ERIC Number: ED390078
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
"A Communion of Friendship": Literacy, Orality, Voice, and Self outside the Academy.
Based on the idea that studying actual persons reading for their own purposes can shed light on such problematic concepts as literacy, orality, voice, and self, a study explored the literate practices of a community of women outside the academy who use their reading and writing to enhance their spiritual growth. Subjects were six women (age mid-30s to mid-50s); all were White and members of Al-Anon, the fellowship of friends and relatives of alcoholics based on the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Their education ranged from GED to Master's student. The literate bias of Al-Anon is obvious--members are exhorted to "read the literature." AA's founders, a stockbroker and a physician, seem to have woven middle-class assumptions about the value of literacy into "the program." Since the informants had all been involved in Al-Anon for some time, they were able to talk about spirituality and reading and writing in the same breath. Analysis of 19 hours of audiotape revealed that literacy and spirituality intertwine in rich and complex ways. The women read Al-Anon literature, meditation books, novels, poetry, and for those in university, academic articles and books. They use their reading for escape, identification, knowledge, pleasure, and hope. One important aspect of their reading is the oral conversation that follows as a book is passed around the circle. Although there may not be implications for the college composition classroom, as Peter Elbow says "college is short, life is long." (Contains seven references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Al Anon; Conversation; Orality; Reading Speaking Relationship; Reading Uses; Voice (Rhetoric)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (46th, Washington, DC, March 23-25, 1995).