© 2008 – Routledge
224 pages | 9 B/W Illus.
What effect has globalization had on our understanding of literacy? Grassroots Literacy seeks to address the relationship between globalization and the widening gap between ‘grassroots’ literacies, or writings from ordinary people and local communities, and ‘elite’ literacies.
Displaced from their original context to elite literacy environments in the form of letters, police declarations and pieces of creative writing, ‘grassroots’ literacies are unsurprisingly easily disqualified, either as ‘bad’ forms of literacy, or as messages that fail to be understood. Through close analysis of two unique, handwritten documents from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jan Blommaert considers how ‘grassroots’ literacy in the Third World develops outside the literacy-saturated environments of the developed world. In examining these documents produced by socially and economically marginalized writers Blommaert demonstrates how literacy environments should be understood as relatively autonomous systems.
Grassroots Literacy will be key reading for students of language and literacy studies as well as an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in understanding the implications of globalization on local literacy practices.
Table of Contents
PART 1: GRASSROOTS LITERACY
1. Introduction: Grassroots literacy and literacy regimes
1.1. Yes I can write
1.3. Grassroots literacy
1.4. Ethnographies of text
PART 2: THE LIVES OF JULIEN
2. Three lives for Mrs Arens
2.1. Three versions of a life
2.2. Writing with an accent
2.3. Julien’s life: a storyline
2.4. Writing (as) a (way of) life
2.5. Context and pretext
3. Genres and repertoires
3.2. On genre
3.3. Emerging genres in an emerging tradition
3.4. Histories and letters
3.5. The repertoire
3.6. The misfit
4. Writing, remembering and being
4.1. Emerging genres, emerging lives
4.2. Writing and remembering
4.3. Who is Julien?
4.4. Textuality and subjectivity
PART 3: TSHIBUMBA THE HISTORIAN
5. Tshibumba: Artist, painter, historian
5.1. Paintings, conversations, and texts
5.2. Tshibumba Kanda Matulu
5.3. The storyline
6. The aesthetics of grassroots literacy
6.1. Writing as drawing
6.2. Tshibumba’s writing and drawing
6.3. Tshibumba’s voice
6.4. A disciplined voice
7. Sources as resources
7.1. The archive again
7.2. A national history with local resources
7.3. Tshibumba’s voices
8. The grassroots historian’s craft
8.1. Tshibumba’s historiographic methodology
8.2. Grassroots historiography and popular consciousness
8.3. Artist, painter, grassroots historian
PART 4: JULIEN, TSHIBUMBA AND BEYOND
9.1. Lives, literacy, subjectivity
9.2. The skeleton of literacy practices
9.3. Grassroots literacy in globalization
9.4. History from below
NOTES & REFERENCES
This series showcases innovative research and scholarship in the field of Literacy Studies.
Literacy practices are changing rapidly in contemporary society in response to broad social, economic and technological changes: in education, the workplace, the media and in everyday life. The Literacies series reflects the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of research into reading and writing. The series aims to publish studies which consider literacy as a social practice. Work in this field has been developed and drawn together to provide books that are accessible, interdisciplinary and international in scope, covering a wide range of social and institutional contexts.