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ERIC Number: EJ1138955
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0147-1635
Basic Writing and the Conflict over Language
Fox, Tom
Journal of Basic Writing, v34 n1 p4-20 2015
David Bleich's exploration of language conflicts in the university in "The Materiality of Language: Gender, Politics, and the University" helps explain the ongoing struggle over basic writing as between two radically different understandings of language. Progressive educators and writing teachers see language as rhetorical and contextual, "material" in Bleich's terms. Policy makers, large-scale writing assessment designers, and public discourse generally see language as ahistorical and decontextualized, involving ladders of skills to be mastered, or "sacralized." This article examines the struggle between these materialist innovations and repressive policy mandates and assessments as a manifestation of this root struggle over language. The ongoing nature of this struggle, having occurred in this country for over a century, means progressive programs must maintain a stance of constant vigilance, innovation, and subversion. The outcome critically affects efforts to increase access to higher education.
Journal of Basic Writing. PO Box 465, Hanover, PA 17331. Tel: 717-632-3535; Fax: 717-633-8920; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A