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The Violence of Literacy

The Violence of Literacy

By Elspeth Stuckey

    This book is a must read . . . J. Elspeth Stuckey cogently exposes how literacy in this country, as both a "skill" and a profession, is used to perpetuate privilege, disadvantage, and injustice.

    —Harvard Educational Review
This book counters most of our prevailing views about literacy. It says that literacy, rather than enfranchising people, is violent, ulterior, and uniquely devoted to Western economic ends. It claims that the literacy profession perpetuates injustice, whether it knows it or not.

This is a book for anyone who thinks that reading and writing are important to learning....

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Full Description

    This book is a must read . . . J. Elspeth Stuckey cogently exposes how literacy in this country, as both a "skill" and a profession, is used to perpetuate privilege, disadvantage, and injustice.

    —Harvard Educational Review
This book counters most of our prevailing views about literacy. It says that literacy, rather than enfranchising people, is violent, ulterior, and uniquely devoted to Western economic ends. It claims that the literacy profession perpetuates injustice, whether it knows it or not.

This is a book for anyone who thinks that reading and writing are important to learning. In this respect, it's a book for everyone, but it's primarily for people on the hotseat—English teachers, especially composition/writing/rhetoric teachers, and teachers of dropouts and adults and minorities. The book addresses economics and social class, the political structure in which English teaching fits, the character of labor, the psychology or psychotherapy of literacy, and the future of social freedom in America.

This is an angry book written by an angry English teacher: The author is angry that literacy is the center of the storm; angry that the center of the storm foments nothing but itself; angry that most of what we do, even the good that we do, remains academic, powerless, and self-serving.

What solutions are offered? The author argues that literacy is not the solution. she argues that economics is the agenda, that the ability to read and write is less important than the ability to pay. The reality is that whose who set the agenda use literacy and literacy standards to maintain privilege and parcel disadvantage. The violence of literacy becomes, therefore, the customary domain of those who foresee no real change while foretelling it.

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Contents

Contents:
Introduction
1.
Literacy and Social Class
2. Ideologies of Literacy
3. Theories of Literacy and Society
4. The Violence of Literacy. Conclusion. References.