Essay on Language and Literacy in Social Practice

862 Words Jan 1st, 2006 4 Pages
Language and Literacy in Social Practice

Language and Literacy in Social Practice is one of a set of four readers which looks at literacy and language practices as they are moulded and shaped by the cultures of the societies they serve. Edited by Janet Maybin, the book is a collection of key articles by seminal writers in the field who investigate the role of language and literacy as part of social practice.
Broken down into four sections, the book begins with articles by Malinowski, Dell Hymes, Halliday and Volosinov and sets the scene for an anthropoligical/historical exploration of the sophisticated interaction and interrelationships between language, culture and social structure.
Section two then provides ethnographic
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Rather it is a thought provoking collection of writings which will encourage the sensitive literacy educator to examine again the values one transmits. Particularly in the culturally plural Australian context, Maybin's book provides readings that, while not specific to the Australian context, are nevertheless very easily transferrable in the principles and understandings they embody.
So much so that if one were to carefully think through and implement by negotiation the broad principles outlined in the book, Language and Literacy in Social Practice could well serve as a blueprint for a policy framework for literacy education in any society that truly valued its cultural diversity and which was determined to provide the sort of education that would question the status quo. Additionally, it would offer all participants real access to those constructions of empowering literate behaviour that are the staple of the disourse practices and power relationships of everyday life.
It is not, I don't believe, overly strong when Rockhill says that 'the politics of literacy are integral to the cultural genocide of a people...'. Language and Literacy in Social Practice raises the sorts of issues that will help us re-examine our own personal politics to prevent just that sort of 'cultural genocide' no matter how well intentioned or how genteel our motives. It is a book for all educators, cutting across

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