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The Multilingual Literacy Practices of Mirpuri Migrants in Pakistan and the UK : Combining New Literacy Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Anthony Vincent Capstick
Publication date2014
Number of pages300
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438570498
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis is part of a four-year study of a Mirpuri family's migrations, as seen through the lens of New Literacy Studies. This means understanding literacy as a social practice, applied in different contexts to meet different purposes, in this case for the purposes of migration. This focus meant exploring many different activities involving reading and writing in the everyday lives of migrants and relating these to those individuals' migrations embedded in the histories of specific Pakistani communities, their literacies and their migration trajectories, as well as the development of immigration policies in the UK. The study draws on the experiences of many family members but centres on one individual who migrated to the UK from Pakistan during the course of the fieldwork. Taking an ethnographic perspective implied taking part in many of these activities as well as observing them and asking about them in interviews. This generated a range of data from many different community locations in Mirpur and Hillington. These data were analysed by combining New Literacy Studies with Sociolinguistics and Critical Discourse Studies (CDS), specifically the Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA). What this meant was that the insider perspective that is so central to NLS was integrated with CDS's critical perspective on society and the social problems related to literacy and migration, as well as with detailed and systematic text and genre analysis. The central concern was how Mirpuri migrants gained access to the dominant literacies of migration at a time when the UK government was increasingly moving towards a more textually mediated immigration regime. The study looked at what literacies were drawn on as prospective migrants and their families engaged with the bureaucracies of immigration when, for example, filling in visa application forms. However, the scope of this study went beyond an analysis of the texts of immigration and explored the literacy practices that link texts with institutions, social structures and discourses about migration. The thesis shows that these literacy practices are part of the broader language practices that multilingual migrants from Mirpur draw on in their everyday lives, that English is only one of many resources in their repertoires, and that in order to understand how Mirpuris build ties with those around them, all the languages that they use must be considered.

Bibliographic note

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2014.