ERIC Number: ED344254
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Contemporary Orality: A New Theory for Understanding Speech.
Florida Communication Journal, v20 n1 1992
An ethnographic study examined illiterates and their understanding of literacy. The theoretical background of the study is based on the thesis of "contemporary orality": that India is a fundamentally oral culture that retains all the characteristics of primary orality (Walter Ong's term) through the use of speech as the dominant medium of communication. Twelve subjects from Delhi, India were interviewed to determine their organization and application of knowledge. Results indicated that the illiterates find: (1) knowledge as synonymous with being skillful; (2) knowledge as interactional versus manual; and (3) knowledge as hierarchical versus egalitarian. Results also indicated that the subjects believe that literacy increases social inequality in the sense that literates create hierarchies of intelligence that lead to unequal social relationships between literates and illiterates. Rethinking the role of literacy is an issue that communication scholars need to address. (RS)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: India (Delhi); Knowledge
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (77th, Atlanta, GA, October 31-November 3, 1991).