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ERIC Number: ED458544
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Jul
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Literacies, Contexts and Practices: Public Devices for Their Definition.
Dionisio, Maria de Lourdes
In Portugal, the word "literacy" acquired public importance in October 1995, in the first national literacy assessment report. In the last few years, "reading habits" and not "literacy" became a privileged research object, and it is the amount and kind of reading that is being measured, with the results taken as measures of literacy. These reading habits survey statistics function as a part of a "cultural model" which defines "what counts as normal and natural and what counts as inappropriate and deviant" (Gee, 2001). Four reading habits surveys, conducted in 1999 and 2000 in four different Portuguese cities, were scrutinized. Survey data had been collected in questionnaires answered by students ranging in age from 14 to 24. With little variation, all the questionnaires, together with questions about the primary socializing contexts of the students, privileged the same dimensions. Reading and literacy were conveyed as a set of fixed practices which do not depend on the contexts. But literacy changes as contexts change, literacy practices have broader social meanings and are "supported, sustained, learned, and impeded in people's lives and relationships" (Barton and Hamilton, 2000); they are not an individual matter but a community issue. In the surveys, when students showed that they read to be in the world, to know things, these facts are undervalued and the students' identities as readers are denied because they read the way they choose, the way they need: mostly for information. Book literacy is afforded a higher status than other forms of literacy, pushing into marginal places other literacies associated with other domains of life. (Contains 6 notes, a figure, and 18 references.) Data from the surveys are appended. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Portugal