chapter  11
14 Pages

Literacy and Religion: Reading, Writing, and Gender Among Mexican Women in Chicago

Literacy has been linked often with religion, that is, with what have been called “world”

religions or “ethical” religions (Goody, 1986). In contrast to religion in traditional

societies, world religions generally show a missionary impulse (Parrinder, 1971). In tradi-

tional societies, religion is local and so interwoven with other aspects of the society that it is

particular to that society and thus restricted to the people of that society. World religions,

in contrast, travel over time and space, advocating what they deem to be a universal set of

beliefs. Incorporating people into these religions usually involves literacy, especially for

the three world religions that emerged from the Middle East: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.