What effect has globalization had on our understanding of literacy?
Grassroots Literacy seeks to address the relationship between globalization
and the widening gap between 'grassroots' literacies, or writings from
ordinary people and local communities, and 'elite' literacies.
Displaced from their original context to elite literacy environments in the
form of letters, police declarations and pieces of creative writing,
'grassroots' literacies are unsurprisingly easily disqualified, either as
'bad' forms of literacy, or as messages that fail to be understood. Through
close analysis of two unique, handwritten documents from the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Jan Blommaert considers how 'grassroots' literacy in
the Third World develops outside the literacy-saturated environments of the
developed world. In examining these documents produced by socially and
economically marginalized writers Blommaert demonstrates how literacy
environments should be understood as relatively autonomous systems.
Grassroots Literacy will be key reading for students of language and
literacy studies as well as an invaluable resource for anyone with an
interest in understanding the implications of globalization on local