Yet more ‘prefacing’ re. mode of address

My work is not directed towards positing a new specific concept of literacy to displace or replace existing accounts and definitions. Rather, my concern is to stitch literacy, its pedagogies and practices into a larger canvas, to discover and release threads and themes between literacy as a bounded field and the larger culture and worlds on which it rests. To show that literacy is part of a much larger picture and human enterprise, and that framing literacy as an expression or part of this larger praxis, a part that both draws on this whole for motives and motifs, in short for cultural sustenance and ethical resolve, while at the same time contributing its own energies and experience to the larger process. There is thus a two-way, dialectical, mutual enrichment in construing literacy in relation to this larger background.

By situating literacy within this larger context, I am not deconstructing or doing ideology critique on literacy. I am not showing it to be a mere symptom or expression of larger social or historical forces. Rather, I am hoping that filling in the details and scope of background ideas, values, practices and history lying in back of literacy will enlarge and strengthen the meaning of literacy pedagogy in the minds of its practitioners, that literacy will not seem a small almost paltry ‘basic (workplace) skill’, but entry into the rich veins of conversation and discourse of the whole diversity of humans and their worlds.

Literacy as moving towards participation in universes of discourse, not as a set of discrete, self-contained skills.

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Mode of address

This book will take up the same rhetorical stance as its proposes be offered to adult literacy students—or any and all other students for that matter. That is, it will put forward its views, ideas, theories and and stakes always with the thought in mind that this is only a perspective, and that there is always more to be said both from other points of view and in clarifying or deepening my own point of view. This is rhetorical dialogism: the claim that we are always ‘on the way’ to knowing; that full and complete knowledge (‘the truth, the whole truth and only the truth’) is always just out of reach. What makes it more reachable, even though still out of reach, is the response of others.  Read more of this post