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ERIC Number: EJ747679
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 23
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 83
ISSN: ISSN-0034-0553
Vernacular Literacy on the Lake Titicaca High Plains, Peru
Salomon, Frank; Apaza, Emilio Chambi
Reading Research Quarterly, v41 n3 p304-326 Jul-Sep 2006
Ethnographic "New Literacy Studies" question the idea that literacy as such has any uniform effects, arguing instead that effects of literacy inhere in the social practices that impart it. What change, then, does literacy produce where it arrived from two opposed sets of practices? In Quechua-and Aymara-speaking villages on the high plains of Lake Titicaca, universal public schooling is a relatively recent innovation. It overlays an unofficial literacy that racially and linguistically stigmatized peasants acquired up to a century ago as cultural contraband and as a tool of conflict. Field research in 2000-2002 in Azangaro province focuses on Quechua households' memories of acquiring literacy and their ways of reading, making, using, and curating the documents resulting from it. A team of locally rooted researchers interviewed rural herder-farmers about past and present literacy practices. The papers in their household archives, almost all in Spanish, stand poles apart from indigenous Quechua speech. Moreover, the Spanish household papers' use is diglossic as compared to rural Spanish. Yet despite this double dissociation from speech, writing has become deeply involved in traditional practices of social reciprocity, ritual, and song. Writing has somewhat the status of a "parallel language," useful precisely because of its separateness from the hazards of unequal bilingualism. Schools take little notice of these informal traditions. Attention to them might work in favor of improved classroom achievement. (Contains 8 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Peru