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ERIC Number: EJ1008156
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 57
ISSN: ISSN-1559-9035
What Is Literacy?--A Critical Overview of Sociocultural Perspectives
Perry, Kristen H.
Journal of Language and Literacy Education, v8 n1 p50-71 Spr 2012
Sociocultural perspectives on literacy include various theories focused on the myriad ways in which people use literacy in context, which include a strong emphasis on power relations. Yet, these theories also have important differences, and many in the field of literacy do not clearly differentiate among them. I provide a critical overview of influential sociocultural perspectives on literacy, focusing on three major perspectives: (1) literacy as social practice, (2) multiliteracies, and (3) critical literacy. In an effort to support researchers in framing their scholarly work and to support practitioners and other consumers of research make sense of research, I discuss the ways in which each theory would answer the question, "What is literacy?" as well as the affordances and limitations of these theories in terms of literacy development, literacy use, and literacy instruction. (Contains 2 figures.)
Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. 315 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-7866; Fax: 706-542-3817; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A