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ERIC Number: EJ960843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0034-0553
Challenging Representations: Constructing the Adult Literacy Learner over 30 Years of Policy and Practice in the United Kingdom
Hamilton, Mary; Pitt, Kathy
Reading Research Quarterly, v46 n4 p350-373 Oct-Dec 2011
This article addresses the question, How do changes in policy discourses shape public representations of literacy learners and the goals of adult literacy education? It examines specifically how the agency of adult literacy learners is constructed. We carry out a critical discourse analysis of two key adult literacy policy documents from the U.K.: the manifesto "A Right to Read" (British Association of Settlements,) and "Skills for Life: The National Strategy for Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills" (Department for Education and Skills,). We describe the overall structure and genre of the documents and analyze the semiotic resources in the texts to explore the discursive shaping of adult literacy learners. Our analysis shows that, while a functional discourse of individual deficit is prominent throughout the texts, each document expresses it differently. A discourse of rights and participation in the earlier text changes to a discourse of social inclusion, conditional on duty and responsibility and narrowed to the sphere of paid employment. The profiles of individual learners are heavily framed by the dominant discourses of literacy and education that constitute the texts. We argue that the discursive shifts we trace in these national documents relate to wider changes in notions of social disadvantage, rights and citizenship, and the emergence of literacy as a key indicator of progress. Our analysis demonstrates the powerful ways in which policy documents articulate relationships between national and transnational literacies.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Basic Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom