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date: 31 March 2023

The Interpretation of “Local” Literacy Practices through Ethnographylocked

The Interpretation of “Local” Literacy Practices through Ethnographylocked

  • Kate PahlKate PahlManchester Metropolitan University - All Saints Campus
  •  and Zanib RasoolZanib RasoolThe University of Sheffield


Ethnography is a practice of inscribing local practice into texts, developed in the context of social anthropology. Local literacy practices often remain hidden, dependent on context and shaped by histories and cultures. Literacy is entwined with how lives are lived. Collaborative ethnography enables an approach that permits researchers to collaboratively develop research questions with participants and, rather than researching on people, researchers work with people as coresearchers. Local literacy practices are situated in homes and communities as well as within everyday contexts such as markets and mosques. Community literacy practices can be collaboratively understood and studied using this approach. Communities experience and practice diverse and multiple literacies, both locally and transnationally, and mapping this diversity is key to an understanding of the fluid and changing nature of literacies. Literacies can be understood as being multilingual, digital, transnational, and multimodal, thus expanding the concept of literacy as lived within communities. Threaded through this analysis is a discussion of power and whose literacy practices are seen as powerful within community contexts. Collaborative ethnography is a powerful methodology to excavate and co-analyze community literacy practices. Other methods that can explore local literacies include visual and sensory ethnography. Power sharing in terms of the design and architecture of the research is important for hearing voices and working equitably. There are many concepts introduced within, including the idea of literacy practices, the link between literacy and identity, the importance of an understanding of multilingualism, and the importance of situating literacy in communities.


  • Languages and Literacies

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