1st Edition

Researching Protest Literacies Literacy as Protest in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro

By Jamie D. I. Duncan Copyright 2021
    266 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    By focusing on the textually mediated reactions of local residents, social movements, and media producers to policy changes implemented in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, this book studies the development of literacy as a tool to mobilize, perform, and disseminate protest.

    Researching Protest Literacies presents a combination of ethnographic fieldwork and extensive archival research to analyse how traditional and technology-driven literacy practices informed a new cycle of social protest in favelas from 2006-2016. Chapters trace nuanced interactions, document changing power balances, and in doing so conceptualize five forms of literacy used to enact social change - campaigning literacies, memorial literacies, media-activist literacies, arts-activist literacies, and demonstration literacies. Building on these, the study posits protest literacies as a new way of researching the role of contemporary literacy in protest.

    This insightful monograph would be of interest to doctoral students, researchers, and scholars involved in the fields of literacy studies, arts education, and social movement studies, as well as those looking into research methods in education and international literacies more broadly.


    Part I: Introduction and Background

    1. Wheres and Whys of Researching Protest Literacies

    2. Socio-Political Contexts: Brazil, Rio, and Maré

    3. Methodological Approaches: Ethnography and History

    Part II: An Emerging Cycle of Protest 2006–2013

    4. Symbolization Trajectories and Campaigning Literacies

    5. Memorialization Trajectories and Memorial Literacies

    6. Memorialization Trajectories and Media-Activist Literacies

    Part III: A Continuing Cycle of Protest 2014–2016

    7. Mega-Events and Arts-Activist Literacies

    8. Protest Events and Demonstration Literacies

    9. Periods of Protest and Protest Literacies

    Part IV: Conclusions and Contributions

    10. Protest Studies Through Literacy Studies



    Jamie D. I. Duncan completed his PhD at Lancaster Literacy Research Center, Lancaster University, UK. His academic research is situated within the ethnographic and historical traditions of the New Literacy Studies and his professional background includes work in the UK and Brazil across the fields of social housing, adult education, and applied linguistics.

    "A critical contribution of this book is that it extends beyond protest to the tracking of texts and meanings across time and space. Given the abundance of protest movements around the world, documenting the emergence and trajectory of a sequence of protest is a valuable contribution to literacy educators. While scholars have discussed the circulation of texts for decades, there are few clear examples of textual tracking. Duncan, has brilliantly provided an exemplar in this book.

    What might be questioned, revealed, recognized, and accomplished by applying ethnographic methods to track textual trajectories across literacy scholarship, within and across communities, and in relation to various educational institutions? These questions point to the significance of Duncan’s book and its contribution to the field."

    -- Catherine Compton-Lilly, Professor, University of South Carolina, USA

    "Duncan makes a major contribution to the ethnographic record on communicative practices that may have the appearance of being "micro," but which, in fact, carry within themselves a large potential for collective and interested social action.

    The analytical and empirical attention to activities situated in time and space and broader social and political processes, is one of the main merits of Duncan’s monograph. His study on literacy in protests organized by residents of favelas in Rio de Janeiro will certainly interest, in addition to linguists, educators, sociologists, cultural anthropologists, historians and political scientists interested in Brazil, social movements, and protests. Besides, the book’s detailed rendition of Brazil’s recent political and social history—including its elegant and jargon-free narration of practices of dissent and protest in the peripheries of a global city—will likely be of interest for the public at large."

    -- Daniel N. Silva, Professor, Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil