Language, Literacy, and Power in Schooling brings critical ethnographic perspectives to bear on language, literacy, and power in culturally and linguistically diverse contexts, showing how literacy and schooling are negotiated by children and adults and how schooling becomes a key site of struggle over whose knowledge, discourses, and literacy practices "count." Part I examines tensions between the local and the general in literacy development and use; Part II considers face-to-face interactions surrounding literacy practices in ethnically diverse classrooms; and Part III widens the ethnographic lens to position literacy practices in the context of globalization and contemporary education policies. Each section includes a substantive introduction by the editor and a synthetic commentary by a leading literacy researcher.
Above all, this is a book oriented toward social action. Unpacking the complexity of literacy practices and experiences in diverse settings, the authors seek not only to build new knowledge, but to inform and transform the pedagogies and policies that limit human potentials. The chapters in this volume have much to teach us about the roots of inequality and the possibilities for positive change. Together, they highlight the urgent need for critical literacy researchers to engage politically, confronting education policies that deny the rich multiplicity of human literacies, thereby carving ever-deeper cleavages between those with and without access to literacies of power.
The dual focus on language and literacy with critical-ethnographic accounts of identity and schooling speaks to a growing constituency of scholars and practitioners concerned with the role of literacy and discourse in alternatively affirming or negating knowledge, power, and identity, both within and outside of schools.