people grow from - and perpetuate - specific histories, locations, and cultural contexts. She listens carefully to the stories people tell of their lived literacy experiences and, through theories of narrative and aesthetics, enriches our sense of how people encounter and imagine their identities and their communities. What's more, her use of participatory action research methodologies provides a compelling reminder of the need for researchers to collaborate with people in our communities to create knowledge and sustainable social change. -- Bronwyn T. Williams, University of Louisville, USA
Bringing theories of material culture to literacy studies, Pahl shows us new ways of conceptualising and examining literacies in people's lives. Most importantly, perhaps, the book works ... as a `provocation' or an `alternate space of resistance', gently challenging the deficit assumptions about one town that underpin and are reinforced by statistics, and celebrating it as a creative, magical place of stories, textiles, singing, dancing, glitter and gold spangled elephants. The localised, everyday examples provided here present literacies as inevitably inflected by broad social, economic and political movements, but also entwined with memory and hope. The book is a powerful response to those that seek to de-humanise people and places for political purposes. -- Cathy Burnett, Sheffield Institute of Education, UK
Space. Materiality. Aesthetics. Narrative. Representation. Futures. Each word taken separately bears the potential for a lifetime of inquiry. Kate Pahl holds them together in the universe of literacy practices in Rotherham, a community in the United Kingdom where she has located her inquiry for the last several years. As an ethnographer, Pahl embodies a research praxis that that hums in the key of empathy and she crafts evocative narratives that animate often hidden or overlooked nuances of meaning making involved in everyday interactions as young people interact with their material worlds. She expands New Literacy Studies research by putting forth a rich taxonomy of literacies embedded within everyday objects, actions, practices, and texts that have community relationships at the center. Pahl invites us to cultivate a responsive orientation toward communities in which literacies are thriving in unexpected and sometimes unlikely places. This is a book for readers and writers, for researchers and practitioners, and for those who bear a commitment to research as being generative of new knowledge, broadened ways of knowing, and increased access to knowledge-making processes. -- Lalitha Vasudevan, Associate Professor of Technology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, USA
Pahl is a truly committed ethnographer in the finest tradition. To a deep engagement with community she brings an impressive grasp of theory and a storyteller's skill at conveying lives. Read this book to understand how literacy, in its most inclusive sense, is put to work in communities and to learn, through example, what it means to be an engaged literacy scholar. -- Susan Nichols, Senior Lecturer, School of Education, University of South Australia, Australia

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