Barton, David (2001) Directions for literacy research: analysing language and social practices in a textually-mediated world. Language and Education, 15 (2-3). pp. 92-104. ISSN 0950-0782
This paper provides an overview of the field of Literacy Studies, describing the range of work which has been covered, identifying current unresolved issues as ways of suggesting future directions, and showing ways in which literacy can be seen as an integral part of the broader study of language. Various outstanding issues are discussed, including: the relation of print literacy to other media; questions of definitions and limits of what can be called literacy; what is meant by the key term practices and what are the components of practices; the relation of texts and practices; the relation of literacy theory to critical theory and social theory. One of the most salient aspects of contemporary life is change in communication technologies. Literacy Studies provides a way of understanding these changes by drawing attention to the changing materiality of language and by recasting the role of language in interaction. The paper concludes by arguing that much everyday activity in the contemporary world is mediated by literacy and that people act within a textually mediated social world. It is this textually mediated social world which Literacy Studies can continue to investigate, linking culture and cognition and analysing the dynamics of textually mediated communities of practice.
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