Routledge Revivals: The Social Context of Literacy (1986): 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Routledge Revivals: The Social Context of Literacy (1986)

1st Edition

By Kenneth Levine


272 pages

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First published in 1986, this book looks at the impact of mass literacy on everyday life, discussing the fundamental differences between traditional oral cultures and contemporary industrialised societies where most people rely on complex combinations of oral and literate communication. There is also a detailed examination of the problems of the sub-literate minority with recommendations for future programmes of assistance. This book also provides a historical survey of the spread of literacy in British society from the Roman occupation onwards. In conclusion, the author discusses the impact of information technologies on people with limited basic skills.

Table of Contents

Editor’s preface; Acknowledgments; 1 Approaching literacy; Introduction Dimensions of literacy and illiteracy; 2 Defining and measuring literacy and illiteracy; Defining literacy Functional literacy: a brief history Operationalising functional literacy A sociological conception of literacy; 3 The historical perspective Introduction Literacy in classical Greece and Rome Medieval manuscript literacy in Britain The advent of print Literacy in early modern Britain The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; 4 Tutors and students; Introduction Illiteracy myths The Nottingham Adult Literacy Scheme Recruitment and matching procedures Tutor training The Nottingham literacy catchment area Illiteracy careers Initial contacts Tuition and orientations to illiteracy Progress and dropping out Summary; 5 Illiteracy and work; Introduction The British Adult Literacy Campaign The political economy of illiteracy The scale of illiteracy: misreading the problem Responding to social disadvantage Remedying illiteracy; 7 The future of literacy and literacies of the future; Introduction The oral-literate transition Literacy and the information explosion; Appendix 1 Details of sampling and interviewing procedures; Appendix 2 English historical literacy rates; Notes; Bibliography; Index

About the Series

Routledge Revivals: Language, Education and Society Series

First published between 1985 and 1987, this set of books attempts to tackle some of the complex issues implied by the title Language, Education and Society. For example how is language related to learning? Or to intelligence? Do regional and social accents and dialects matter? What is meant by standard English? Do immigrant children require special language provision? Why are there so many adult illiterates in Britain and the USA? Although the importance of language to education is agreed there is still a lot to learn about how language is related to either to educational success or to intelligence and thinking — both fields to which this collection contributes valuable research.

Some of the specific topics the covered by the wide-ranging and insightful research contained in this series include: an analysis of the school teaching of mathematics from the perspective of mathematics as a language — principally how the processes of communication in a maths classroom are shaped by school conventions and the fact that it is mathematics under discussion; an examination of the changing patterns in English usage and style, especially written usage — focusing on questions of syntax and punctuation — and how this relates to speech and the value of usage as a social act; an exploration of the history and impact of mass literacy on industrialised societies, how this differs from traditional oral culture, and the effect of a culture where most people rely on complex combinations of oral and literate communication on a sizable sub-literate minority; an investigation into which languages are in widespread use among children and adults in England, the patterns of language use in different social contexts, the teaching of community languages inside and outside of mainstream schools, and the educational implications of this linguistic diversity for all children. This set will be of interest to educational researchers, sociologists and students of sociolinguistics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Adult & Continuing Education
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Reading & Phonics
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Language Arts
EDUCATION / Research
EDUCATION / Computers & Technology