Literacy for Social Change
An approach to literacy that understands it as lived and experienced in the everyday across varied spaces and populations.
This book approaches literacy as lived and experienced in the everyday. A living literacies approach draws not only on such official, schooled activities as reading, writing, speaking, and listening but also on such routine, tacit activities as scrolling through Instagram, watching news footage, and listening to music. It goes beyond well-worn framings of literacy as an object of study to reimagine literacy as constantly in motion, vital, and dynamic, filled with affective intensities.
A lived literacies approach implies a turn to activism, to hopeful practice, and to creativity. The authors examine literacies through a series of active verbs: seeing, disrupting, hoping, knowing, creating, and making. Case studies—ranging from an exploration of photography as a way to shift perspectives to a project in which adults teach young people how to fish—show lived literacies in both theory and practice. With these chapters, Pahl and Rowsell, along with contributors Collier, Pool, Rasool, and Trzecak, make it possible to see literacy in everyday activities, woven into the modes of seeing and knowing. By disruption and activism, literacy can encompass a wide array of practices—exchanging information at a school gate or making a collage. Grounding theory in the sites and spaces of their research, working with artists, photographers, poets, and makers, the authors issue a call to action for literacy education.
“Living Literacies stretches readers to rethink how they conceptualize literacies and the potentials of literacies. The authors use active verbs to thread the chapters together—literacies as seeing, disrupting, hoping, knowing, creating, and making. This writerly move positions literacies not only as nouns but also verbs, active and alive in our daily relationships with and in the world.”
Candace R. Kuby, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum, University of Missouri; coauthor of Go Be A Writer!