Changing Literacies

Changing Literacies

Changing Literacies

Changing Literacies


"....undeterred by sociological pessimism, Colin Lankshear hacks away at the underbrush, clearing a path for a new critical-liberatory discourse"
James Paul Gee, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.

This book explores everyday social practices and how they influence who people are, what they become, the quality of their lives, the opportunities and possibilities open to them, and those they are denied. It focusses especially on language and literacy components of social practices, asking:

• How are language and literacy framed within different social practices?

• How are social practices in turn shaped and framed by language and literacy?

• What are the consequences for the lives and identities of individuals and groups?

• How can we understand these relationships, and build on this understanding to develop critical forms of literacy and language awareness that enhance human dignity, freedom and social justice?

In addressing these questions the book draws on social practices from diverse settings: from classrooms using conventional texts to so-called "enchanted workplaces"; from a Third World peasant cooperative enterprise to modern technologically-equipped homes and classrooms. The result is a rich sociocultural account of language and literacy, which challenges narrow psychological and skills-based approaches, and provides an excellent theory base for informing the practice of literacy educators.

It will be compelling reading for academics, teachers and students of language and literacy education, critical literacy, discourse studies and cultural studies.


Around the world, schools, and the societies of which they are a part, are confronting the most profound changes – changes the like of which have not been seen since the last great global movement of economic and educational restructuring more than a century ago. The fundamental forms of public education that were designed for an age of heavy manufacturing and mechanical industry are under challenge and fading fast as we move into a world of high technology, flexible workforces, more diverse school populations, downsized administrations and declining resources.

What is to follow is uncertain and unclear. The different directions of change can seem conflicting and are often contested. Decentralized systems of school self-management are accompanied by centralized systems of curriculum and assessment control. Moves to develop more authentic assessments are paralleled by the tightened imposition of standardized tests. Curriculum integration is being advocated in some places, more specialization and subject departmentalization in others.

These complex and contradictory cross-currents pose real challenges to theoretical and practical interpretation in many fields of education, and constitute an important and intriguing agenda for educational change – and for this series, which is intended to meet a deep-seated need among researchers and practitioners. International, social and technological changes require a profound and rapid response from the educational community. By establishing and interpreting the nature and scope of educational change, Changing Literacies will make a signification contribution to meeting this challenge.

We are delighted that Colin Lankshear has provided this series with a provocative and critical account of Changing Literacies. So much of the work . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.