The authors of this book analyze the Mass-Observation Project as a way of understanding the nature of writing and the social conditions within which people write, the social purposes they use writing for, and how writing fits in with their life histories, all of which define writing itself. The authors are also interested in how writing is implicated in power relations, and how it is used to establish identities and to transform social situations and relationships. The Mass-Observation Project is a unique institutional context for writing. From the beginning, in Britain, the project involved ordinary people observing and writing about life and collecting those writings for future use by researchers, the media, students and the public in general. The first section of the book describes the Mass-Observation Project, its history and controversies with anthropology. The chapters provide the background necessary for framing the literacy practices described in the rest of the book. Section 2 focuses on the voices of the people who write for Mass-Observation. This part constitutes the raw data of the book and would appeal to readers with a particular interest in everyday writing practices. The discussions in the third section concern personhood, power and identity. The chapters balance description, interpretation and explanation as the Mass-Observation experienced is used to provide insight into the nature of literacy practices in contemporary society.
Publisher: Hampton Press
Number of pages: 304
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