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Challenging representations: constructing the adult literacy learner over 30 years of policy and practice in the United Kingdom

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Challenging representations : constructing the adult literacy learner over 30 years of policy and practice in the United Kingdom. / Hamilton, Mary; Pitt, Kathy.

In: Reading Research Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 4, 10.2011, p. 350-373.

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@article{f236902e1d584c95b3f1c4b7877abfcc,
title = "Challenging representations: constructing the adult literacy learner over 30 years of policy and practice in the United Kingdom",
abstract = "This article addresses the question, How do changes in policy discourses shape public representations of literacy learners and the goals of adult literacy education? It examines specifically how the agency of adult literacy learners is constructed. We carry out a critical discourse analysis of two key adult literacy policy documents from the U.K.: the manifesto A Right to Read (British Association of Settlements, ) and Skills for Life: The National Strategy for Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills (Department for Education and Skills, ). We describe the overall structure and genre of the documents and analyze the semiotic resources in the texts to explore the discursive shaping of adult literacy learners. Our analysis shows that, while a functional discourse of individual deficit is prominent throughout the texts, each document expresses it differently. A discourse of rights and participation in the earlier text changes to a discourse of social inclusion, conditional on duty and responsibility and narrowed to the sphere of paid employment. The profiles of individual learners are heavily framed by the dominant discourses of literacy and education that constitute the texts. We argue that the discursive shifts we trace in these national documents relate to wider changes in notions of social disadvantage, rights and citizenship, and the emergence of literacy as a key indicator of progress. Our analysis demonstrates the powerful ways in which policy documents articulate relationships between national and transnational literacies.",
author = "Mary Hamilton and Kathy Pitt",
year = "2011",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1002/RRQ.004",
language = "English",
volume = "46",
pages = "350--373",
journal = "Reading Research Quarterly",
issn = "0034-0553",
publisher = "International Reading Association",
number = "4",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Challenging representations

T2 - constructing the adult literacy learner over 30 years of policy and practice in the United Kingdom

AU - Hamilton, Mary

AU - Pitt, Kathy

PY - 2011/10

Y1 - 2011/10

N2 - This article addresses the question, How do changes in policy discourses shape public representations of literacy learners and the goals of adult literacy education? It examines specifically how the agency of adult literacy learners is constructed. We carry out a critical discourse analysis of two key adult literacy policy documents from the U.K.: the manifesto A Right to Read (British Association of Settlements, ) and Skills for Life: The National Strategy for Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills (Department for Education and Skills, ). We describe the overall structure and genre of the documents and analyze the semiotic resources in the texts to explore the discursive shaping of adult literacy learners. Our analysis shows that, while a functional discourse of individual deficit is prominent throughout the texts, each document expresses it differently. A discourse of rights and participation in the earlier text changes to a discourse of social inclusion, conditional on duty and responsibility and narrowed to the sphere of paid employment. The profiles of individual learners are heavily framed by the dominant discourses of literacy and education that constitute the texts. We argue that the discursive shifts we trace in these national documents relate to wider changes in notions of social disadvantage, rights and citizenship, and the emergence of literacy as a key indicator of progress. Our analysis demonstrates the powerful ways in which policy documents articulate relationships between national and transnational literacies.

AB - This article addresses the question, How do changes in policy discourses shape public representations of literacy learners and the goals of adult literacy education? It examines specifically how the agency of adult literacy learners is constructed. We carry out a critical discourse analysis of two key adult literacy policy documents from the U.K.: the manifesto A Right to Read (British Association of Settlements, ) and Skills for Life: The National Strategy for Improving Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills (Department for Education and Skills, ). We describe the overall structure and genre of the documents and analyze the semiotic resources in the texts to explore the discursive shaping of adult literacy learners. Our analysis shows that, while a functional discourse of individual deficit is prominent throughout the texts, each document expresses it differently. A discourse of rights and participation in the earlier text changes to a discourse of social inclusion, conditional on duty and responsibility and narrowed to the sphere of paid employment. The profiles of individual learners are heavily framed by the dominant discourses of literacy and education that constitute the texts. We argue that the discursive shifts we trace in these national documents relate to wider changes in notions of social disadvantage, rights and citizenship, and the emergence of literacy as a key indicator of progress. Our analysis demonstrates the powerful ways in which policy documents articulate relationships between national and transnational literacies.

U2 - 10.1002/RRQ.004

DO - 10.1002/RRQ.004

M3 - Journal article

VL - 46

SP - 350

EP - 373

JO - Reading Research Quarterly

JF - Reading Research Quarterly

SN - 0034-0553

IS - 4

ER -